Letter: Warning for the ages

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Sir: Phil Reeves poses the problem of constructing 'a warning people will understand in AD12000' that the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico contains lethal radioactive materials ('Earthlings, Keep Off]', 4 March).

As Mr Reeves puts it, 'It is hard to believe that (the American experts) have the slightest idea of how their utterances will be received in 200 years' time, let alone in another epoch.' However, on the assumption that the Americans do not propose to bury this nuclear waste and promptly forget about it, I do not see why it should be problematic to conclude the proposed multilingual warnings about the contents of the site with a request that they be rewritten every 25 years or so, and to establish a commission to ensure this is done. The commission could, at the same time, review the languages in which the warning is written.

Yours faithfully,


London N1