Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Final Report, Module 3 - ESDRED (Engineering Studies and Demonstrations of Repository Designs)



This is a periodic report of the ESDRED project funded under the European Commission (EC)'s Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). This report covers the accomplishments of module 3. The disposal of certain types of radioactive waste canisters in a deep repository involves handling and emplacement of very heavy loads. The weight of these particular canisters can be in the order of 20 to 50 metric tonnes. They generally have to be handled underground in openings that are not much larger than the canisters themselves as it is time consuming and expensive to excavate and backfill large openings in a repository (the creation of voids around the waste packages is also detrimental to the long term safety function and must subsequently be reduced to its minimum extent). This therefore calls for the development of special technology that can meet the requirements for safe remote operation (a radioprotection requisite) at an industrial scale in restrained operating spaces. In the present case, those spaces are narrow annular gaps, since both the canisters and the disposal drifts have a cylindrical shape. Air / water cushion systems are used worldwide in the industry for moving heavy loads on flat surfaces. However, until now the technology needed for emplacing heavy cylindrical radioactive waste packages in circular excavated drifts with diameters only a few cm greater than the diameter of the waste packages had not been previously designed, developed or demonstrated.

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