Geologic environments for nuclear waste repositories
High-level radioactive waste (HLW) results from spent reactor fuel and reprocessed nuclear material. Since 1957 the scientific consensus is that deep geologic disposal constitutes the safest means for isolating HLW for long timescales. Nuclear power is becoming significant for the Arab Gulf countries as a way to diversify energy sources and drive economic developments. Hence, it is of interest to the UAE to examine the geologic environments currently considered internationally to guide site selection. Sweden and Finland are proceeding with deep underground repositories mined in bedrock at depths of 500m, and 400m, respectively. Equally, Canada's proposals are deep burial in the plutonic rock masses of the Canadian Shield. Denmark and Switzerland are considering disposal of their relative small quantities of HLW into crystalline basement rocks through boreholes at depths of 5,000m. In USA, the potential repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada lies at a depth of 300m in unsaturated layers of welded volcanic tuffs. Disposal of low and intermediate-level radioactive wastes, as well as the German HLW repository favour structurally-sound layered salt stata and domes. Our article provides a comprehensive review of the current concepts regarding HLW disposal together with some preliminary analysis of potentially appropriate geologic environments in the UAE. © The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2017.