According to a recent study, toxic waste left buried at a U.S. military camp in Greenland could emerge due to climate change and contaminate the environment.
Back in 1959, the US built Camp Century, a clandestine testing site in Greenland, but abandoned the military base less than a decade later. While personnel removed big items, like the nuclear reactor chamber, the waste was left behind under the assumption it would simply disappear beneath the cover of ever-falling snow.
According to a recent study led by William Colgan of Toronto’s York University, the situation may not play out as predicted. Should climate change trigger the melting the ice sheet, the waste, which includes radioactive materials and sewage, could become exposed and enter the environment. At this time, the contaminants remain well buried, but, based on the research team’s models of multiple scenarios, the protective layers could begin to deteriorate as early as 2090.
While Colgan doesn’t believe removing the waste immediately is necessary, he and his fellow researchers do point out international protocols for such an endeavor are currently lacking.