Date: March 1977
Creator: Trevorrow, L. E.; Warner, D. L. & Steindler, M. J.
Description: Present concepts of disposal of low-level aqueous wastes (LLAW) that contain much of the fission-product tritium from light water reactors involve dispersal to the atmosphere or to surface streams at fuel reprocessing plants. These concepts have been challenged in recent years. Deep-well injection of low-level aqueous wastes, an alternative to biospheric dispersal, is the subject of this presentation. Many factors must be considered in assessing its feasibility, including technology, costs, environmental impact, legal and regulatory constraints, and siting. Examination of these factors indicates that the technology of deep-well injection, extensively developed for other industrial wastes, would require little innovation before application to low-level aqueous wastes. Costs would be low, of the order of magnitude of 10⁻⁴ mill/kWh. The environmental impact of normal deep-well disposal would be small, compared with dispersal to the atmosphere or to surface streams; abnormal operation would not be expected to produce catastrophic results. Geologically suitable sites are abundant in the U.S., but a well would best be co-located with the fuel-reprocessing plant where the LLAW is produced. Legal and regulatory constraints now being developed will be the most important determinants of the feasibility of applying the method.
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