Date of Award

4-13-1971

Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs

Abstract

An investigation of the effects of radioactive waste disposal into the oceans pursued by an examination of the hazards involved, the present sources of radioactive wastes and future prospects. The longevity of many radioactive elements, coupled with the awesome consequences to which even a slight miscalculation may lead, are convincing arguments for the most conservative approach to the problem of disposal of radioactive wastes. Present day disposal of radioactive wastes in the oceans, while significant, have not yet had major discernible effects on man or marine life. However, with the worldwide explosion of electrical power demand and the increasing use of nuclear fission as a source of power, the accumulation of non-destructible radioactive wastes on land will tempt industrially crowded nations to turn to the sea as a receptacle for this unwanted material. It is not reasonable to assume that nations can store in perpetuity an ever increasing volume of long lived radioactive waste. Development of controlled nuclear fusion as a source of power, eliminating the generation of radioactive wastes, is urged. No international rules being in effect concerning radioactive pollution of the seas, greater international cooperation in development of controls is recommended.