Publicatie Laka-bibliotheek:
Management of Historical Waste From Research Reactors: The Dutch Experience

AuteurNRG, A.van Heek, B.Metz, B.Janssen, R.Groothuis
Datumseptember 2013
Classificatie (OLP - HISTORISCH AFVAL (Waste Storage Facility-Pluggenloods))

Uit de publicatie:

Proceedings of the ASME 2013 15th International Conference on Environmental 
Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management. ICEM2013
September 8-12, 2013, Brussels, Belgium

Aliki van Heek
NRG Petten, The Netherlands
Bert Metz
NRG Petten, The Netherlands
Bas Janssen
NRG Petten, The Netherlands
Ron Groothuis
NRG Petten, The Netherlands

Most radioactive waste emerges as well-defined waste
streams from operating power reactors. The management of this
is an on-going practice, based on comprehensive (IAEA)
guidelines. A special waste category however consists of the
historical waste from research reactors, mostly originating from
various experiments in the early years of the nuclear era.
Removal of the waste from the research site, often required by
law, raises challenges: the waste packages must fulfill the
acceptance criteria from the receiving storage site as well as the
criteria for nuclear transports. Often the aged waste containers
do not fulfill today’s requirements anymore, and their contents
are not well documented. Therefore removal of historical waste
requires advanced characterization, sorting, sustainable
repackaging and sometimes conditioning of the waste.
This paper describes the Dutch experience of a historical
waste removal campaign from the Petten High Flux research
reactor. The reactor is still in operation, but Dutch legislation
asks for central storage of all radioactive waste at the COVRA
site in Vlissingen since the availability of the high- and
intermediate-level waste storage facility HABOG in 2004.
In order to comply with COVRA’s acceptance criteria, the
complex and mixed inventory of intermediate and low level
waste must be characterized and conditioned, identifying the
relevant nuclides and their activities. Sorting and segregation
of the waste in a Hot Cell offers the possibility to reduce the
environmental footprint of the historical waste, by repackaging
it into different classes of intermediate and low level waste. In
this way, most of the waste volume can be separated into lower
level categories not needing to be stored in the HABOG, but in
the less demanding LOG facility for low-level waste instead.
The characterization and sorting is done on the basis of a
combination of gamma scanning with high energy resolution of
the closed waste canister and low-resolution localized gamma
scanning inside a hot cell.
A complicating factor is that the conditioning of the waste,
consisting of compacting and cementing, would require such an
extensive infrastructure at the Petten site, that it appeared to be
more practical to have it executed by a foreign service
provider. Therefore the waste packages have to comply with
cross-border transport and waste acceptance criteria, and the
national legislation of this service provider too.
This paper describes this historical waste project, focusing
on the fast and precise characterization approach, the expert
system behind it, and the sorting and repackaging effort at the
Petten site.