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The Management of Historic Intermediate Level Radioactive Waste in the United Kingdom

[+] Author Affiliations
David Horsley

BNFL, Warrington, UK

Bruce McKirdy

United Kingdom Nirex, Ltd., Didcot, Oxfordshire, UK

Paper No. ICEM2003-4897, pp. 59-64; 6 pages
doi:10.1115/ICEM2003-4897
From:
  • ASME 2003 9th International Conference on Radioactive Waste Management and Environmental Remediation
  • 9th ASME International Conference on Radioactive Waste Management and Environmental Remediation: Volumes 1, 2, and 3
  • Oxford, England, September 21–25, 2003
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division and Environmental Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3732-7 | eISBN: 0-7918-3731-9
  • Copyright © 2003 by ASME

abstract

Nirex is the organisation responsible for long-term radioactive waste management in the UK. Our Mission is to provide the UK with safe, environmentally sound and publicly acceptable options for the long-term management of radioactive materials. The United Kingdom has a significant legacy of long-lived intermediate level radioactive waste. This has arisen from 50 years of investigation and exploitation of nuclear technology. Some of the waste is stored in old facilities that do not provide the standards of containment that would be incorporated in modern facilities. Also the risk to people and to the environment from the inventory in these facilities will increase with time as the structures age and degrade, increasing the chance of containment failure. There is, therefore, a need to retrieve this raw waste and process and package it to make it demonstrably safe for continued storage, pending a decision on disposal of radioactive waste. This packaging should, as far as is practicable, be compatible with the UK long-term waste management strategy. Nirex has developed its Phased Disposal Concept for intermediate and low-level radioactive waste. Based on that concept, Nirex has developed waste package specifications and carries out assessments of waste packaging proposals. For legacy wastes it may not always practicable to demonstrate full compliance with all Nirex disposal criteria. This paper describes an approach, agreed between Nirex and BNFL, for managing these wastes. The proposed approach takes account of long-term waste management issues whilst recognising the need for timely improvement of storage conditions.

Copyright © 2003 by ASME

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