General strategy for clay-based disposal systems
In 2009, ONDRAF/NIRAS, the Belgian Agency for Radioactive Waste and Enriched Fissile Materials, established a six-year research, development and demonstration (RD&D) programme to explore the feasibility of its concept for the geological disposal of Category B and C radioactive waste in Belgium. This programme, generally referred to as the ‘B&C Techno project’, aims to acquire evidence and build arguments in order to demonstrate that the proposed disposal system can be constructed, operated and progressively closed, taking into account long-term safety requirements and operational safety requirements.
Galson Sciences Ltd (GSL) has been supporting the co-ordination of the activities involved in this project. This support has included synthesis of research outputs, and the development of various tools and methods to demonstrate that the Belgian geological disposal concept is feasible to implement. Two examples of studies conducted by GSL for ONDRAF/NIRAS as part of the B&C Techno project to substantiate feasibility are described in this paper:
A review of other national geological disposal concepts to identify transferable experience relating to the feasibility of constructing, and assembling comparable disposal system components.
Development of a storyboard illustrating the different steps involved in disposing of Category B and C waste.
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It is internationally accepted that the safest and most sustainable option for managing radioactive waste is geological disposal, utilizing both engineering and geology to isolate the waste and contain the radioactivity.
This Special Publication contains 25 scientific studies presented at the 6th conference on ‘Clays in natural and engineered barriers for radioactive waste confinement’ held in Brussels, Belgium in 2015. The conference and this resulting volume cover many of the aspects of clay characterization and behaviour considered at various temporal and spatial scales relevant to the confinement of radionuclides in clay, from basic phenomenological process descriptions to the global understanding of performance and safety at repository and geological scales.
The papers in this volume consider research into argillaceous media under the following topic areas: large-scale geological characterization; general strategy for clay-based disposal systems; geomechanics; mass transfer; bentonite evolution and gas transfer.
The collection of different topics presented in this Special Publication demonstrates the diversity of geological repository research.