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Geologic isolation of nuclear waste at high latitudes: the role of ice sheets

January 1, 2013

Geologic isolation of high-level nuclear waste from the biosphere requires special consideration in countries at high latitudes (>40°N) owing to the possibility of future episodes of continental glaciation (Talbot 1999). It is now widely recognized that Pleistocene continental glaciations have had a profound effect on rates of sediment erosion (Cuffey & Paterson 2010) and deformation including tectonic thrusting (Pedersen 2005) as well as groundwater flow (Person et al. 2007; Lemieux et al. 2008a,b,c). In addition, glacial mechanical loads may have generated anomalous, or fossil, pore pressures within certain clay-rich confining units (e.g. Vinard et al. 2001). Because high-level nuclear wastes must be isolated from the biosphere as long as 1 million years (McMurry et al. 2003), the likelihood of one or more continental ice sheets overrunning high-latitude sites must be considered.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2012
Title Geologic isolation of nuclear waste at high latitudes: the role of ice sheets
DOI 10.1111/j.1468-8123.2011.00358.x
Authors M. Person, J. McIntosh, N. Iverson, C. E. Neuzil, V. Bense
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geofluids
Index ID 70042851
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Branch of Regional Research-Eastern Region

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