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An Assessment of the Radiological Impact of Human Intrusion at the UK Low Level Waste Repository (LLWR)

[+] Author Affiliations
Tim. Hicks, Tamara Baldwin

Galson Sciences Ltd., Oakham, Rutland, UK

Richard Cummings, Trevor Sumerling

LLW Repository Ltd., Drigg, Holmrook, Cumbria, UK

Paper No. ICEM2011-59356, pp. 1371-1380; 10 pages
  • ASME 2011 14th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management
  • ASME 2011 14th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management, Parts A and B
  • Reims, France, September 25–29, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division and Environmental Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5498-3
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


The UK Low Level Waste Repository Ltd submitted an Environmental Safety Case for the disposal of low-level waste (LLW) to the Environment Agency on the 1st of May 2011. The Environmental Safety Case (ESC) presents a complete case for the environmental safety of the Low Level Waste Repository (LLWR) both during operations and in the long term (Cummings et al, in these proceedings). This includes an assessment of the long-term radiological safety of the facility, including an assessment of the potential consequences of human intrusion at the site. The human intrusion assessment is based on a cautiously realistic approach in defining intrusion cases and parameter values. A range of possible human intrusion events was considered based on present-day technologies and credible future uses of the site. This process resulted in the identification of geotechnical investigations, a housing development and a smallholding as requiring quantitative assessment. A particular feature of the site is that, because of its proximity to the coast and in view of expected global sea-level rise, it is vulnerable to coastal erosion. During such erosion, wastes and engineered barrier materials will be exposed, and could become targets for investigation or recovery. Therefore, human intrusion events have been included that are associated with such activities. A radiological assessment model has been developed to analyse the impacts of potential human intrusion at the site. A key feature of the model is the representation of the spatial layout of the disposal site, including the engineered cap design and the large-scale spatial heterogeneity of radionuclide concentrations within the repository. The model has been used to calculate the radiation dose to intruders and to others following intrusion at different times and at different locations across the site, for the each of the selected intrusion events, considering all relevant exposure modes. Potential doses due to radon and its daughters in buildings constructed on excavated spoil from the repository are a particular concern. Options for managing the emplacement of the radium-bearing waste packages with regard to human intrusion have been assessed. These calculations show that a managed waste emplacement strategy can ensure that calculated doses are consistent with regulatory guidance levels.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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