The world's ever increasing stockpiles of nuclear materials need to all be effectively secured, for fear of any illegal seizure. The stockpiles remain a threat to international security. It is proposed that storing nuclear waste in kilometre deep undersea wells (in the seabed) would provide needed security because the sheer depth and difficulty of reaching the wells would make it impossible for anyone to steal or even attack the material they contained. The technology to do so has only developed in recent years. The wells provide only a temporary solution, but at a competitive cost to land-based facilities.
The Texas-based Ocean Drilling Programme (ODP), suggests that containers of nuclear material could be stored in kilometre deep undersea wells, where the sea is more than three kilometers deep. OCD estimates that a 15km square field with 1500 wells could be build for 1 billion dollars, providing 173,000 cubic meters of storage space, and could last up to 50 years. Once established the nuclear materials would be very difficult to steal because: of the depth they are stored at; the wells would be almost impossible for terrorists to detect by sonar since the well cover leaves no significant sonar trace; the area could be monitored by underwater listening devices and/or satellite surveillance; retrieval of nuclear containers would require highly specialized ships.
Within the time period of 50 years terrorists or other groups wanting to steal nuclear materials from ocean wells could acquire the technology or means to do.
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