Melting ice sheet could release frozen Cold War-era waste

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Plazma Inferno!, Aug 5, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

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    Climate change could remobilize abandoned hazardous waste thought to be buried forever beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet, new research finds.
    Climate change has warmed the Arctic more than any other region on Earth, and a new study finds the portion of the ice sheet covering Camp Century, a U.S. military base built within the Greenland Ice Sheet in 1959, could start to melt by the end of the century. If the ice melts, the camp’s infrastructure, as well as any remaining biological, chemical and radioactive waste, could re-enter the environment and potentially disrupt nearby ecosystems, according to the study’s authors.
    Camp Century, doubled as a top-secret site for testing the feasibility of deploying nuclear missiles from the Arctic during the Cold War. When the camp was decommissioned in 1967, its infrastructure and waste were abandoned under the assumption they would be entombed forever by perpetual snowfall, which was unrealistic.
    The study does not advocate for starting remediation activities at Camp Century now. The waste is buried tens of meters below the ice, and any cleanup activities would be costly and technically challenging.
    But the new study does raise questions about who is responsible for cleaning up the waste when it is exposed. International law is clear about responsibility for preventing future hazardous waste, but ambiguous about who is liable for waste already discarded. Although Camp Century was a U.S. base, it is on Danish soil, and although Greenland is a Danish territory, it is now self-governing.

    https://news.agu.org/press-release/melting-ice-sheet-could-release-frozen-cold-war-era-waste/
     

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