Article Details

Article Title

Update on Construction Planning for the Bulgarian Low and Short-Lived Intermediate Level Radioactive Waste Repository


Gerald Nieder-Westermann*, Thilo Von Berlepsch*, Emiliano Gonzalez Herranz**, Mariano Navarro***, Marin Jordanov****, Ira Stefanova*****

* DBE Technology GmbH

** Westinghouse Electric Spain SAR


**** EQE Bulgaria AD

***** SERAW


The Bulgarian State Enterprise for Radioactive Waste Management (SERAW) is planning the construction of a near-surface repository for low and short-lived inter-mediate level radioactive waste, the National Disposal Facility (NDF), at the Radiana Site adjacent to the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP). This paper presents an update on construction planning activities that were originally presented at the 2015 Waste Management Conference.

The Site, a rectangular area approximately 1.2 km east-west by 0.4 north-south, is located on a slopping area between the second and sixth loess terraces above the River Danube with elevations ranging from approximately +40 m to elevation +95 m. Construction of the NDF will be divided into three phases separated by approximately 20 years each. The first phase will see the construction of the primary support facilities, referred to as the Auxiliary Buildings and including the Waste Reception and Buffer Storage (WRBS) Building, and the first set of 22 reinforced concrete disposal cells and supporting infrastructure, including a network of subsurface observation galleries, the Infiltration Network Control (ICN) Galleries. Each disposal cell will be 20.15 m long by 17.05 m wide by 9.45 m in height. The disposal cells will be arranged in two parallel rows. Disposal activities will be conducted using overhead cranes installed inside of track mounted mobile roofs. Each row of disposal cells will be serviced by one mobile roof. The mobile roofs will be supported by massive concrete foundations.

Construction at the site will present several logistical challenges that will need to be overcome to fully realize the NDF. First in order to begin construction of these facilities nearly 1 million m³ of soil will require excavation and handling. Consistent with requirements to minimize potential environmental impacts identified in the site Environmental Safety Assessment (EIA) excavated soil will, to the extent possible, remain onsite. Approximately three quarters of the soil can be accommodated within the site boundaries.

Another challenge results from requirements imposed by the ground conditions. The subgrade at the site, which consists primarily of loess, will require considerable improvement. To this end a 5 m thick loess-cement cushion will be constructed across much of the site. Specifically, the cushion will be required beneath the disposal cells and the WRBS Building. The cushion beneath the disposal cells also contains embedded structures, including the ICN Galleries as well as the massive concrete foundation beams required for the two mobile roofs. Construction of these structures will require planned interruptions in the construction of the loess-cement cushion. Specific cement types and strict quality requirements will be required for completion of the loess-cement cushion as well as for the completion of the ICN Galleries.

The construction planning will need to account for the large volumes of soil to be excavated as well as ensuring sufficient material supplies in terms of both quality as well as quantity. Large quantities of materials including both dry cement for mixing with the loess, and wet concrete for pouring of the mobile roof foundations are ac-counted for by the plan. However, even after completion of these activities additional challenges are addressed by the plan related to the contemporaneous construction management of the auxiliary buildings and the disposal cells.


WM Symposia


WMS Journal Volume 2, Issue 2

Publication Date

January 2017

Document Type

Conference Paper