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Processing and disposal of radioactive wastes (RW)

At the specialized enterprises of the state association UkrDO "Radon" (specialized groups of enterprises in Kyiv, Donetsk, Odesa, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Lviv) radioactive wastes are generated from the use of SIR. In 1998 these enterprises received for disposal and conservation almost 3 times more solid RW than in 1997, and sources of ionizing radiation in bioprotection were formed by more than half the mass of all RW.

According to the requirements of normative documents in force, it is necessary to bury SIR mainly in specialized repositories by way of unloading uncontainerized sources. The existing practice of burying SIR in protective containers in the repositories for solid RW, as well the as absence of technologies for RW conversion leads to a quick filling of repositories.

The problem of processing used SIR should be resolved by the introduction of "Special complex for the temporary conservation of used SIR" at Kharkiv specialized group of enterprises. The draft of the specified complex has received a positive evaluation of the expert operation of nuclear and radioactive safety.

Processing of fluid RW is still a problem. The term of conservation of RW must not exceed three years. At present the installation for the conversion of fluid RW by the method of cementing is used at the Kharkiv specialized group of enterprises only.

Radioactive wastes of NPSs consist of solid and fluid RW. Fluid RW are chiefly generated from trapped waters, unorganized proceeding of the first outline, and regenerative waters of  specialized water cleaning. Solid RW are generated during   technical service and repairs of  energy units, and during decontamination.

At some Ukrainian NPSs filling of repositories of RW is approaching a critical level. If situation will not be changed, in the next few years the problem of these NPSs exploitation can appear due to overfilling the volumes of the repositories. The State inventory of RW, which is planned for 1999, will supplement and make more exact the information about accumulation of RW and filling of repositories, and it will make possible a more detailed analysis of the situation of the handling of RW at NPSs of Ukraine.

Generalizing the state of processing RW at Ukrainian NPSs in 1998, it is possible to draw the conclusion that at present practice does not correspond to the level which is reached by developed countries and reflected in publications of the IAEA due to the following reasons:

    Economic incentives for reducing amounts of generated RW, and conversion in order to reduce volumes, are absent;

    Modern technologies and equipment for the conversion of RW are absent, which leads to accumulation of too large volumes;

    Activity of fluid RW at Ukrainian NPS (more than 90 %) is related to radioisotopes Cs137, and partly radioisotopes Cs134, Co60, Mn54; isotope composition of solid RW is not measured at all stations;

    Organizing measures and administrative control of their realization in connection with preliminary sorting of solid RW where they are generated, have not been implemented, in consequence of which there are increased expenses at the following stages of conversions;

    Uncontainerized, without conditioning conservation of solid RW ("in bulk").

During recent years at all stations the work to implement the measures, provided by accepted programmes of processing of RW, have begun. Implementation of scheduled measures will cause a reduction of the annual receipt by 5-10% for fluid and by 3-7% for solid RW.

Filling of the designed volumes of the repositories is expected in 2000-2001. For complex resolving of the problems of safe RW processing in estranging Zone, construction and introduction to the exploitation of the special complex ("Vector") for decontamination, transporting, processing and burying of RW from territories, polluted in consequence of accident at Chernobylska NPS, has been planed.


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