Mission reviews Chernobyl waste management

27 July 2018

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts have carried out a mission to review a feasibility study for the creation and location of new facilities for the management of radioactively contaminated materials at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. The three-day mission was completed on 26 July.

The IAEA mission on site at Chernobyl (Image: ChNPP)

The mission was organised under the framework of UKR3098, a two-year technical cooperation project between the IAEA and the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management (SAUZEM) that was launched in May. The project covers decommissioning and management of radioactive waste and used nuclear fuel at Chernobyl, with IAEA experts providing assessments and recommendations for Ukraine to implement measures in accordance with international standards.

The feasibility study is the first stage in the creation and design of new additional infrastructure facilities to manage the significant volumes of radioactive wastes generated during the process of decommissioning the four-unit nuclear power plant and the project to enclose Chernobyl 4 in the New Safe Confinement (NSC), a structure completed last year. These materials include different categories and types of liquid and solid radioactive waste, contaminated soils, demolished concrete and metal structures and equipment, cables and general construction waste.

Existing infrastructure at the site is not sufficient to manage the volumes of radioactive waste that have already accumulated and forecast to be generated in the future. In addition, the technologies currently in use there do not cover all the types and categories of materials, nor do they allow for the management and optimisation of costs, Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (ChNPP) said. New facilities are therefore needed to improve the existing radioactive materials management system.

The mission team visited key facilities, including Interim Storage Facility 2, the NSC, the main plant building and the turbine hall, where preparatory work for a radioactive waste storage facility is under way. Recommendations will be made in the end-of-mission report, which will then form the basis for future work.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News