Long-time nuclear waste warning messages

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ISO radiation warning sign.

Long-time nuclear waste warning messages are intended to deter human intrusion at nuclear waste repositories in the far future, within or above the order of magnitude of 10,000 years. Nuclear semiotics is an interdisciplinary field of research, first done by the Human Interference Task Force since 1981.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has done extensive research in development of these messages. Since today's written languages are unlikely to survive, the research team has considered pictograms and hostile architecture.[1] Still, if a written message were to be used, the following text has been proposed to be translated to every UN written language:

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 was dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger.
The danger is in a particular location... it increases towards 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.[1]

In Europe, the warning models rely mostly on integrating the waste disposal facilities within society so information about their presence can be passed on from generation to generation.[2] Into Eternity is a Finnish documentary about how the Onkalo spent nuclear fuel repository tries to resolve the issue.


  1. ^ a b Trauth, K.M.; Hora, S.C.; Guzowski, R.V. (1 November 1993). "Expert judgment on markers to deter inadvertent human intrusion into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant". Sandia National Labs., Albuquerque, NM (United States). doi:10.2172/10117359. Retrieved 21 March 2018. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ Conca, James (17 April 2015). "Talking to the Future – Hey, There's Nuclear Waste Buried Here!". forbes.com. Retrieved 22 October 2015.

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