Subseabed Disposal of Nuclear Wastes

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Science  18 Sep 1981:
Vol. 213, Issue 4514, pp. 1321-1326
DOI: 10.1126/science.213.4514.1321


Fine-grained clay formations within stable (predictable) deep-sea regions away from lithospheric plate boundaries and productive surface waters have properties that might serve to permanently isolate radioactive waste. The most important characteristics of such clays are their vertical and lateral unifomity, low permeability, very high cation retention capacity, and potential for self-healing when disturbed. The most attractive abyssal clay formation (oxidized red ciay)covers nearly 30 percent of the sea floor and hence 20 percent of the earth's surface.