Experience Gained on the Management and Disposition of High-Activity Waste

Findings

Following are “lessons learned” from the experience of repository efforts of the U.S. and other countries to date about geologic disposal as a permanent solution to the disposal of high activity waste:

Deep geologic repositories are feasible.

  • Expect surprises when you get underground during the site-characterization phase.

  • Engineered barriers may be more predictable than the natural system, in the “near” term.

  • An improved knowledge base now exists to guide future efforts in specifying waste forms.

  • Prototyping of first-of-a-kind components is important.

  • Direct disposal of canisters containing spent fuel in dual-purpose casks should be considered.

  • Postclosure performance can be quantified using the principles of the risk sciences.

  • A total systems approach to characterizing a repository site is crucial.

  • A close relationship between science and engineering is essential.

  • A license application can be developed that meets Nuclear Regulatory Commission review

Acceptance Requirements

  • Repository systems can be developed in a variety of geologic environments.
  • Most proposed disposal concepts rely on both natural and engineered barriers, although the degree of reliance on one or the other varies considerably.
  • Research carried out at-depth in underground research laboratories has been extremely valuable.

Nov 16, 2010