M. BuserJ. J. Fasnacht "Nuclear Waste – our Legacy to Future Generations : how to handle it"

The fact that nuclear waste and the problems involved with it are and need to be passed on by the polluters and todays society to those coming after us, is a well-known fact. However, in the case of nuclear waste and the targeted strategy of final or deep storage in specially designed mines, this attitude leads to a shift of responsibility to countless future generations. Not only humans and the biosphere must be protected from the radioactive inventory in the repository, but any underground repository itself must also be protected against human interference over an inconceivably long period of time. For even a once installed repository can always be re-opened by future generations, for whatever purpose. This double legacy left behind by only two generations, which benefited from nuclear power, is affecting numerous future generations with the challenge and burden to technically handle the radioactive waste safely. Even more, it also requires an enormous social commitment of the affected societies over unimaginably long storage periods. The long term conflict potentials have hardly been discussed so far. This problem area and possibilities to control it from today’s point of view will be highlighted in our lecture.