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Climate change may trigger 'Cold War-era' radioactive waste

Camp Century, a US military base built within the Greenland ice sheet in 1959, doubled as a top-secret site for testing the feasibility of deploying nuclear missiles from the Arctic during the Cold War.


Climate change may trigger 'Cold War-era' radioactive waste
Image for representational purpose only

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: A new research has furnished a fact that climate change may trigger hazardous Cold War-era radioactive waste.

The waste might be released from an abandoned camp thought to be buried forever in the Greenland Ice Sheet, say the research.

Camp Century, a US military base built within the Greenland ice sheet in 1959, 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.

"Two generations ago, people were interring waste in different areas of the world, and now climate change is modifying those sites," said the lead author of the study, William Colgan of Toronto's York University.

"It's a new breed of climate change challenge we have to think about," Colgan noted.

Climate change has warmed the Arctic more than any other region on Earth and new research has found that the portion of the ice sheet covering Camp Century 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, the study authors said.

(With IANS inputs)

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