The issue of how to deal with the radioactive waste, particularly high level and intermediate level waste, is one which governments have had to grapple with since the conception of nuclear power stations.
Every nuclear project produces nuclear waste that remains radioactive for many thousands of years. The very nature of the waste creates disposal issues on an unparalleled scale. The scale and implications, if the waste is not managed properly, are unprecedented and as a result, under international treaty, every country that incorporates nuclear reactors as part of their energy mix is obliged to deal with the issues of nuclear waste in extreme detail.
Deep disposal, the recognised way of dealing with intermediate and high level waste, is a multi-barrier concept approach that seeks to alleviate the potential problems associated with radioactive waste. It is a method that combines both engineered and natural barriers providing for passive safety of emplaced waste. The waste is stored within a stable rock formation at a depth between 250 – 1000 metres. It is stored in an engineered containment system built to withstand radiation, heat (in the case of high active waste) and the external environment over very long timescales.
The nuclear industry is focusing on the future of waste disposal methods and we are following developments in a number of countries carefully, well aware that any decision regarding disposal will not only effect the current round of decommissioning but also any future new build.
Our experience, in acting on projects relating to nuclear repositories together with our experienced in oil and gas projects, underground tunnelling, power plant construction and operation projects and waste projects, places us in the unique position of being able to advise on the development and construction of a repository, as well as the financing of any such facility.