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Study concerning the evaluation of toxic elements present in nuclear wastes

Objective

The safety conditions of radioactive waste final disposal must cover the radiological aspects but also the chemical toxicity aspects coming either from the radioactive isotopes of from the non radioactive components of the waste. The aim of the study is to make an evaluation of those chemical elements and of their quantity in the different waste streams. The different waste streams will be identified systematically making a segregation between them based on the production process. The chemical properties of the identified waste streams will be included in a general data base covering the identification and quantification, the physico-chemical properties, and the radiological characterization of the nuclear wastes. The evaluation and characterization of the chemical toxicity of nuclear waste is performed in collaboration with Indaver N.V. (Antwerp-Belgium), a mixed treatment plant company for chemical waste.
The management of the radioactive waste is mainly determined by the safety conditions of the final disposal. Those safety conditions must cover both the radiological aspects and the chemical toxicity aspects coming either from the radioactive isotopes or from the nonradioactive components of the waste. The aim of the study is to make an evaluation of those chemical elements and of their quantity in the different waste streams. This involves the selection of toxic elements, in particular heavy metals, in function of the actual local, national and European legal context, and an evaluation of the presence of these toxic elements in the nuclear wastes. The different waste streams will be identified systematically (per producer and per category), making a segregation between them based on the production process (operational, technological, dismantling, packaging, conditioning, etc). The chemical properties of the identified waste streams will be included in a general databank covering the identification and quantification, the physico-chemical properties, and the radiological characterization of the nuclear wastes. This involved defining both the toxic limits acceptable for the admission of waste on a shallow land burial, referring to the operational criteria for conventional landfilling of industrial waste, and the evaluation methods or measurements needed to identify and quantify the toxic elements in nuclear waste.

Preventive actions to avoid the use of toxic elements in the nuclear installations are also considered.
Work programme:

- Selection of toxic elements, in particular heavy metals, in function of the actual local, national and European legal context.
- Evaluation of the presence of these toxic elements in the nuclear wastes, and structuration of the collected information based on the following criteria : type of producer and type of process.
- Definition of toxic elements/limits (orders of magnitude) acceptable for the admission of waste on a shallow land burial, referring to the operation criteria for conventional landfilling of industrial waste.
- Definition of measurements or evaluation methods to identify and quantify the toxic elements in nuclear wastes.
- Preventive actions to avoid the use of toxic elements in the nuclear installations.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

NATIONAL AGENCY FOR RADIOACTIVE WASTE AND ENRICHED FISSILE MATERIALS
Address
01,Avenue Des Arts 14
1210 Bruxelles
Belgium