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Considering Timescales in the Post-closure Safety of Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste

image of Considering Timescales in the Post-closure Safety of Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste

A key challenge in the development of safety cases for the deep geological disposal of radioactive waste is handling the long time frame over which the radioactive waste remains hazardous. The intrinsic hazard of the waste decreases with time, but some hazard remains for extremely long periods. This report reviews the current status and ongoing discussions of this issue, addressing such issues as ethical principles, the evolution of the hazard over time, uncertainties in the evolution of the disposal system (and how these uncertainties themselves evolve), the stability and predictability of the geological environment, repository planning and implementation including regulatory requirements, siting decisions, repository design, the development and presentation of safety cases and the planning of pre- and post-closure institutional controls such as monitoring requirements.

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National Policies in the Planning of Preand Post-Closure Actions

Nuclear Energy Agency

In their planning of repository construction, operation and closure, some programmes are considering concepts that include an extended “open period”, in which the waste is kept readily retrievable and there is flexibility in the timing of any decision to backfill and seal the underground openings in which the waste is emplaced, which may be delayed perhaps for some hundreds of years (Appendix 4, observations from responses to Question 5.1b). Such concepts aim to combine, to some extent, the positive aspects of geological disposal, in terms of passive safety and security, and longterm storage, in terms of flexibility in decision-making. 

English

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