Friday, October 9, 2015

Scary Nuclear Warning For Freaky Friday...!

This story would be bad enough if it was made up, but unfortunately it's for real!

It is the month of Halloween, so finding an article like this one (posted at Knowledgenuts ) seems to fit right in. If it isn't enough to almost make you stay awake at night, you are much braver than I. I really don't think I'll be around to worry much about it, but it's a scary thing anyway.

The 10,000-Year Radiation Warning
By Anthony Sfarra on Monday, October 5, 2015

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is a deep geological repository used by the US government to store nuclear waste. Once the site is sealed, warnings will be needed that can effectively communicate danger up to 10,000 years into the future. Proposed ideas included threatening architecture, color-changing cats, and even an artificial moon. The final system will involve warnings in several languages on granite pillars, a large wall around the site, and other artifacts.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is a deep geological repository located near Carlsbad, New Mexico. “Deep geological repository” means that radioactive waste is stored deep underground. At WIPP, the waste is stored 655 meters (2,150 ft) below the surface in rooms carved from a salt bed. WIPP began to receive nuclear waste in 1999 and is slated to do so until 2070, at which point it will be sealed.

The waste inside WIPP will be dangerous for 10,000 years, so warnings will be needed to deter future populations from attempting to enter the facility. That may not be as easy as it sounds. Even if the English language still exists in the year 12,000, no one may be able to read our current form of it. (It’s already hard to read texts that are only hundreds of years old.)

While WIPP was under construction, a panel of scientists, anthropologists, linguists, and science fiction writers was assembled to come up with ideas for how to effectively scare away future generations. Many ideas were tossed around. One involved adorning the area with stone spikes to make it appear threatening. Another involved simply covering the repository in jagged blocks of black stone. It would still be possible for people to walk between them, but the narrow spaces in between would be useless and very hot.

Various carved warnings were another aspect of the plan. Universally frightening and threatening images were considered, such as those of people being wounded. Another idea involved an image that looked very much like Edward Munch’s The Scream. Language barriers aside, a textual warning was also proposed:

This place is a message . . . and part of a system of messages . . . pay attention to it!

Sending this message was important to us. We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture.

This place is not a place of honor . . . no highly esteemed deed is commemorated here . . . nothing valued is here.

What is here is dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger.

The danger is in a particular location . . . it increases toward a center . . . the center of danger is here . . . of a particular size and shape, and below us.

The danger is still present, in your time, as it was in ours.

The danger is to the body, and it can kill.

The form of the danger is an emanation of energy.

The danger is unleashed only if you substantially disturb this place physically. This place is best shunned and left uninhabited.

Conversely, some panelists felt that nothing would be sufficient to keep future humans from trying to get inside, if our own history is any indication.

Some rather unique ideas were also proposed. One idea involved forming a small society called an “atomic priesthood.” These people would live above the WIPP site and defend the site over generations. Their vague warnings about danger and curses would give the area a creepy reputation with locals. Another proposition involved creating a special breed of “ray cats” that would change color upon exposure to radiation. Stories of such cats would then be introduced into culture and passed down, making the cats a sign to avoid WIPP, even if no one knows what radiation is 10,000 years from now. It was even proposed that an artificial moon bearing a warning be constructed and placed in orbit. Since this moon was meant to be visible from the ground, it would surely have been a massive undertaking.

The final chosen warning scheme will feature a large wall of piled earth around the site. It will be 30 meters (100 ft) wide at its base and 10 meters (33 ft) tall and will be designed for maximum resilience to erosion. There will be two perimeters of granite monuments around WIPP, one at the edge of the government-controlled land and one inside the wall, each standing 8 meters (25 ft) tall and weighing 20 tons.

Warnings about the radioactive waste will be carved on these stones in seven languages. Just above the repository, a roofless building measuring 12 meters (40 ft) long, 10 meters (32 ft) wide, and 5 meters (15 ft) high will be constructed. Its walls will be covered in text warnings and pictographs. Just in case future humans absolutely have to dig something up, there will also be two buried rooms featuring the same information as the granite blocks, and 23-centimeter (9 in) discs will be buried all around the site, also carrying warning messages.

A final measure to ensure that WIPP is avoided will be to make certain that many sources of information about it will exist. Informational archives will be created and stored around the world, with a warning that they should be preserved for 10,000 years. Also, WIPP’s location will be shown on maps and atlases, and information about it will be readily available in encyclopedias, educational texts, and dictionaries.

I have to wonder what we need to generate this much waste for? What possible trade off is important enough to warrant a warning for 10,000 years regarding the waste? Seems to me that Mankind is constantly shooting itself in the foot, know what I mean?

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

13 comments:

Chickenmom said...

Let's just hope they didn't build it on a fault line...

linda m said...

Was it really worth it to create nuclear material, that is now an extreme hazard for 10,000 years? I don't think so. Why are we so short sighted as to not see the consequences of our actions. Oh well, I don't think I'll live that long anyway. Have a great weekend.

Momlady said...

Things keep going the way they are we may not need to worry about it.

JO said...

Don't know what to say about this

Coffee out on the patio sounds good. Enjoy it before the day heats up again

Dizzy-Dick said...

And I thought that mankind was suppose to be guardians of this Earth????

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
Boy, ain't that the truth?
Thanks for stopping by this morning!


Hey Linda...
Does seem a little extreme, don't it? No thing was involved, I reckon!
Thanks for coming over today!


Hey Momlady...
I'm afraid you are right about that!
Thanks for the visit this morning!


Hey Jo...
Just seems that summer doesn't want to leave, doesn't it?
Thanks for dropping by today!


HermitJim said...

Hey Dizzy...
Someone sure screwed up putting us in charge, it seems!
Thanks for stopping by today!

Rob said...

What ever happened to the skull & crossed bones? It's been a universal symbol of death for some time.

Some of the other ideas look like someone has spent too much time at the movies... The last 'bad' idea is advertising the location of the dump. Either turning it into a treasure hunt 2000 years from now or letting some future bad guy know where there is a huge stash of industrial grade poison.

HermitJim said...

Hey Rob...
Seems like a logical warning sign to me. I have to agree that posting where it is seems illogical. However, nothing about this whole thing is logical!
Thanks for coming over today!

Sixbears said...

It never made much sense to me to have a power plant that was good for decades generate waste that's deadly for thousands of years. Thought those guys claimed to be good with math.

HermitJim said...

Hey Sixbears...
Does seem to be a little backwards, doesn't it?
Thanks, my friend, for stopping by today!

deborah harvey said...

agree with rob about the skull and cross bones.
what about all the other nuclear waste that is lying around all over the place?
heard the russians put theirs in barrels and dropped them in the ocean--probably corroding by now.
Bible says one third of all life will die. maybe nuclear death?

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