Radioactive trash production from Hinkley nuclear project

nuClear News No 82 Feb 16 The Impact of a New Reactor Programme on the UK’s Radioactive Waste Inventory The proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station would produce radioactive wastes and spent fuel with a radioactivity inventory equal to roughly 80% of the radioactivity in all of the UK’s existing radioactive wastes put together.

The nuclear industry and government have repeatedly said the volume of nuclear waste produced by new reactors will be small, approximately 10% of the volume of existing wastes; implying this additional amount will not make a significant difference to finding an underground dump for the wastes the UK’s nuclear industry has already created. The use of volume as a measure of the impact of radioactive waste is, however, highly misleading. (1)
Volume is not the best measure to use to assess the likely impact of wastes and spent fuel from a new reactor programme, in terms of its management and disposal. New reactors will use socalled ‘high burn-up fuel’ which will be much more radioactive than the spent fuel produced by existing reactors. So rather than using volume as a yardstick, the amount of radioactivity in the waste – and the space required in a deep geological repository to deal with it – are more appropriate ways of measuring the impact of nuclear waste from new reactors.
New Reactor Programme to Quadruple Radioactive Waste Inventory In 2006 the Government’s advisory committee – the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) estimated that a programme of ten new AP1000 reactors would add an amount of radioactivity, to that already held in all nuclear wastes, of 265% – a tripling the inventory of radioactivity. (2)
The latest figures from Radioactive Waste Management Ltd published in July 2015 suggest that waste from the proposed 16GW new reactor programme will be more than quadruple the inventory of radioactivity in the 2010 inventory. (3) The 3.2GW Hinkley Point C project alone would increase the inventory by about 80%; the vast majority of which would be in the intensely hot and radioactive spent fuel.
Another way of looking at the impact of radioactive waste produced by new reactors was presented by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership (WCMRSP) in August 2010. (4) The presentation showed that while a 10GW new reactor programme would increase the volume of the total waste by only around 10%, the area of space required by the wastes if emplaced in a deep geological repository in various different rock types could be almost as big, if not bigger, than the area of space required by existing wastes.
The NDA’s document looked at the repository footprint of a baseline inventory (total waste expected to be created by the existing programme) and compared this with the repository footprint of an upper inventory which would include waste from four new AP1000 reactors and four new EPRs all operating for 60 years. This 10GW new reactor programme would virtually double the footprint of radioactive waste compared with the footprint of existing waste. [chart here on original ]
But this Upper Inventory only allows for a new reactor programme of 10GW. Currently there are proposals to build almost 16GW of new capacity (Hinkley C 3.2GW; Sizewell C 3.2GW; Wylfa 2.76GW; Oldbury 2.7GW; Moorside 3.6GW). Another presentation (5) to the WCMRSP in August 2010 estimated that the repository footprint for a 16GW new reactor programme could almost triple the repository footprint: [chart here on original]
The NDA subsequently said: “These values seem reasonable as indicative figures at the present time, given the uncertainty over the reactor types that will be used”. (6). These figures show the currently proposed new reactor programme would increase the repository footprint by between 120% and 174%
The 16GW programme does not allow for the possibility of two 1.15GW Hualong One reactors at Bradwell which would add another 2.3GW of capacity. ……..

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