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This story features in Unearthed: Water Security

InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland


Built, somewhat outrageously, inside a 100 metre high (328 feet) quarry outside Shanghai. The hotel has 19 storeys, with the bottom two underwater beneath an artificial lake. And yes, that is a waterfall on the cliff face.

An international competition picked the winning design by engineering consultants Atkins back in 2006. Seven years of geological examinations and feasibility studies followed before construction began, and the $555 million hotel opened for business in late 2018.

Hanford Nuclear Waste Site

Hanford Nuclear Waste Site


Considered to be the world’s largest environmental cleanup, with a staggering $500 billion dollars likely to be spent before completion (which could take another 50 years).

Hanford was the site of the world’s first plutonium reactor and processed radioactive material for most of the 60,000 nuclear weapons in the US arsenal during the Cold War.

That left 177 underground tanks containing 1/4 billion litres (56 million gallons) of radioactive waste to dispose of – and all within sight of the Columbia River.