How Much Must the Geologic Barrier Contribute to Safe HLW Disposal?

by C. McCombie, Nagra, Baden, Switzerland,
I. G. McKinley, Nagra, Baden, Switzerland,
P. Zuidema, Nagra, Baden, Switzerland,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1991


As a prerequisite of a potential repository site, it is important to assess the role of each system component in providing safety and, in particular, to establish the specific geological properties which are essential for ensuring adequate long-term performance of the system. For high-level waste (HLW) disposal concepts, it is feasible by appropriate near-field design, i.e. by involving robust engineered barriers, to reduce requirements on the site geology to levels which may ease problems of site selection and of site characterisation. This approach may simplify licensing procedures which lay emphasis upon demonstrating that threshold safety limits can be met. If more realistic assessments indicate that the geological barrier can provide better performance than that resulting from fulfilment of minimum site requirements, then this redundancy is a valuable feature of a disposal concept based on multiple safety barriers.

Subject Headings: Waste sites | Geology | Safety | Highway barriers | Radioactive wastes | Waste disposal | Underground storage | Licensure and certification

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