State-of-the-art for evaluating the potential impact of tectonism and volcanism on a radioactive waste repository
Description: Most estimates of the time required for safe isolation of radioactive wastes from the biosphere range from 100,000 to 1,000,000 years. For such long time spans, it is necessary to assess the potential effects of geologic processes such as volcanism and tectonic activity on the integrity of geologic repositories. Predictions of geologic phenomena can be based on probabilistic models, which assume a random distribution of events. The necessary historic and geologic records are rarely available to provide an adequate data base for such predictions. The observed distribution of volcanic and tectonic activity is not random, and appears to be controlled by extremely complex deterministic processes. The advent of global plate tectonic theory in the past two decades has been a giant step toward understanding these processes. At each potential repository site, volcanic and tectonic processes should be evaluated to provide the most thorough possible understanding of those deterministic processes. Based on this knowledge, judgements will have to be made as to whether or not the volcanic and tectonic processes pose unacceptable risk to the integrity of the repository. This report describes the potential hazards associated with volcanism and tectonism, and the means for evaluating these processes.
Date: July 16, 1980
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