Disposability of the UK’s Intermediate Level Wastes

Abstract

The UK’s intermediate level waste (ILW) comprises a range of waste types, which vary widely in terms of physical and chemical properties, radionuclide content (including fissile) and half-life. ILW needs to be conditioned in such a way as to provide confidence that a future disposal facility for such wastes will be able to meet or exceed the basic long-term safety and environmental protection standards. The reactive properties and heterogeneous nature of certain ILW can present waste immobilisation challenges and, depending on the waste conditioning process that is adopted, may ultimately preclude the production of truly passive wasteforms. Of considerable interest is the extent of long-term containment likely to be afforded by the waste container, the wasteform and any engineered barriers within the disposal system. A regulatory view of the current uncertainties is provided and areas where further understanding would be beneficial are identified.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. [1]

    Defra, DTI and the Devolved Administrations (2007). Policy for the Long Term Management of Solid Low Level Radioactive Waste in the United Kingdom.

  2. [2]

    “Review of Radioactive Waste Management Policy: Final Conclusions”, Cm2919, HMSO, July 1995.

  3. [3]

    Health and Safety Executive, Environment Agency and Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Conditioning of intermediate level radioactive waste on nuclear licensed sites, Guidance to Industry, 2005.

  4. [4]

    Defra and Nirex (2006). Radioactive Waste in the UK: Main Report. DEFRA Report DEFRA/RAS/05.002, Nirex Report N/090.

  5. [5]

    Nirex (2005). The Viability of a Phased Geological Repository Concept for the Longterm management of the UK’s Radioactive Waste. Nirex Report N/122.

  6. [6]

    Nirex (2005). Waste Package Specification and Guidance Documentation. Volume 1 – Specification. Nirex Report N/104.

  7. [7]

    Environment Agency (2005). Review of Nirex Report: ‘The Viability of a Phased Geological Repository Concept for the Long-term Management of the UK’s Radioactive Waste’. NWAT/Nirex/05/003 (Version 3.1).

  8. [8]

    G. A. Fairhall and J. D. Palmer, ‘The Encapsulation of Magnox Swarf in Cement in the United Kingdom’, Cem. Concr. Res. (1992), 22, p. 293–298.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. [9]

    P. K. Abraitis and A. J. Baker, ‘Regulatory Oversight of the Conditioning of UK Intermediate Level Radioactive Wastes: Post-Closure Criticality Safety Aspects’, Proceedings of ICEM’05, Glasgow, 2005.

    Google Scholar 

  10. [10]

    T. W. Hicks and T. H. Green, (1999). A Review of the Treatment of Criticality in Post-Closure Safety Assessment of Radioactive Waste Disposal. The Environment Agency Research and Development Technical Report No. P222.

  11. [11]

    Environment Agency (2005). NWAT Review of Nirex’s Approach to the Setting of Fissile Limits for Waste Packages and Assessment of Possible Post-closure Criticality Events. NWAT/Nirex/04/002 (Version 1.3).

  12. [12]

    Environment Agency, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency and Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland (1997). Radioactive Substances Act 1993 – Disposal Facilities on Land for Low and Intermediate Level Radioactive Wastes: Guidance on Requirements for Authorisation. Bristol: Environment Agency.

  13. [13]

    Nirex (2006). C-14: How we are addressing the issues. Nirex Technical Note.

  14. [14]

    Nirex (2006). Package Longevity: Current Status and Route Map. Nirex Technical Note.

  15. [15]

    Environment Agency (2005). Reworking Intermediate Level Waste. Science Report SC040047.

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to K. Abraitis Paul.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Paul, K.A., Davies, G. Disposability of the UK’s Intermediate Level Wastes. MRS Online Proceedings Library 1107, 35 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-1107-35

Download citation