Advertisement

The Scientific Basis of Nuclear Waste Management

  • Bernard Bonin

Abstract

Waste is produced at every stage of the nuclear fuel cycle. While large volumes of short-lived radioactive waste are already handled by the nuclear industry in surface storage facilities, the management mode of high-activity, long-lived waste has not been decided in detail and is still under study in all nuclear countries. Scientific knowledge is in progress, technical solutions are emerging, in a context where science and technology interact strongly with social and economical issues.

With a closed fuel cycle, waste management from its production to its final destination looks like a chain whose links are treatment recycling, conditioning, storage, and disposal of the final waste. With the open cycle option, the first link is absent.

This chapter provides the concepts and data that form the scientific basis of nuclear waste management.

Section 1 deals with the origin, nature, volume, and flux of nuclear waste, and describes the management options.

Section 2 deals with waste conditioning, with special emphasis on two important conditioning matrices: cement-like materials and glass. The elaboration and long-term behavior of these matrices are treated successively. In many countries, spent fuel is considered as waste, and must be conditioned as such. A special section is devoted to this issue.

Section 3 deals with waste storage and disposal. Interim storage of long-lived waste is already an industrial reality, and the design and properties of the corresponding installations are described. The final disposal of ultimate waste in deep geological repositories is more prospective, but the main concepts are described, with emphasis on the mechanisms, models, and orders of magnitude of the main physical and chemical phenomena that come into play in the long-term evolution of these installations. Finally, a short description of the methodology used to evaluate the safety of these installations is given. A simplified example of application of this methodology is given to evaluate the order of magnitude of the radiological impact of geological disposal of long-lived waste.

Keywords

Radioactive Waste Fission Product Spend Fuel Geological Repository Minor Actinide 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgment

Acknowledgments to L. Strudel, C. Poinssot, P. Vitorge, J. Cabrera, C. Gallé, E. Vernaz, L. Martin-Deidier

References

  1. ANDRA, Dossier Argile 2005, ISBN 2-951 0108-8-5, http://www.andra.fr/interne.php3?id_article=934%26id_rubrique=160
  2. Atkins M, Damidot D, Glasser FP (1994) Performance of cementitious systems in the repository. Mater Res Soc Symp Proc 333:315–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beaucaire C, Tertre E, Coreau N, Juery A, Legrand S (2008) A multi-site ion exchange model to predict contaminants sorption in sediments. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 72:A62Google Scholar
  4. Bejaoui S, Bary B, Nitsche S, Chaudanson D, Blanc C (2006) Experimental and modelling studies of the link between microstructure and effective diffusivity of cement pastes. Revue Européenne de Genie Civil 10–9:1073–1106Google Scholar
  5. Bennett DG, Higgo JJW, Wickham SM (2001) Review of waste immobilisation matrices. Galson Sciences Limited Report to United Kingdom Nirex Limited (0126–1, Version 1)Google Scholar
  6. Bernard P et al (2005) Hydration process and rheological properties of cement pastes modified by orthophosphate addition. J Eur Ceram Soc 25(11):1877MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berner UA (1992) Evolution of pore water chemistry during degradation of cement in a radioactive waste repository environment. Waste Manage 12:201–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bouniol P (2004) Etat des connaissances sur la radiolyse de l’eau dans les colis de déchets cimentés et son approche par simulation. CEA-R report n 6069Google Scholar
  9. Brown P, Curti E, Grambow B (2005) Chemical thermodynamics of zirconium, chemical thermodynamics series Volume 8, OECD Publication Prediction of long-term corrosion behaviour in nuclear waste systems, Eurocorr workshop, Nice 2004Google Scholar
  10. Cailleteau C, Angeli F, Devreux F, Gin S, Jestin J, Jollivet P, Spalla O (2008) Insight into silicate glass aqueous alteration mechanisms. Nat Mater 7:978–983CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Blondiaux G, Fillet C (2006) The promise of specific conditioning. Clefs CEA n ̈53Google Scholar
  12. CEA Report CEA-R 6026 (2003) Database on long-lived radionuclidesGoogle Scholar
  13. David D Analogues archéologiques et corrosion, doc ANDRA, collection sciences et techniques, ISSNN 1629-7237 (2003), http://www.andra.fr/publication/produit/192_analogues.pdf
  14. de Marsily G (1981) Quantitative hydrogeology. Academic, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. Descostes M, Blin V, Bazer-Bachi F, Meier P, Grenut B, Radwan J, Schlegel ML, Buschaert S, Coelho D, Tevissen E (2008) Diffusion of anionic species in Callovo-Oxfordian argillites and Oxfordian limestones (Meuse/Haute–Marne, France). Appl Geochem 23:655–677CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Distinguin M, Lavanchy JM (2007) Determination of hydraulic properties of the Callovo-Oxfordian argillite at the Bure site: synthesis of the results obtained in deep boreholes using several in situ investigation techniques. Phys Chem Earth 32:379–392Google Scholar
  17. Dossier ANDRA synthèse argile (2005) ISBN 2-951 0108-8-5Google Scholar
  18. Ewing R et al (27 October 2006) Colloid transport of plutonium in the far-field of the Mayak Production Association, Russia. Science 314(5799):638–641Google Scholar
  19. Ferry C, Piron J-P, Poulesquen A, Poinssot C (2008) Radionuclides release from the spent fuel under disposal conditions: re-evaluation of the instant release fraction, basis for nuclear waste management. In: W.E. Lee, J.W. Roberts, N.C. Hyatt, R.W. Grimes (eds). Mater Res Symp 1107:447–454Google Scholar
  20. France’s National Inventory (2009) http://www.andra.fr, book AND 0001013 ISSN 1629-5730
  21. Frugier P, Gin S, Minet Y, Chave T, Bonin B, Godon N, Lartigue JE, Jollivet P, Ayral A, De Windt L, Santarini G (2008) SON68 nuclear glass dissolution kinetics: current state of knowledge and basis of the new GRAAL Model. J Nucl Mater 380:8–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Frugier P, Chave T, Gin S, Lartigue JE (2009) Application of the GRAAL model to leaching experiments with SON68 nuclear glass in initially pure water. J Nucl Mater 392:552–567CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gallé C, Peycelon H, Le Bescop P, Bejaoui S, L’Hostis V, Bary B, Bouniol P, Richet C Concrete long-term behaviour in the context of nuclear waste management: experimental and modelling research strategy. Journal de Physique IV (France) 136:25–38Google Scholar
  24. Gauthier-Lafaye F (2002) 2 billion year old natural analogs for nuclear waste disposal: the natural nuclear fission reactors in Gabon (Africa). CR Phys 3:839–849CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Geckeis H, Rabung T (2008) Actinide geochemistry: from the molecular level to the real system. J Cont Hydrol 102:187–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste Safety Requirements IAEA Safety Standards Series No. WS-R-4 (2006) ISSN 1020-525XGoogle Scholar
  27. Glasser FP (1997) Fundamental aspects of cement solidification and stabilisation. J Hazard Mater 52:151–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Glasser FP (2002) Characterization of the barrier performance of cements. Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings 713, JJ9.1.1-JJ9.1.12Google Scholar
  29. Glasser FP, Atkins M (December 1994) Cements in radioactive waste disposal. MRS Bulletin, pp 33–37Google Scholar
  30. Grenthe I, Fuger J, Konings R, Lemire R, Muller A, Nguyen-Trung C, Wanner H (1992) Chemical thermodynamics of uranium, chemical thermodynamics series Volume 1. Elsevier, North-Holland, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  31. Gurban I, Laaksoharju M, Made B, Ledoux E (2003) Uranium transport around the reactor zone at Bangombe and Okelobondo (Oklo): examples of hydrogeological and geochemical model integration and data evaluation. J Cont Hydrol 61:247–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gwinner B, Sercombe J, Tiffreau C, Simondi-teisseire B, Felines I, Adenot F (2006) Modelling of bituminized radioactive waste leaching. Part II: experimental validation. J Nucl Mater 349:107–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Handbook of Parameter Values for the Prediction of Radionuclide Transfer in Terrestrial and Freshwater Environments (2010) IAEA Technical Reports Series No. 472Google Scholar
  34. Horseman ST, Higgo JJW, Alexander J, Harrington JF (1996) Water, gas and solute movement through argillaceous media. Nuclear Energy Agency, OECD publication, 290ppGoogle Scholar
  35. Hu Q, Zavarin M, Rose T (2008) Effect of reducing groundwater on the retardation of redox-sensitive radionuclides. Geochem Trans, 9:12, doi:10.1186/1467-4866-9-12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. IAEA, Policies and strategies for radwaste management (2009) ISBN 978-92-0-103909-5 Nuclear Energy Series No. NW-G-1.1Google Scholar
  37. IAEA Categorizing operational radioactive wastes (2007) ISSN 1011-4289 TECDOC Series No. 1538Google Scholar
  38. IAEA (1991) IAEA Technical Report Series n ̈320, Evaluation of spent fuel as a final waste form, ISBN 92-0-1-125091-6Google Scholar
  39. IAEA (1993) IAEA Technical Report Series n ̈352, Bituminization processes to condition radioactive wastes, ISBN 92-0-100793-0Google Scholar
  40. IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) (1998) Interim storage of radioactive waste packages. IAEA Technical Reports Series No. 390, ISBN 92-0-103698-1, Vienna, AustriaGoogle Scholar
  41. IAEA (1999) Survey of wet and dry spent fuel storage. Report no. IAEA-TECDOC-1100), IAEA, Vienna, ISSN 1011-4289Google Scholar
  42. IAEA (2000) Multi-purpose container technologies for spent fuel management. Report no. IAEA-TECDOC-1192, IAEA, Vienna, ISSN 1011-4289Google Scholar
  43. IAEA, Technical report series n 435 (2004) Implications of Partitioning and Transmutation in Radioactive Waste Management, ISBN 92-0-115104-7Google Scholar
  44. ICRP (1996) Age-dependent doses to members of the public from intake of radionuclides Part 5 Complication of ingestion and inhalation dose coefficients 72, ISBN 0 08042737 5Google Scholar
  45. Johnson ER, Saverot PM (1997) Monograph on spent nuclear fuel storage technologies. Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, DeerfieldGoogle Scholar
  46. Interim storage of spent nuclear fuel: a safe, flexible, and cost-effective near-term approach to spent fuel management (2001) A Joint Report from the Harvard University Project on Managing the Atom and the University of Tokyo Project on Sociotechnics of Nuclear Energy, June 2001Google Scholar
  47. Johnson LH, Ferry C, Poinssot C, Lovera P (2005) Spent fuel radionuclide source term model for assessing spent fuel performance in geological disposal. Part I – assessment of the instant release fraction. J Nucl Mater 346:56–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Kersting AB et al. (7 January 1999) Migration of plutonium in groundwater at the Nevada Test site. Nature 397:56–59Google Scholar
  49. Lemire R, Fuger J, Nitsche H, Potter P, Rand M, Rydberg J, Spahiu K, Sullivan J, Ullman W, Vitorge P, Wanner H (2001) Chemical thermodynamics of neptunium and plutonium. Chemical thermodynamics series volume 4, OECD PublicationGoogle Scholar
  50. Leroy P, Revil A, Altmann S, Tournassat C (2007) Modelling the composition of the pore water in a clay-rock geological formation (Callovo-Oxfordian, France). Geochim Cosmochim Acta 71(5):1087–1097CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Limousin G, Gaudet JP, Charlet L, Szenknect S, Barthès V, Krimissa M (2007) Sorption isotherms: a review on physical bases, modelling and measurement. Appl Geochem 22:249–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Lutze W, Ewing R (1988) Radioactive wasteform for the future. North Holland, New York, 778pp, ISBN 978–0444871046Google Scholar
  53. MacQuarrie KM, Mayer K (2005) Reactive transport modelling in fractured rock: a state-of-the-science review. Earth-Sci Rev 72:189–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Mainguy M, Tognazzi C, Torrenti J-M, Adenot F (2000) Modelling of leaching in pure cement paste and mortar. Cement Concrete Res 30:83–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Martin G et al (2006) A quantitative μNRA study of helium intergranular and volume diffusion in sintered UO2. NIMB 249:509–512CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Miller W, Alexander R, Chapman R, McKinley I, Smellie J (1994) Natural analogue studies in the geological disposal of radioactive wastes. Studies in environmental science 57, Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  57. Moreau Le Golvan Y, Study of fluid flow and transport properties using natural and artificial tracers at the Tournemire claystone site (France), Intnl conf on tracers and modelling in hydrogeology (TRAM 2000) IPSNGoogle Scholar
  58. Motellier S, Ly J, Gorgeon L, Charles Y, Hainos D, Meier P, Page J (2003) Modelling of the ion-exchange properties and indirect determination of the interstitial water composition of an argillaceous rock. Application to the Callovo-Oxfordian low-water-content formation. Appl Geochem 18:1517–1530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Mukhopadhyay S, Sonnenthal EL, Spycher N (2009) Modelling of coupled heat transfer and reactive transport processes in porous media: application to seepage studies at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. J Porous Media 12:725–748CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Neff D Contribution of archaelogical analogs to the estimation of average corrosion rates and long-term corrosion mechanisms of low-carbon steel in soil. PhD thesis, FRNC-TH-5814 (2003)Google Scholar
  61. (1996) Nuclear Wastes: technologies for separation and transmutation, National Academy Press, Washington, DC, ISBN 0309052262Google Scholar
  62. Ojovan MI, Lee WE (2005) An introduction to nuclear waste immobilisation. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 315 ppGoogle Scholar
  63. PAGIS: Performance Assessment of Geological Isolation Systems (1990) ISBN 92-64-0334-3Google Scholar
  64. The EVEREST project: Sensitivity analysis of ecological disposal systems, Reliability Engineering and System Safety, vol 57, n , p 79–90 (1997)Google Scholar
  65. Papp R (1998a) Technische und geologische Barrieren bei der Endlagerung (in German), ATW 43, Jg 1998a, Heft 4, April, pp 252–255Google Scholar
  66. Petit JC (1992) Natural analogues for the design and performance assessment of radioactive waste forms: a review. J Geochem Explor 46:1–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Peuget S, Cachia J-N, Jégou C, Deschanels X, Roudil D, Broudic V, Delaye J-M, Bart J-M (2006) Irradiation stability of R7T7-type borosilicate glass. J Nucl Mater 354:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Peycelon H, Adenot F, Le Bescop P, Richet C, Blanc V (2001) Long-term behaviour of concrete: development of operational model to predict the evolution of its containment performance. Application to Cemented Waste Packages. Global 2001 Conference, Paris, France, September 9–13, 2001Google Scholar
  69. Pinet O, Grandjean A, Schuller S, Blisson T (2005) “Procédé de confinement d’une matière par vitrification, French patent EN 05/52218Google Scholar
  70. Poinssot C, Baeyens B, Bradbury M (1999) Experimental and modelling studies of caesium sorption on illite. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 63:3217–3227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Poinssot C, Ferry C, Lovera P, Jégou C, Gras J-M (2005b) Spent fuel radionuclide source term model for assessing spent fuel performance in geological disposal. Part II: matrix alteration model and global performance. J Nucl Mater 346:66–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Policies and Strategies for Radioactive Waste Management, IAEA Nuclear Energy series NW-G-1.1 (2009) ISBN 978-92-0-103909-5Google Scholar
  73. Posiva Oy (1999) The final disposal facility for spent nuclear fuel: environmental assessment report, General SummaryGoogle Scholar
  74. Pourcelot L, Gauthier-Lafaye F (1999) Hydrothermal and supergene clays of the Oklo natural reactors: conditions of radionuclide release, migration and retention. Chem Geol 157:155–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Principles of Radioactive Waste Management Safety Fundamentals IAEA Safety Series No. 111-F, Metcalf P.E., ISBN 92-0-103595-0Google Scholar
  76. Report of the CEA working group (2003) CEA report 6026Google Scholar
  77. Research program on the long-term evolution of the spent fuel [PRECCI project, 2008, CEA report]Google Scholar
  78. Ribet I, Crovisier JL, Curti E, Del Nero M, Grambow B, Lemmens K, Luckscheiter B, Schwyn B (2004) Long-term behaviour of glass: improving the glass source term and substantiating the basic hypotheses. GLASTAB Final report. European CommissionGoogle Scholar
  79. Rotenberg B, Marry V, Dufrêche JF, Giffaut E, Turq P (2007) A multiscale approach to ion diffusion in clays: Building a two-state diffusion–reaction scheme from microscopic dynamics. J Colloid Interface Sci 309:289–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Roudil D, Deschanels X, Trocellier P, Jégou Ch, Peuget S, Bart J-M (2004) Helium thermal diffusion in a uranium dioxide matrix. J Nucl Mater 325:148–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Safety Indicators for the Safety Assessment of Radioactive Waste Disposal IAEA TECDOC Series No. 1372, ISBN 92-0-108703-9Google Scholar
  82. Savage D (ed.) (1995) The scientific and regulatory basis for the geological disposal of radioactive waste. Wiley, West SussexGoogle Scholar
  83. Schindler PW, Stumm W (1987) The surface chemistry of oxides, hydroxides and oxide minerals. In: Stumm W (ed.) Aquatic surface chemistry. Wiley-Interscience, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  84. Sercombe J,Gwinner B, Tiffreau C, Simondi-teisseire B, Adenot F (2006) Modelling of bituminized radioactive waste leaching. Part I: constitutive equations. J Nucl Mater 349:96–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Silva R, Bidoglio G, Rand MH, Robouch P, Wanner H, Puigdomenech I (1995) Chemical thermodynamics of americium, chemical thermodynamics series Volume 2, Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  86. Baudin P. et al. Major results and lessons learned for performance assessments of spent fuel geological disposal: the SPA project. Eurosafe 2000 (2001) http://www.eurosafe-forum.org
  87. Stumm W, Morgan JJ (1996) Aquatic chemistry. Wiley Interscience, New York, 1022ppGoogle Scholar
  88. Taylor HFW (1997) Cement chemistry. Academic, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. IAEA Tech. Report Series 435, Implications of partitioning and transmutation in radioactive waste management (2004) ISBN 92-0-115104-7Google Scholar
  90. Tuli JK (ed) (2000) Nuclear Wallet Cards, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  91. United States Department of Energy (2002) Environmental impact statement for a geologic repository for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, NevadaGoogle Scholar
  92. Van Iseghem P, Aertsens M, Gin S, Deneele D, Grambow B, McGrail P, Strachan D, Wicks G (2007) A critical evaluation of the dissolution mechanisms of high-level waste glasses in conditions of relevance for geological disposal (GLAMOR). In: SCK.CEN, CEA, Subatech, PNNL, SRNL (eds) EUR 23097 ed., pp 1–164Google Scholar
  93. Vernaz E (2002) Role of neoformed phases on the mechanisms controlling the resumption of SON68 glass alteration in alkaline media. CR Phys 3:813CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Wickham SM (2003) Literature review of approaches to long-term storage of radioactive waste and materials. Galson Sciences Ltd., Oakham. GSL Report no. 0331-1Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernard Bonin
    • 1
  1. 1.Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique France Nuclear Energy DirectorateCEA SaclayFrance

Personalised recommendations