IAEA Workshop on Construction of Radwaste Geological Repositories

A regional workshop on the design, justification, safety and safety assessment of geological repositories* for radioactive waste disposal and activities for the safe management of radioactive waste was held at the initiative of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna (Austria) end of May.

The event was held in order to share experience of the participating countries in the construction of radioactive waste geological repositories. The attendees listened to lectures of IAEA experts and other specialists related to these issues.

The following representatives from Ukraine were among about 30 participants: the head of the laboratory for safe radioactive waste management of the decommissioning department in the State Scientific and Technical Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety (SSTC NRS) Oleksii Tokarevskyi and the Chief Expert – the State Inspector of the Safe Radwaste Management Department in SNRIU Julia Novikova.

Specialists from Ukraine presented during the workshop a joint report on the “Safety aspects for the construction of a radioactive waste repository in deep geological formations in Ukraine”, where they considered in detail the current radwaste situation in Ukraine, new radioactive waste classification that is currently under implementation and provides for the construction of a deep geological repository. In addition, the participants of the event were presented the main provisions of the new regulation “General Safety Provisions for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste”.

According to Oleksii Tokarwvskyi, the countries that achieved the greatest progress in the construction of geological repositories are France, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, the United States and some other countries. Ukraine is only at the beginning of this path, so it was interesting and important to get acquainted with the best practices of other countries.

“The issue on the construction of a geological repository is now relevant for Ukraine. The territory of the Chornobyl exclusion zone is currently considered prospective for siting of such a repository, but the final siting requires survey and scientific research. It is very important that the regulatory authorities and SSTC NRS be involved from the very beginning into the construction of a geological repository in Ukraine”.

*Geological repository is a repository equipped in deep geological formations under the predicted geological conditions (at a depth of several hundred meters or more under the ground surface) with a system of barriers that can provide radioactive waste confinement and isolation for a long period after repository cleanup considering heat generation due to natural decay of radionuclides.

(Definition from the regulation “General Provisions for Safe Radioactive Waste Disposal”)