Production of radioactive waste
The radioactive waste is generated:
- during the production of electricity from nuclear fuel
- as a result of activities related to electricity production from nuclear fuel
- during decommissioning of nuclear installations
The law No. 541/2004 Coll. on peaceful use of nuclear energy (Atomic Act) defines the radioactive waste (RAW) as any materials in gaseous, liquid or solid form for which no further use is foreseen, and that contains or is contaminated by radionuclides at concentration or activities greater than clearance levels into the environment.
So called institutional RAW that is generated while using sources of radioactive radiation in the areas of industry, health services, research (IRAW) is the special group of RAW.
Quantity and activity of generated RAW has to be kept by means of technical and organizational provisions by its generator at the lowest possible achievable level according to the legal rules in force. The programme of minimization of RAW generation, which is regularly evaluated is a part of quality documentation of each nuclear installation. Inter annual trend of RAW generation has a long term decreasing tendency.
The appropriate consideration has been devoted to the RAW by means of requirements to the system of its management from the protection of public health and environment protection point of view.
From the view of protection of health of people and the environmental protection, RAW gets adequate attention through requirements for RAW management.
Management of radioactive waste
Requirements related to management of RAW are defined in the Atomic Act and in the Decree of UJD SR No. 30/2012 Coll. Under the term of RAW management the integrated system covering collection, sorting, storage, treatment, conditioning, handling and disposal of RAW from nuclear installations as well as conditioning and disposal of IRAW is understand.
UJD SR executes the state supervision upon the nuclear safety during all stages of RAW management from nuclear installations and also during the final stages of IRAW management.
Present strategy of RAW management is based on following steps:
- conditioning of RAW into the form suitable for disposal or long term storage,
- disposal of low and intermediate radioactive RAW to the surface repository and long term storage of RAW which is unacceptable for surface repository,
- research and development of deep repository for disposal of RAW which is unacceptable for surface repository
This strategy is in compliance with international Joint Convention on safety of spent nuclear fuel management and on safety of management of RAW, which the Slovak Republic ratified as one of the first IAEA member states by the end of September 1998 and it is a part of regularly submitted national report.
All activities during RAW management shall be directed towards safe disposal thereof. Centralized facilities for treatment and conditioning of RAW into the form appropriate for its disposal to repository, so called fibre reinforced concrete container, are available at both sites. RAW is treated by incineration, super-compaction, fixation into the concrete, glass, bitumen, paraffin and geopolymere matrices. Storage of RAW represents the important role between the RAW generation and individual steps of its management.