Near surface disposal installation for short-lived low- and intermediate-level waste
Short-lived low and intermediate-level waste originates mainly from industry and the medical sector. This so-called category A waste needs to be stored permanently. It can be stored safely near the surface without a risk to public health either now or in the distant future. Most European countries have been using this method for many years.
Surface disposal in Dessel
ONDRAF/NIRAS, the national institute for radioactive waste and enriched fissile materials, is preparing for the construction of a surface disposal installation in Dessel. This is meant to offer a long-term solution for Belgian category A waste. The Belgian Nuclear Research Centre is closely involved in the scientific underpinning of the safety dossier for this disposal installation. (More information on the installation can be found on the cAt-project website.)
Our studies with respect to this project are focused on the behaviour, potential release and dispersion of radioactive substances. The possible dispersion of insignificant quantities into the groundwater, the soil, the surrounding environment and humans is calculated on the basis of models for the next hundreds or even thousands of years.
Concrete plays an important part in the concept of near surface disposal. Radioactive waste is shielded from the outside world inside a concrete enclosure, which has to be maintained for approximately 300 years until the waste no longer represents a threat. SCK•CEN is involved in studies to test the ability of concrete to remain impermeable to water and to retain radioactive substances for long periods of time.