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Abstract

Disposal of Czech institutional radioactive waste began in 1959. Waste (predominantly low level and short-lived) is disposed of in rock chambers that have been excavated in several different rock types, originally for different purposes, and subsequently used for radioactive waste disposal. All Czech radioactive waste repositories are operated by the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (RAWRA). The oldest Czech repository is Alcazar near Beroun, a town in central Bohemia. This repository commenced operation in 1959. Two galleries in Devonian limestone were excavated between 1942 and 1944. Disposal at Alcazar ended in 1965. In 1994, the repository was closed. Bratrství, near the town of Jachymov in NW Bohemia, has been in continuous operation since 1974. Only waste contaminated by natural radionuclides is disposed of at this repository. Five chambers and the access gallery are parts of an abandoned uranium mine. The repository is situated in metamorphic rocks. The most important repository for institutional waste disposal is the Richard II facility near the town of Litomerice in northern Bohemia. Galleries and chambers currently used for disposal are part of an underground system excavated from an extensive lens of clayey limestone of Turonian age. The original purpose was the underground mining of limestone. Radioactive waste has been disposed of here since 1964.

Introduction

Legislative Background

The disposal of radioactive waste in the Czech Republic began in 1959. Up to 1990, the organization and operation of repositories were the responsibility of specialized state institutions. From 1990 to the end of 1999, private organizations fulfilled this role. In 1997, Act No. 18/1997 on the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy and Ionizing Radiation (the Atomic Act) came into force and set out the following principles concerning the management of radioactive waste in the Czech Republic:

  1. 1

    The state shall guarantee the safe disposal of all radioactive waste, including the monitoring and supervision of repositories after closure.

  2. 2

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade shall establish a Radioactive Waste Repository Authority to provide for all activities associated with radioactive waste disposal, with the stipulation that should the Authority cease to exist, its rights and obligations would revert to the establishing agency.

  3. 3

    Owners of radioactive waste, or individuals or legal entities managing the assets of an owner producing radioactive waste, shall bear all the costs associated with its subsequent management from the time of origin to its final disposal, including both the monitoring of radioactive waste repositories after closure and any research and development required.

  4. 4

    The work of the Authority shall be financed from an interest-bearing account at the Czech National Bank (the nuclear account). The Ministry of Finance shall be responsible for the management of the account, and it shall be included in state financial assets and liabilities, the utilization of which is decided by the government. Nuclear account funds may be used only for those purposes enumerated in the Act.

  5. 5

    The Authority shall engage in the following activities:

    1. i.

      the preparation, construction, commissioning, operation, and closure of radioactive waste repositories, and the monitoring of their impact on the environment;

    2. ii.

      radioactive waste management;

    3. ii.

      the keeping of records of radioactive waste received and the generators thereof;

    4. ii.

      the drafting of proposals for determining payments to the nuclear account;

    5. ii.

      the provision and coordination of radioactive waste management research and development.

Radioactive Waste Management in the Czech Republic

The year 1959 saw the first disposal of radioactive waste in the Czech Republic. This so-called institutional (nonenergy) waste was disposed of at the Alcazar repository, situated in rock chambers. Since that time, rock chambers, originally excavated for completely different purposes, have been used, for reasons that today are often unclear, for the disposal of institutional waste. Currently, there are two repositories in operation for low- and medium-level short-lived waste. Waste not suitable for disposal is stored in separate facilities.

Low-level short-lived waste generated by nuclear power plants is disposed of at a surface repository located at the Dukovany nuclear power plant. The facility's capacity is sufficient for the projected disposal of the combined waste of both nuclear power plants currently in operation, through the time of their decommissioning. Generators are responsible for storing the waste not considered suitable for disposal at the Dukovany repository. It is intended that such waste will eventually be disposed of in a deep geological repository.

The nuclear spent fuel from the Dukovany plant is stored at a dry-storage facility situated at the power plant itself. An additional spent-fuel storage facility is now under construction, and an analogous facility is to be built at the Temelin nuclear power plant. Spent fuel from experimental reactors is stored in a pool storage facility at the Nuclear Research Institute at Rez, near Prague.

The development of a deep geological repository for spent nuclear fuel and other waste unsuitable for existing repositories is under way in the Czech Republic. The so-called concept of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel management in the Czech Republic, passed by the government in May 2002, states that such a repository will be put into operation by 2065 (Ministry of Industry and Trade, 2002).

Description of Individual Repositories in Rock Chambers

Since the start of radioactive waste disposal in the Czech Republic, three repositories, one of which is now closed, have been located in rock chambers. Figure 1 shows the locations of all rock chamber repositories.

Figure 1.

Geographical position of the repositories in rock caverns.

Figure 1.

Geographical position of the repositories in rock caverns.

Alcazar Repository

Geography and History

The repository is located in an abandoned limestone mine of the same name 40 km southwest of Prague, near the village of Hostim. From 1908 to 1939, the mine produced high-grade limestone. In May 1959, the Czech government passed a resolution authorizing the construction of a repository at the site, whereupon it was built over the course of a mere three months. Existing tunnels were modified to facilitate its use as a repository.

Tunnel A and part of tunnel B were used for the disposal of radioactive and chemotoxic waste. The tunnel system as a whole (Fig. 2) had been excavated between 1942 and 1944. The original reason for its excavation is unclear, and the most probable theory is that it constituted the first phase in the construction of an underground factory. The width of tunnel A varies between 2.5 and 3.5 m, the height varies between 2.0 and 2.5 m, and the total capacity is 360 m3. During the conversion of the tunnel into a repository, the floor was covered with concrete, and lighting was installed. Stabilization of the openings was not necessary. Lighting was installed and a concrete floor was laid in tunnel B, as had been done in tunnel A; however, additional mining was required here to create disposal vaults with heights of 2.5–7.0 m and widths between 3.0 and 6.0 m. These modifications created 1223 m3 of disposal space.

Figure 2.

Map of tunnels for Alcazar repository.

Figure 2.

Map of tunnels for Alcazar repository.

Operation of the repository was suspended in 1963, and it was closed permanently in August 1965 by the regional health officer according to the regulations then in force.

An inspection of the repository, which included reopening of the tunnels under strict safety precautions, was conducted in 1991. It was found that both tunnels were completely dry, and the vaults were in very good condition. The chemotoxic and higher-activity radioactive wastes were removed, the empty vaults were filled with concrete, and the tunnel entrances were sealed properly. Constant monitoring since that time has detected no escape of toxic material from the repository area.

Geological Characteristics

The repository is situated in the Prague Basin and is part of the Barrandien syncline, the axis of which strikes generally ENE-WSW. Ordovician up to Middle Devonian rocks (mainly shale and limestone) filled the basin after the deposition of Cambrian molasse. Basic volcanism was intensive, reaching its maximum during the Lower Silurian. The youngest unit in the Prague Basin is the Givetian Srbsko Formation, composed mainly of clastic sediments. Regression and consequent folding halted sedimentation.

The Barrandien syncline has an extremely complicated tectonic structure and is divided into numerous blocks, each of which has undergone a different geological and structural development. The Alcazar repository is located in the Chlum subsyncline in Lower Devonian (Prague) Koneprusy Limestone. The rock is thickly bedded or exhibits no visible stratification. It is composed of white or light-gray, mostly organic-detrital, and occasionally reef-forming limestone. The rock is pure, with a CaCO3 content of over 96%, and is therefore in high demand as a raw material. No karst phenomena were discovered in the Alcazar mine either before or during tunnel construction.

The jointing of the rocks is at a maximum in the direction of the axis of the basin (ENE-WSW) and is less distinct in the NW-SE direction. The dip of the joints exhibits two remarkable maximum values (80°–90° and 30°–40°).

Waste

Radioactive waste was disposed of in both tunnels. The Institute of Nuclear Physics disposed of waste in tunnel A, while the Institute of Research and Development used tunnel B, which also served for the disposal of radioisotopes from other generators.

Before re-entering the two tunnels, all the available documentation concerning the disposal of the waste there was collected. It was determined, based on a conservative evaluation and subsequent radiation investigation, that there was 1 × 1011 Bq of activity in 1991, consisting mainly of 3H, and followed by 14C, 137Cs, 90Sr, and 60Co. The activity level of other radionuclides was insignificant.

BratrstvÍ Repository

Geography and History

The BratrstvÍ Repository Is Situated Close to Jachymov in Northwest Bohemia, ∼150 Km Ne of Prague. The Repository Was Located Here Because of Pre-Existing Drifts and Is Used Only For the Disposal of Radioactive Waste Containing Natural Radionuclides.

Jachymov is a historical mining district. The mining of silver ores in Jachymov began in 1516; mining activity in the Bratrství field also goes back to the sixteenth century. After 1540, mining gradually moved from Jachymov eastward toward the Bratrství area. In parallel with the development of mining, the need for mine-water drainage arose. The construction of a drainage tunnel solved this problem in the Bratrství area. This tunnel—the so-called Saxon Noblemen's Gallery—was 2.8 km long. After 1545, there was a marked decline in silver mining in Jachymov, caused by the exhaustion of the upper rich silver zone. Essentially, the silver mining period in Jachymov had ended by 1590.

The subsequent mining of cobalt ores, used for paint production, revived the mining industry in the area after 1600, and mining continued off and on until the beginning of the nineteenth century. In 1852, the mining of cobalt in the area also ended.

In the 1850s, there was a drastic worldwide increase in the price of pitchblende due to a boom in uranium paint production, which saved the Jachymov area from economic collapse. In the second half of the nineteenth century, private miners using the Saxon Noblemen's Gallery began to exploit the rich reserves of uranium ores. Subsequently, the Austro-Hungarian Empire obtained exclusive ownership of all the uranium mines in the Jachymov area. This monopoly started in 1908 with the production of radium. Exploitation of the mining tunnel ended ca. 1916. Later, deeper galleries were excavated, starting with the “Zdar Buh” blind shaft. The newly formed Czechoslovakia continued uranium mining after 1918, as did Germany during the Second World War occupation.

Following the war, Jachymov uranium ores were explored in detail, and in 1946, Jachymovske Doly (mines), a state company, was established, and three mines (Svornost, Rovnost, and the Saxon Noblemen's Gallery, renamed Bratrství) were subsequently restored. A number of new tunnels were excavated, and various abandoned workings in the Bratrství area were restored. Due to intensive mining in the Bratrství area, reserves of uranium ore neared exhaustion as early as 1958. From 1959 onward, restrictions placed on research and mining gradually came to cover the whole area, and in 1962, mining finally ceased. In the period between 1946 and 1964, 6873 t of uranium were mined from the Jachymov mining district (Pluskal, 1998). Concrete water dams built near the Svornost mine separate it from other mines in the immediate vicinity. When the land behind the dams was flooded on April 1964, the Czechoslovak spa authority in Jachymov assumed ownership with the intention of using the area for therapeutic purposes.

At the beginning of the 1970s, areas were chosen for potential radioactive waste disposal in the western part of the Bratrství mining field. Subsequently, a 385-m-long mining gallery was modified for this purpose. It had previously been used as a service tunnel for the transportation of material from the Zdar Buh blind shaft as well as from the surrounding stopes and five adjoining chambers. Modifications included the expanding of the volume and covering the floors with concrete. The resulting repository was put into operation in July 1974. The tunnel system and chambers for waste disposal are shown on Figure 3.

Figure 3.

Map of tunnels for Bratrství repository.

Figure 3.

Map of tunnels for Bratrství repository.

The facility takes up an inconsequential area of the whole Bratrství mining field: in a total area of 9.8 km2, over 80 km of tunnels and drifts were excavated at one time or another.

Geological Characteristics

The repository is situated in the Krusne Hory (Ore Mountains), forming the NW part of the Bohemian Massif. The wider surroundings of Jachymov consist of metamorphic rocks of undivided Cambrian to Ordovician rocks, comprising the Jachymov series. This series is divided from bottom to top into the Jachymov, Barbora, and Potucky Formations. Garnetmuscovite schists and quartzites form the lower part of the Jachymov Formation. Mica schist and graphite-biotite schists with intercalated carbonate rocks make up the middle part of the profile. The upper part consists of monotonous schist. The Barbora Formation consists of binary mica schist in the lower horizon and graphite-muscovite mica schist, often with a large number of amphibolites and skarn lenses, in the upper horizon. The Potucky Formation is composed of sericite and chlorite-sericite phyllites, with lenses and layers of amphibolites in the upper part of the profile. Pre-Variscan magmatism in the Krusne Hory area can be seen in metamorphic equivalents of Cadomian granitoids transformed into different types of orthogneiss. Variscan granitoids consist of a relatively complicated varied complex of granitoids in the Smrciny Massif and Karlovy Vary Massif and other small-sized bodies that penetrated during several periods over a relatively long period from ca. 340 to 290 Ma. Biotitic, often phyric granites (“mountain granites”) were formed in the older period of magmatism. Younger elements consist of autometamorphous (“Krusne Hory”) granites. Both elements are accompanied by a series of veins (aplites, lamprophyres, granite porphyries). Veins enriched in U, Ag, Bi, Ni, and Co are found in the outer contact zone of massifs formed by both facies of granite.

NW-SE and W-E are the dominant fault directions in the Jachymov area. The NE-SW direction is less frequent. The NW-SE–striking Jachymov deep fault plays an important role in the geology of the whole Bohemian Massif.

From the aspect of rock quality, rocks in the Jachymov repository area, chiefly in the Mining gallery (Fig. 3) can be divided into three geotechnical types with the following characteristics: Type 1 forms an important part of the Mining gallery. It consists of solid mica schist, the main characteristic of which is relatively high strength. The rock is gently fractured. The stability of openings in these rocks is good, with a rock quality indicator (RQD) of 62%–92% and a fair value of rock mass rating (RMR) geomechanical classification between 61 and 77 points. Type 2 is more damaged. These mainly binary mica schists have a reduced strength between 38 and 50 MPa. The fracture density is higher than that of type 1. Fractures are often filled by quartz veins and accompanied by crushing and occasionally by alteration. The RQD descends to a range of 52%–82%, and the RMR value oscillates around 53 points. The stability of a section made up of this type is semifavorable. Type 3 consists of disintegrated and altered mica schists, which, for the most part, fill in fault zones. Excavations usually have to be reinforced. This type of rock has a low strength value of 18–28 MPa and is extensively fractured, with RQD values between 20% and 32%. RMR values between 33 and 48 points indicate that the stability of openings in this type of rock is very low.

This evaluation shows that the environment in which the repository is located consists of rock of very good or good quality (geotechnical types 1 or 2). The occurrence of fault zones (type 3) does not adversely affect what is, overall, a very favorable set of conditions for long-term stability of the whole repository system. This positive evaluation is supported by long-term geotechnical monitoring. Routine geotechnical observations of the operational areas and of adjacent underground spaces since 1994 have not indicated any instability that might signal a roof-collapse risk. Occasional detachments of small flakes from non-secured walls are caused by normal rock weathering. Stability monitoring points close to the corners of pillars (points with the highest concentration of tension) have not registered any change to date (Cinka, 2003a).

The site lies on the border of seismic zones that have a Medvedev-Sponheuer-Karnik (MSK)-64 intensity between 6° and 5°. The seismictectonic situation is complicated. At a distance of 10–30 km, the Krusne Hory and Litomerice faults and the Jachymov fault line traverse an area considered kinetically and partly seismically active. The Kraslice-As-Plauen focus zone is relatively close by, and it is known for the occurrence of earthquake series with major shocks of 7° MSK-64 intensity.

The Mining gallery exhibits three particular hydrogeological phenomena:

  1. 1

    inflows from a near-surface system of joints in the introductory part of the workings (0–50 m), with a seasonally variable yield;

  2. 2

    inflows from other joints, with a relatively stable yield; and

  3. 3

    drips.

The first category of inflows is unimportant in the evaluation of the repository system because they are far distant from the disposal chambers and are conducted away from the repository system by technical means, without any risk of contamination. The drips are also of little importance. They include inflows from joints with very low yield and some condensation from humidity in the air.

Inflows of the second type are, however, important; they are stable in duration and relatively stable in yield. The most important of them lies in the Mining gallery at a distance of 365 m from the gallery mouth and is associated with a NE-SW–striking joint. Its yield was measured at weekly intervals during the course of one year, and the average yield was found to be 0.004 L s−1.

Disposed Wastes

In 2002, a safety analysis was performed at the Bratrství repository (Ipron, 2002). Consequently, in 2003, the State Office for Nuclear Safety issued a permit for its operation, valid until 2008.

Waste with a remaining activity of 8.85 × 1011 Bq is currently disposed of in the repository. The overwhelming majority of waste is packaged in 200 L drums. The barrels are galvanized and coated with anticorrosive paint. Other types of packages were used in the past, mainly galvanized 100 L drums and 50 L canisters.

General information on the Bratrství repository is summarized in Table 1

Table 1.

General Information On BratrstvÌ Repository

Operation time1974–2030?
Underground depthmin. 50 m
Total volume of repository3500 m3
Volume of chambers1080 m3
Volume of disposed waste240 m3
Total disposed activity8.85 × 1011 Bq
Maximum licensed activity1 × 1013 Bq
Operation time1974–2030?
Underground depthmin. 50 m
Total volume of repository3500 m3
Volume of chambers1080 m3
Volume of disposed waste240 m3
Total disposed activity8.85 × 1011 Bq
Maximum licensed activity1 × 1013 Bq

It is difficult to estimate the future amount of institutional waste to be disposed of at the Bratrství repository. Ipron (2002) expects that ∼800 drums will be accepted during the next 20 yr.

Richard Repository

Geography and History

The Richard repository is undoubtedly the most important disposal facility for institutional radioactive waste in the Czech Republic. It is situated near the town of Litomerice, ∼75 km north of Prague.

The repository is situated under the Bidnice Hill in a former underground limestone mine complex, consisting of three separate mines that provided raw material for the production of lime and cement. The three mines differ in age, size, and method of mining, and consist of ∼40 km of tunnels and chambers in total.

Mining started in 1850 and continued until 1943. In 1943, the site was chosen by the Germans for the construction of an underground factory for wartime production, and construction work continued into the following year. The individual mines were renamed Richard I, II, and III. If factory production ever started here, it was only minor.

Limestone mining continued from 1945 to 1959. Even as late as 1958, 2000 t of raw material was excavated. One of the reasons for closing the mine was the result of geological exploration at the time, which suggested a lack of new reserves of raw material at the site.

In 1958, the Central Geological Institute was asked to identify areas suitable for low-level waste disposal. The Richard II complex was chosen, owing to its favorable geological conditions and the amount of information on the site already available. Indeed, it was considered unnecessary to perform additional studies on suitability of the site (Myslil and Zajic, 1960).

Underground construction during 1960–1964 included the bracing of access roads with reinforced concrete frames and covering of the floors with concrete and the walls with gunite.

The Richard repository has been in use since 1964. Since then, more than 24,000 package units with an estimated total activity of 1 × 1015 Bq have been disposed of there.

Geological Characteristics

The Richard repository is situated in the NW portion of the Cretaceous Bohemian Basin. With analogous basins in Germany, Austria, and Poland, it is one of a group of shallow-sea basins located on the tectonically active border of the west-European platform in the proximity of the deep-sea Tethys.

A range of sediment-infilling events occurred in the Cretaceous Bohemian Basin from the Lower Cenomanian to the Santonian. Sediments occupy an area of 14,600 km2. Their thickness fluctuates on average between 200 and 400 m, where the highest detected thickness is 1100 m.

The Cenomanian is mostly sandstone, locally intercalated with claystone. In the Turonian and Coniacian, the sedimentation of marly rocks (locally limestone) prevailed, with some sandstone sedimentation in part of the basin. Sandstone is the only lithology in the Santonian.

The basement consists of phyllites, amphibolites, and the crystalline migmatite complex of the Oparno valley. Permian-Carboniferous limnic sediments (Stefan C–Autunien) cover the crystalline complex in the area south of the Litomerice fault.

The mine hosting the repository is located in rocks from the basal part of the Teplice Formation of the Upper Turonian to the Lower Coniacian. The underlying Jizera Formation dates from the Middle to Upper Turonian.

The thickness of the Cenomanian sandstone reaches 30–45 m in the vicinity of the repository. The Lower Turonian sandstone has an average thickness of 150 m. The thickness of the marly sediments of the Jizera Formation, which form the floor of the repository, fluctuates around 50 m. The thickness of the Teplice Formation sediments, in which the repository is situated, reaches 60 m.

The repository horizon lies in rock with a high content of CaCO3 (mined in the past) and a thickness of 4–7 m, which, according to drill-hole records, rapidly decreases eastward. This layer is termed limestone; however, rock with a concentration of CaCO3 of 90% and more is exceptional. Most rock analyses in this basal part of the Teplice Formation show a concentration of CaCO3 in the range of 65%–80%, indicating calcareous marl. Higher concentrations of CaCO3 are documented at the base.The basal layer is white-gray and contains micritic calcite, clay minerals (kaolinite, illite), and accessory glauconite. A sequence of light-gray and gray marls with a few intercalations of clayey limestone is ∼1 m thick in the hanging wall. There are, in addition, monotonous dark-gray marls with a carbonate content of 25%–35%. The marls are sandy to silty. The beds of both these formations dip 5° to the east in the vicinity of the repository.

The tectonic structure of the vicinity of the Richard repository is dominated by the deep Litomerice fault. The fault strikes NE-SW and was detected by geophysical methods. It is possible to infer from drilling that the SE block was downthrown ∼80 m along this line. Fault lines parallel to the Litomerice and further NNW-SSE–striking lines have been found in the vicinity of the repository. The underground fracture systems form a roughly rectangular network. They are subvertical, with an orientation of 190°–200° and 270°–300°. The fractures are closed and locally healed by calcite.

Maximum detected earthquake intensities typically reached 3° and 4° on the MSK-64 scale during the period 1590–1986. The exception was a 1963 earthquake (epicenter in Austria) with an intensity of 4°–5°. This earthquake intensity, however, is still below the prescribed criterion.

The hydrological regime is dominated by two aquifers (Lower Turonian and Cenomanian) that have different hydraulic characteristics (locally free and confined groundwater levels). The groundwater level in the area surrounding the repository is 180–187 m above sea level, i.e., 70 m below repository level. A locally saturated zone has been detected in the lower part of the Middle Turonian marl in the area of the repository. A marl complex of Middle Turonian–Coniacian age in the unsaturated zone with a filtration coefficient of 10−6–10−12 ms−1 forms the footwall, and the hanging wall is composed of clayey limestone. It has minimum permeability and, therefore, suitable properties for isolation.

Long-term monitoring of excavation stability is standard procedure throughout the repository. Among the basic parameters affecting the long-term stability of the open underground excavation are the thickness of the hanging wall and the height of the disturbed zone that forms a natural rock arch above each chamber. Numerous observations of the extent of the disturbed zone above the gallery, made in 2002 during the performance of safety analysis studies of the site, have shown that the height of the disturbed zone does not exceed 5 m. The rock is not affected by open excavations in this zone because it forms a natural self-supporting arch.

Geotechnical monitoring instruments were placed in selected exposed zones in 1992 and 1993 to gather information on rock behavior and to detect actual deformation. Zones were selected not only in the repository but also in its close vicinity. Periodic monitoring has been carried out since 1993. Table 2 gives a brief overview of geotechnical monitoring methods.

Table 2.

List Of Monitoring Methods

Method usedNumber of profilesBrief description of method
Convergence measuring7Repeated measurement of distance among the fixed points, using meter INTERFELS type KM15
Pressure pads2Monitoring of massif pressure on concrete frames, using meter GLÖTZL B 10/20 QM 200
Inclinometry2 pointsRepeated measurement of dip of reference plate, using meter SINCO type 50344
Dilatometry4Monitoring of movement of large fractures
Method usedNumber of profilesBrief description of method
Convergence measuring7Repeated measurement of distance among the fixed points, using meter INTERFELS type KM15
Pressure pads2Monitoring of massif pressure on concrete frames, using meter GLÖTZL B 10/20 QM 200
Inclinometry2 pointsRepeated measurement of dip of reference plate, using meter SINCO type 50344
Dilatometry4Monitoring of movement of large fractures

The results of ten years of stability monitoring are favorable (Cinka, 2003b). In summary:

  1. 1

    Since the development of potential stress redistribution in the rocks surrounding the excavations, the rock mass has been in a balanced state for a long time.

  2. 2

    Repository excavations are stable and for the most part not subject to deformation or other changes. The repository has an appropriate level of safety and is in very good condition.

  3. 3

    A few of the detected deformations are caused by swelling of the clay in the marl that constitutes the gallery floor. Such deformations are evident mainly outside the repository rooms where the gallery floors have no functional drainage.

Wastes

A safety analysis of the repository was conducted in 2002 (Aquatest, 2002). Based on it, the State Office for Nuclear Safety issued an operating permit valid from 2003 until 2008. General information concerning the Richard repository is summarized in Table 3.

Table 3.

General Information On Richard Repository

Operation time1964–2070?
Underground depth40–66 m
Total volume of repository17,050 m3
Volume of galleries8652 m3
Volume of filled chambers5096 m3
Volume of free chambers3302 m3
Number of disposed package units>24,000
Total disposed activity1 × 1015 Bq
Maximum licensed activity1 × 1018 Bq
Operation time1964–2070?
Underground depth40–66 m
Total volume of repository17,050 m3
Volume of galleries8652 m3
Volume of filled chambers5096 m3
Volume of free chambers3302 m3
Number of disposed package units>24,000
Total disposed activity1 × 1015 Bq
Maximum licensed activity1 × 1018 Bq

The Richard repository is prohibited from accepting radioactive waste created by mining, the manufacture of radioactive material, and by work with uranium, thorium, radium, and their transformation products.

Currently, the Richard repository contains waste with a remaining activity of 1 × 1015 Bq. The overwhelming majority of waste is packaged in 200 L drums that are galvanized or coated with anticorrosive asphalt paint. Other packages consist mainly of galvanized 100 L drums or 50 L canisters.

The free space in the chambers of the Richard repository is ∼3300 m3. The annual disposal rate is ∼60 m3, i.e., the space in the chambers will be sufficient for a long time. Moreover, after the chambers have been filled, is will be possible to use some part of the galleries for disposal. Another possibility will be to extend the repository and create up to 9740 m3 of additional disposal space. This is visible on Figure 4.

Figure 4.

Map of tunnels for Richard repository.

Figure 4.

Map of tunnels for Richard repository.

Conclusion

The disposal of low- and medium-level waste in rock chambers in the Czech Republic is assured in the long term. New safety analyses are currently under way at both the Bratrství and Richard repositories. The State Office for Nuclear Safety has issued permits for the operation of both repositories until 2008. There is no practical reason why both permits should not be extended because both repositories fulfill all the requirements for nuclear safety.

Neither repository has an immediate capacity problem; indeed, the Richard repository has significant potential for long-term expansion.

Although outside the scope of this study, a final point is worth mentioning: the constructive cooperation of community and administrative authorities at the local and county level vis-à-vis both repositories has been a decisive positive factor that should not be underestimated when dealing with radioactive waste.

References Cited

Aquatest
,
2002
,
Safety Analysis of Richard Repository
 :
Prague
,
RAWRA (Radioactive Waste Repository Authority)
.
193
p (
in Czech
).
Cinka
,
J.
2003a
,
Geotechnical Monitoring of Bratrství Repository in the Year 2002
 :
Prague
,
RAWRA (Radioactive Waste Repository Authority)
.
14
p (
in Czech
).
Cinka
,
J.
2003b
,
Geotechnical Monitoring of Richard Repository in the Year 2002
 :
Prague
RAWRA (Radioactive Waste Repository Authority)
.
15
p (
in Czech
).
Ipron
,
2002
,
Safety Analysis of Bratrství Repository
 :
Prague
,
RAWRA (Radioactive Waste Repository Authority)
.
226
p (
in Czech
).
Ministry of Industry and Trade
,
2002
,
The Concept of Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel Management in the Czech Republic
 :
Prague
,
Ministry of Industry and Trade
.
28
p.
Myslil
,
V.
Zajic
,
J.
1960
,
Geotechnical Exploration of Radioactive Waste Repository
 :
Prague, Geofond Praha
.
52
p (
in Czech
).
Pluskal
,
O.
1998
,
The Post-War History of Czechoslovak Uranium from Jachymov
:
Czech Geological Survey Special Paper 9.
 
48
p.

Figures & Tables

Figure 1.

Geographical position of the repositories in rock caverns.

Figure 1.

Geographical position of the repositories in rock caverns.

Figure 2.

Map of tunnels for Alcazar repository.

Figure 2.

Map of tunnels for Alcazar repository.

Figure 3.

Map of tunnels for Bratrství repository.

Figure 3.

Map of tunnels for Bratrství repository.

Figure 4.

Map of tunnels for Richard repository.

Figure 4.

Map of tunnels for Richard repository.

Table 1.

General Information On BratrstvÌ Repository

Operation time1974–2030?
Underground depthmin. 50 m
Total volume of repository3500 m3
Volume of chambers1080 m3
Volume of disposed waste240 m3
Total disposed activity8.85 × 1011 Bq
Maximum licensed activity1 × 1013 Bq
Operation time1974–2030?
Underground depthmin. 50 m
Total volume of repository3500 m3
Volume of chambers1080 m3
Volume of disposed waste240 m3
Total disposed activity8.85 × 1011 Bq
Maximum licensed activity1 × 1013 Bq
Table 2.

List Of Monitoring Methods

Method usedNumber of profilesBrief description of method
Convergence measuring7Repeated measurement of distance among the fixed points, using meter INTERFELS type KM15
Pressure pads2Monitoring of massif pressure on concrete frames, using meter GLÖTZL B 10/20 QM 200
Inclinometry2 pointsRepeated measurement of dip of reference plate, using meter SINCO type 50344
Dilatometry4Monitoring of movement of large fractures
Method usedNumber of profilesBrief description of method
Convergence measuring7Repeated measurement of distance among the fixed points, using meter INTERFELS type KM15
Pressure pads2Monitoring of massif pressure on concrete frames, using meter GLÖTZL B 10/20 QM 200
Inclinometry2 pointsRepeated measurement of dip of reference plate, using meter SINCO type 50344
Dilatometry4Monitoring of movement of large fractures
Table 3.

General Information On Richard Repository

Operation time1964–2070?
Underground depth40–66 m
Total volume of repository17,050 m3
Volume of galleries8652 m3
Volume of filled chambers5096 m3
Volume of free chambers3302 m3
Number of disposed package units>24,000
Total disposed activity1 × 1015 Bq
Maximum licensed activity1 × 1018 Bq
Operation time1964–2070?
Underground depth40–66 m
Total volume of repository17,050 m3
Volume of galleries8652 m3
Volume of filled chambers5096 m3
Volume of free chambers3302 m3
Number of disposed package units>24,000
Total disposed activity1 × 1015 Bq
Maximum licensed activity1 × 1018 Bq

Contents

References

References Cited

Aquatest
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Safety Analysis of Richard Repository
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Ministry of Industry and Trade
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Pluskal
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