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Title: Radioactive Waste Management and Environmental Contamination Issues at the Chernobyl Site

The destruction of the Unit 4 reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant resulted in the generation of radioactive contamination and radioactive waste at the site and in the surrounding area (referred to as the Exclusion Zone). In the course of remediation activities, large volumes of radioactive waste were generated and placed in temporary near surface waste-storage and disposal facilities. Trench and landfill type facilities were created from 1986 to 1987 in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone at distances 0.5 to 15 km from the NPP site. This large number of facilities was established without proper design documentation, engineered barriers, or hydrogeological investigations and they do not meet contemporary waste-safety requirements. Immediately following the accident, a Shelter was constructed over the destroyed reactor; in addition to uncertainties in stability at the time of its construction, structural elements of the Shelter have degraded as a result of corrosion. The main potential hazard of the Shelter is a possible collapse of its top structures and release of radioactive dust into the environment. A New Safe Confinement (NSC) with a 100-years service life is planned to be built as a cover over the existing Shelter as a longer-term solution. The construction of the NSCmore » will enable the dismantlement of the current Shelter, removal of highly radioactive, fuel-containing materials from Unit 4, and eventual decommissioning of the damaged reactor. More radioactive waste will be generated during NSC construction, possible Shelter dismantling, removal of fuel containing materials, and decommissioning of Unit 4. The future development of the Exclusion Zone depends on the future strategy for converting Unit 4 into an ecologically safe system, i.e., the development of the NSC, the dismantlement of the current Shelter, removal of fuel containing material, and eventual decommissioning of the accident site. To date, a broadly accepted strategy for radioactive waste management at the reactor site and in the Exclusion Zone, and especially for high-level and long-lived waste, has not been developed.« less
Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
920527
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-51017
Journal ID: ISSN 0017-9078; HLTPAO; TRN: US0805490
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Health Physics, 93(5):441-451; Journal Volume: 93; Journal Issue: 5
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; 21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; ACCIDENTS; CONFINEMENT; CONSTRUCTION; CONTAMINATION; CORROSION; DECOMMISSIONING; DESIGN; DOCUMENTATION; DUSTS; NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS; RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT; RADIOACTIVE WASTES; REACTOR SITES; REMOVAL; SANITARY LANDFILLS; SERVICE LIFE; SHELTERS; STABILITY; WASTE STORAGE Chernobyl; waste management; Shelter; New Safe Confinement