Developing Disposal Concept Options for Higher Activity Waste
A dedicated integrated project team will take forward work to support the disposability and full life cycle implications of high-heat generating wastes – focussing in particular on disposal of spent fuel.
The integrated project started work in April 2012.
Focus of the project team
- AGR spent fuel that will not be reprocessed in THORP
- PWR spent fuel coming from Sizewell B
- Magnox spent fuel, in the unlikely event that not all of this spent fuel is reprocessed
- New Build spent fuel (including MOX fuel) – noting that any scope of work undertaken of relevance to new build fuel will be generic (i.e. not work that is specific to proprietary new build fuel designs) and will be undertaken within the wider envelope of conditions of relevance to the full range of wastes in the UK radioactive waste upper inventory
- MOX spent fuel, if the UK's stockpile of separated plutonium is managed by reuse as MOX fuel in new reactors
Within this project we will be building on the options work already completed (see table below for further information) by exploring the 'process envelope' for the range of concepts and wastes. In doing this we are particularly focused on understanding:
- Cliff edges – what are the limitations of the concept options on design, construction, feasibility and safety of a GDF? ·
- Conflicts – where are there significant conflicts between safety requirements and design feasibility, or on disposability versus upstream activities?
- Information needs – where are the knowledge gaps that need to be filled to support decision making?
- Consequences and implications – what are the consequences and implications for specific concept option scenarios?
- Tools, models and methods – which tools, models and methods should we improve or develop to support effective processing and integration of available information?
The work of the project will support the development of an integrated waste management approach so that well-informed assessment of options can be carried out at appropriate decision points in the future to support implementing geological disposal and informing waste producers and potential new build operators.
Work in the UK to implement geological disposal for such wastes is currently at an early stage of development
A range of possible disposal concept options have been identified which we are examining against the attributes set out in our proposed approach to optioneering
We have completed a number of specific options and assessment studies for these wastes: