Retrieval of Fuel-Containing Materials Required for Shelter Transformation into Environmentally Safe System

This was reported by Dr. Anatolii Nosovskyi, Director of the Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants, in his speech at the International Scientific and Practical Conference “Shelter Transformation into an Environmentally Safe System: Experience, Problems and Solutions”.

The event was organized by the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management, State Specialized Enterprise “Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant” and Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants to discuss problems and solutions on the way of achieving the final objective – Shelter transformation into an environmentally safe system.

The dismantling of Shelter structures will be started in the near future. The operation life of these structures expires in 2023, so the work must be completed by the end of this period. As for further activities, two main strategies are currently developed: on-site disposal by means of filling with concrete or other mixtures and retrieval of fuel-containing materials (FCM) with subsequent decommissioning of the Shelter.

The on-site disposal is not sufficient to ensures safety both from the construction point of view and for incompliance with the requirements for nuclear, radiation and environmental safety.

“It is not possible to consider the on-site disposal option as the final state of the Shelter as an environmentally safe system, since it does not ensure reliable confinement of nuclear materials and other long-lived radwaste during the entire period of their danger for the environment, mentioned Anatolii Nosovskyi in his speech, so the retrieval of fuel-containing materials is one of the main conditions for Shelter transformation into an environmentally safe system”.

The dismantling of unstable structures and further FCM retrieval are planned to be performed up to 2023.

However, the retrieval of fuel-containing materials is possible only after their transfer to controlled state, which is also consolidated in legislation. Since FCM can be found in different Shelter areas, it is necessary to take into account different risk and safety factors.

“For different zones, depending on the factors that mostly affect safety, various remedial measures need to be taken to transfer fuel-containing materials to controlled state”, mentioned Dmytro Stelmakh, representative of Chornobyl NPP (ChNPP), in his speech. Editorial Board