Preferred Concepts for Disposal of the UK Inventory of Depleted, Natural and Low Enriched Uranium
Daniel Galson, Fiona Neall, Liz Harvey, Galson Sciences Ltd, UK
Lucy Bailey, Radioactive Waste Management, UK
Depleted, natural and low enriched uranium (DNLEU) forms a significant quantity of the UK inventory of higher activity radioactive materials. The great majority comprises uranic materials produced from uranium enrichment operations and from reprocessing of spent nuclear fuels. The most recent estimate of the total quantity (stocks plus arisings) of UK-owned DNLEU from civil nuclear operations is 170,000 tU. Current UK Government strategy is for DNLEU to be stored indefinitely in existing or new facilities, as required. However, Government strategy for long-term management of uranic materials is under review and a change could potentially cause this material to be reclassified as a waste.
An Integrated Project Team (IPT) was formed in 2012 with the objective of identifying and addressing the issues associated with the potential need to dispose of DNLEU, in order to inform wider decision-making on the long-term management of UK DNLEU. Key technical issues considered by the IPT relate to the following:
- The need for an improved understanding of the UK DNLEU inventory.
- The identification of preferred chemical and physical form(s), and preferred packaging and disposal concepts for DNLEU - the main subject of this paper.
- The approach to safety assessment of DNLEU disposal.
This paper summarises the disposal concepts under consideration by the IPT, and the rationale for identification of preferred concepts for disposal of DNLEU inventory components. The conclusions will be of interest to other programmes and countries with a requirement to manage large quantities of similar materials.
WMS Journal Volume 2, Issue 2