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Materials for storing radioactive waste degrade faster than thought

Christian Fernsby |
Current nuclear waste storage methods are less stable than previously thought and could be leaking harmful radioactive material, scientists have warned.

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Disposal of nuclear waste involves mixing it with other materials to form glass or ceramics, and then encasing those pieces of glass or ceramics now radioactive inside metallic canisters.

These canisters can then be buried deep underground in a repository to isolate the radioactive material and prevent it from interacting with the environment.

However, the team found that the glass and ceramic materials holding nuclear waste can interact with the stainless steel used to make the canisters, accelerating corrosion.

This could affect the service life of nuclear waste storage and exacerbate radioactive contamination into the environment – potentially polluting water sources and risking chronic disease in humans.

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