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Salt with a pinch of water.

Salt with a pinch of water

Natural deposits of rock salt are attractive as sites for radioactive waste disposal. At great depths, the salt tends to be impermeable, and mining is relatively easy because the stuff can be dissolved away to create the necessary underground cavities (SN: 1/2/82, p.9). However, according to the results of some recent experiments, traces of water trapped within the salt may have a strong effect on the flow properties of salt bodies under pressure. Under those conditions, the salt may be weakened, say Janos L. Urai and his colleagues at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

"Natural rock salt invariably contains small amounts ofbrine,' the researchers report in the Dec. 11 NATURE. Because their experiments were done in a relatively dry salt, they conclude that "weakening by water should occur in a wide range of salt rocks during natural deformation.' That includes conditions that would be expected in radioactive waste repositories and storage caverns buried deep within salt beds.
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Title Annotation:traces of water trapped in salt bodies may have weakening effect
Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 10, 1987
Words:168
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