Reference Design Description for a Geologic Repository

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One of the current major national environmental problems is the safe disposal of large quantities of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste materials, which are rapidly accumulating throughout the country. These radioactive byproducts are generated as the result of national defense activities and from the generation of electricity by commercial nuclear power plants. At present, spent nuclear fuel is accumulating at over 70 power plant sites distributed throughout 33 states. The safe disposal of these high-level radioactive materials at a central disposal facility is a high national priority. This Reference Design Description explains the current design for a potential ... continued below

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Creator: Unknown. October 7, 2000.

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Description

One of the current major national environmental problems is the safe disposal of large quantities of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste materials, which are rapidly accumulating throughout the country. These radioactive byproducts are generated as the result of national defense activities and from the generation of electricity by commercial nuclear power plants. At present, spent nuclear fuel is accumulating at over 70 power plant sites distributed throughout 33 states. The safe disposal of these high-level radioactive materials at a central disposal facility is a high national priority. This Reference Design Description explains the current design for a potential geologic repository that may be located at Yucca Mountain in Nevada for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste materials. This document describes a possible design for the three fundamental parts of a repository: a surface facility, subsurface repository, and waste packaging. It also presents the current conceptual design of the key engineering systems for the final four phases of repository processes: operations, monitoring, closure, and postclosure. In accordance with current law, this design does not include an interim storage option. In addition, this Reference Design Description reviews the expected long-term performance of the potential repository. It describes the natural barrier system which, together with the engineered systems, achieves the repository objectives. This design will protect the public and the environment by allowing the safe disposal of radioactive waste received from government-owned custodial spent fuel sites, high-level radioactive waste sites, and commercial power reactor sites. All design elements meet or exceed applicable regulations governing the disposal of high-level radioactive waste. The design will provide safe disposal of waste materials for at least a 10,000 year period. During this time interval, natural radioactive decay of the waste materials will result in fission products that pose a minimal radiological hazard to the public afterward. For example, after 100 years, the relative hazard from the waste fission products will have diminished approximately 90 percent. After 1,000 years, the hazard will have diminished 99 percent, and after 10,000 years it will have diminished 99.9 percent. The resulting radiological hazard after 10,000 years is minimal, being of the same order of magnitude as that posed by 0.2 percent uranium ore, which is equivalent to that which was used to originally produce the nuclear fuel. Because developing such a repository is extremely complex, the design will move forward in three stages: Site Recommendation, License Application, and Construction. This document presents the design as it will be submitted in the Site Recommendation Consideration Report; the design will be updated as the design process moves forward. As more cost-effective solutions, technical advancements, or changes to requirements occur, the design may evolve. The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management is developing a system that includes this potential repository. This waste management system integrates acceptance, transportation, storage, and disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Acceptance and transportation will be handled by regional servicing contractors under contract to the DOE. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will conduct an in-depth and thorough licensing review to determine the acceptability of the proposed waste management system. Eight sections of this document follow. Section 2 discusses the design requirements for the proposed repository. Section 3 describes the physical layout of the proposed repository. Section 4 describes the evolutionary phases of the development of the proposed repository. Section 5 describes the receipt of waste. Section 6 details the various systems that will package the waste and move it below ground, as well as safety monitoring and closure. Section 7 describes the systems (natural and engineered) that ensure continued safety after closure. Section 8 offers design options that may be adopted in the future, and Section 9 provides a summary statement on the repository.

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  • Report No.: TDR-MGR-SE-000008, REV 03, ICN 1
  • Grant Number: NA
  • DOI: 10.2172/840678 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 840678
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc785500

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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Creation Date

  • October 7, 2000

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Feb. 11, 2016, 12:09 p.m.

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Reference Design Description for a Geologic Repository, report, October 7, 2000; Las Vegas, Nevada. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc785500/: accessed November 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.