Press Release 09 November 2009
Our Radioactive Waste Management Directorate (RWMD) has produced two summary reports on the disposability of higher activity solid radioactive wastes and spent fuel that would be generated by reactors in a new nuclear build programme.
The documents meet requirements set out in the 2008 White Paper on Nuclear Power which established the process of Generic Design Assessment (GDA), whereby industry-preferred designs for new nuclear power stations would be assessed by regulators in a pre-licensing process.
In order to assess whether the wastes and spent fuel from new reactor types would be suitable for disposal in a Geological Disposal Facility, the companies involved in Generic Design Assessment contracted NDA to undertake the assessments.
The summary reports are for:
- the UK EPR proposed by EdF and AREVA as a co-requesting party;
- the AP1000 proposed by Westinghouse Electric Company LLC.
We have concluded that, compared with legacy wastes and existing spent fuel, no new issues arise that challenge the fundamental disposability of the wastes and spent fuel expected to arise from operation of both designs of reactor. This conclusion is supported by the similarity of the wastes to those expected to arise from the existing PWR at Sizewell B. Given a disposal site with suitable characteristics, the wastes and spent fuel from the UK EPR and AP1000 are expected to be disposable.
These reports will now be used by EdF/AREVA and Westinghouse in support of their interactions with regulators under the GDA process. We anticipate that future interaction with nuclear power plant operators will be required as specific waste and spent fuel management arrangements are developed.