chapter  16
36 Pages

Waste Disposal

Transuranic Waste, High-Level Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel, and Low-Level Radioactive Waste
WithKenneth D. Kok, Joseph Heckman, Murthy Devarakonda

Nuclear waste management is a complex and contentious issue. Classes of radioactive materials for which permanent disposal are a substantial challenge include transuranic wastes and high-level wastes and spent nuclear fuel. The process of determining a permanent disposal solution involves social, political, economic, and technical issues that compete and coalesce to determine the specific end state. To ensure the protection of the health and safety of the public and the environment, a permanent disposal option for these wastes requires isolation for several thousand years, with a reasonable degree of predictive certainty as to the performance of the option during this multigenerational timeframe. The repository disposal areas excavated in the salt beds of the formation are referred to as “panels” and “rooms.” The time-scale framework for nuclear waste disposal projects is unparalleled. The technical basis for the program must continue to be evaluated and preserved during the multigenerational time frame as the composition of the administrators, technical experts, and public change.