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LANL

Disposing of nuclear waste in a salt bed

Decades' worth of transuranic waste from Los Alamos is being laid to rest at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico
March 25, 2013
Disposing of nuclear waste in a salt bed

Depending on the impurities embedded within it, the salt from WIPP can be anything from a reddish, relatively opaque rock to a clear crystal like the one shown here.

Ordinary salt effectively seals transuranic waste in a long-term repository

Transuranic waste, made of items such as lab coats and equipment that have been contaminated by radioactive elements heavier than uranium, is being shipped from the Los Alamos National Laboratory to a long-term storage facility carved from a natural, underground salt bed formation.

The salt, ordinary sodium chloride, makes for an effective repository because it creeps over time to entomb the waste and protect against radiation exposure.

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