Communicating Hazards to Future Generations – New Report

September 30, 2014

One of the key goals of the Toxic Legacies Project is to work with community groups in Yellowknife on how to communicated the hazard of 237.000 tons of arsenic trioxide frozen under the ground to future generations. To tackle this issue, several team members have read deeply into the work that was done at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico, where the first U.S. nuclear waste repository is located. Over the past thirty years, WIPP officials have developed proposals for a complex system of signs, symbols, text, and archival repositories to communicated nuclear hazard over 10000 years. As we thought about Giant Mine, we realized that some issues are similar (the original plan was to freeze the arsenic forever) and some were very different (unlike a nuclear waste repository Giant Mine will likely require active maintenance for long periods of time). Also, the ground kept shifting under our feet (not literally, thankfully); the recently completed environmental assessment of the Giant Mine Remediation Project resulted in a 100 year time frame being adopted (with the hope that new technology will allow for removal of the arsenic threat undeground). Even so, there are still some key issues to consider on transferring knowledge of the site between generations. We hope this report will provide a useful kick-start to discussion of this issue in the City of Yellowknife. You can access the full report or a short two page summary from the links below:

Communicating Danger Full Report 

Communicating Danger Two Page Summary