Radioactive Waste Management

Today in accordance with the National Decommissioning Program activity related to radioactive waste (hereinafter: RAW) management is crucial in terms of the Chornobyl NPP decommissioning and Shelter Object transformation safety.

Basic information: Project to transform the Shelter Object into an environmentally safe system

All ChNPP RAW are divided into 2 types:
1. RAW from normal operation — formed as a result of Power Units operation processes
2. Accident RAW — formed as a result of the accident occurred in1986 and its elimination (including Shelter object waste)

By origin RAW is classified as:
1. Accumulated liquid and solid radioactive waste, located in the available on-site storage facilities
2. Operational liquid and solid radioactive waste to be generated during maintenance of equipment left in operation at ChNPP Units in safe condition
3. Shelter Object’s liquid and solid radioactive waste
4. Liquid and solid radwaste to be generate during decommissioning work (in particular, operation of Radioactive Waste Management Facilities)
5. Solid radioactive waste to be generated during the Shelter Object transformation into ecologically safe system

All types of radioactive waste in terms of activity are present at the Chornobyl NPP: Low-Level, Intermediate-Level and High-Level Waste. This circumstance complicates significantly the waste management, since the entire management infrastructure should be able to characterize RAW in terms of its activity and be adapted to manage highly active materials.

The forecasted radioactive waste volume from the Chornobyl NPP Power Units decommissioning and Shelter Object transformation into environmentally safe system is 177,255 m3, which is approximately equal to 70 "Olympic" pools. Fraction of Liquid Radioactive Waste is 36,148 m3 and solid — 141,107 m3.

The Chornobyl NPP in its activities on radioactive waste management is guided by the principle of radioactive materials and radioactively contaminated areas minimization. Practice to maximize materials decontamination and their reuse is applied to implement this principle.

Today the creation of the Integrated Radioactive Waste Management System meeting ChNPP conditions is one of the urgent tasks of the enterprise.

The Chornobyl NPP possessed a radwaste management system intended for the operating Nuclear Power Plant. Now it is being transformed into a system for RAW management from decommissioning. For the first time the strategy for the Integrated RAW management system creation at the ChNPP site was laid down in 1996 in the ChNPP Decommissioning Plan developed in the framework of TACIS program. The document identifies the list and main characteristics of the facilities which should be constructed at the NPP site to ensure the Power Units decommissioning and radioactive waste management: a facility for liquid radioactive waste collection, transportation and cementation; a facility for solid waste collection and processing and a place for their disposal.

At the moment the following basic Radioactive Waste Management Facilities are available at Chornobyl NPP site:
1. Liquid Radioactive Waste Treatment Plant (LRTP)
2. Industrial Complex for Solid Radioactive Waste Management (ICSRM)
3. Complex for Manufacturing Metal Drums and Reinforced Concrete Containers for the ChNPP Radioactive Waste storage (CMD&C)

All liquid radioactive waste is treated at the Liquid Radioactive Waste Treatment Plant. Here it pass the curing (immobilization) procedure and is transformed into a cement mixture. The mixture is packed in 200-liter drums, in turns, 4 drums are packed into a reinforced concrete container. A container with treated liquid radioactive waste is sent for disposal to the Engineered Near-Surface Disposal Facility for Solid Radioactive Waste located at the Industrial Complex "Vector".

The solid radioactive waste at the Chornobyl NPP is processed at the Industrial Complex for Solid Radioactive Waste Management. After processing, the waste is stored at temporary storage sites or transported to the Radioactive Waste Disposal Site "Buryakivka".

Now, 22645 m3 of radioactive waste has accumulated in the Chornobyl NPP’s Storage Facilities, which is approximately equal to the volume of 9 "Olympic" pools.

Of these, liquid radwaste is 20,133 m3. Solid radioactive waste is located in: 
● Solid Waste Storage Facility: 2,502 m
● Open Storage Facility for Solid High-Level Waste: 8 m3
● Liquid and Solid Waste Storage Facility: 2 m3