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2 February, 2015

NRA Starts Discussing Standards for Burying Decommissioning Waste

On January 26, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) convened a study team to consider regulatory standards for the burial of waste with relatively high concentrations of radioactivity, including reactor core internals, after the decommissioning of nuclear power plants.

Over the next year or so, the team will draw up an outline of the technological issues, and then proceed to develop rules and regulations.

Target waste, including reactor core internals, should be subject to “sub-surface disposal,” that is, at a sufficient depth to allow the normal use of higher levels underground. Some of the waste contains significantly long-lived nuclides, however, requiring consideration consistent with geological disposal.

With other waste, short-lived nuclides can be expected to attenuate before the burial facility is closed. The NRA study team’s first priority will be to develop regulatory standards for such nuclides.

To address the matter, the team will investigate such things as international standards and the characteristics of generated waste. It will also hear the views of nuclear operators.

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