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. Ancient Egypt Helps Nuclear Scientists

Queen Cleopatra on papyrus paper.
London (UPI) Aug 9, 2005
Britain's nuclear scientists have reportedly borrowed ancient Egyptian methods to safely store vital nuclear records for thousands of years.

The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority is involved in a $14 million project to dismantle 26 research reactors and bury nuclear waste that will remain dangerous for thousands of years. The waste will be buried in concrete bunkers and storage facilities, The Guardian reported.

The problem facing British scientists: vital details involving the dismantling and the dangers if handling the plutonium, uranium and other wastes are outlined on computer software that will become soon become outdated.

But fortunately, The Guardian said, someone remembered the papyrus scrolls used by ancient Egyptians that preserved readable records for millennia, making them perfect for the nuclear waste industry.

So the scientists used "permanent paper," which is acid free, and will not deteriorate or discolor - about as close to papyrus as could be managed.

About 423 documents were photocopied onto 11,718 sheets of the paper, packed in copper impregnated bags and stored in 16 special long-life archive boxes that simulate the dry, airless conditions of the desert pyramids.

For safety, two additional sets of records will be stored at different locations.

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