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The liquid wastes can be treated to bring them to set levels and then discharged into the environment. However, even after extensive multi-level treatment, the solid wastes leave a considerable amount of residues of long-life nuclear isotopes.
These have first to be loaded into thick walled lead containers, the containers hermetically sealed by a special technique, ‘vitrified’ and then buried deep in hard rock cavities in shafts of disused metaliferous or coal mines, making sure that the shafts are free of water ingress. Such storage has to be for several decades. This whole process is technically demanding and expensive but has to be done to ensure human and ecological safety.
Cleaning up nuclear waste from power stations, and the hastles it represents
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6. Salt Sea
8. East Sea
16. sea legs