Overall research programme and work programme for 2020-2025
|Author||COVRA, Technopolis group, E.Verhoef, E.Neeft, N.Chapman, C.McCombie, J.Bartol, M.Vuorio|
|Classification||1.01.4.30/78 (WASTE - GEOLOGICAL DISPOSAL IN SALT/CLAY)|
|Remarks||This document was prepared by COVRA in collaboration with Technopolis Group and advised by two international advisors during Winter 2019-2020.|
From the publication:
When visiting COVRA in the province of Zeeland, the storage buildings for radioactive waste may look like they have been carved out of solid rock and can last forever. But don’t let the appearances fool you: the storage of radioactive waste at COVRA is only a temporary solution. The buildings have been designed for ‘just’ a century or two. After this period, a large part of the waste is still radioactive. With the current state of science and technology, disposal of this long-lived waste in stable geological layers in the deep underground is the only accepted solution to ensure that the waste will still remain out of the human living environment after thousands of years. This is called deep geological disposal. For long-term management, COVRA must align its services with the changing market, which constantly offers different types and quantities of radioactive waste. Because COVRA is responsible for the entire waste management chain, we can take the requirements for the geological disposal of radioactive waste into account already when collecting and processing it. Conversely, we can only acquire now the information and knowledge we need to properly carry out the future disposal. To balance the short and long-term interests and knowledge of both predisposal and disposal activities, we need a robust and consistent knowledge management. An essential part of the knowledge management is an active, continuous research programme on geological disposal.
According to Dutch policy, the definitive decision on the disposal method will be taken around 2100 and start of disposal is expected around 2130. This provides us time to learn from experiences in other countries, to carry out research and to accumulate the knowledge to make well-founded decisions. To develop the necessary knowledge COVRA will make conditional generic (i.e. non-site-specific) safety cases during the next decades.
In this period, the principal driving forces for research are to:
1. Strengthen the confidence in the safety of disposal: investigating the different host rock options (e.g. rock salt, Boom Clay and Ypresian Clay), potential GDF design options, the post-closure performance, and level of the public confidence and acceptability.
2. Assess the disposability of different waste and waste packaging families: investigating waste packaging options and requirements on collection, treatment and conditioning of waste families to facilitate their eventual disposal.
3. Assure adequate funding for disposal, based on regularly updated cost estimates for the GDF: identifying and where possible optimising cost-determining features of a GDF.
In this document we explain how the long-term research programme will look like. How it builds on the OPERA safety case from the previous research programme and uses a structured process to select research activities to be carried out over the coming years. You can also find a detailed plan for the research in the coming five years (2020-2025). You can read how these activities will strengthen COVRA’s competences in scientific and technical areas related to geological disposal. How we plan to inform politicians, the public and the scientific/technical community about the progress of geological disposal in the Netherlands. The plan is not yet carved in stone and will evolve over time.
Dr. ir. Ewoud Verhoef
Deputy Director COVRA