Specialists of SAUEZM and NAS work on the issue of creating a geological repository for radioactive waste (RW)
During the constituent meeting of the interdepartmental scientific-methodical council «Geological problems of isolation of radioactive and other hazardous wastes in the subsoil», the specialists discussed the world’s experience in the disposal of radioactive waste in geological repositories and the state of affairs related to the creation of such repositories in Ukraine.
«Ukraine is in the 4th place in the world in terms of high and intermediate-level radioactive waste amount, so the problem of their disposal is very relevant. The creation of a geological repository is foreseen by Ukrainian legislation, but it is a complex and long-lasting process that requires the coordinated work of specialists from different fields», – Liubov Zinkevych, Head of the Chornobyl NPP Decommissioning and Radioactive Waste Management Department, said.
As Viacheslav Shestopalov, the academician of the National Academy of Sciences explained, geological storage facilities are intended for the disposal of nuclear fuel, highly active products for the processing of spent nuclear fuel and long-lived RW (for example, those formed after the Chornobyl accident). In our time this is the only economically justifiable and correct in relation to future generations option to provide the necessary protection.
The first and most difficult task for scientists in the process of creating a geological repository is to select and study the location for the repository. This process is multistage and lasts for several decades: it will take up to 30-40 years for proper funding and organization of search-intelligence and research works.
According to the results of previous studies by specialists of the National Academy of Sciences, SAUEZM and the State Service for Geology and Subsoil, the geological storage of radioactive wastes may be located in the Exclusion Zone in crystalline rocks located in the southern and southwest parts of it. The Exclusion Zone has several advantages as a platform for such a repository, in particular, it is here that the main volumes of Ukrainian RW are located, so their transportation will be as short as possible and with less risks. In addition, there is no population living here, which also simplifies the procedure for transportation and disposal of radioactive waste, and the presence of a thick layer of sedimentary rocks (clay) positively affects the protective properties of the storage.