China has begun building its first underground research laboratory in the Gobi Desert to see if the area is suitable for storing high-level radioactive waste. If it is found to be so, the area will be used for holding waste from China’s 51 nuclear power plants.
The construction of the research laboratory will take place from 2021 to 2025 with plans for the possible disposal facility to be completed by 2050.
Supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency, 35 Chinese and 11 international experts hosted a six-week virtual expert mission earlier this year to offer recommendations and suggestions for the laboratory.
China has been searching for a suitable site since 1985. These efforts have been supported by the Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology.