Radioactive waste was sometimes disposed of in the ocean between 1946 and 1982. During this time, it was considered safe because the harmful radionuclides would be so dispersed by the size of the ocean that they would not be harmful for humans or marine life. The dumping of radioactive waste has been monitored since 1975 by the London Dumping Convention (LDC), which allows dumping of low level waste with a permit, and prohibits the dumping of high level waste.
In 1983 a halt was put on the disposal of any radioactive waste into the sea. The LDC is working on an inventory of types of radioactive wastes and their effect on marine life to help inform future decisions. In addition, seabed disposal could be an alternative to disposing of the waste on land; due to the stable nature of the seabed high level waste could be disposed and remain cut off for 500-1000 years. This option isn’t being taken until further tests can help verify that it will not negatively impact humans or marine life.
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