Waste and nuclear material management

Radioactive waste

VKTA intermediately stores the radioactive waste produced when operating and dismantling nuclear plants. At its Rossendorf site, VKTA runs an intermediate storage of all types of solid radioactive waste. Here the waste will be retained until it is moved to a permanent disposal site operated by a federal institution.

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Intermediate storage distinguishes different kinds of waste because they need to be handled differently. Solid low-level waste is kept in primary containers, normally 200 litre barrels. For the time of intermediate storage, they are kept in 20 ft. freight containers, or so-called KONRAD containers. Higher-level waste of a higher local dose rate is kept in shielded containers made of cast iron or granulate iron concrete.

VKTA also runs the collecting systems for collecting and also purifying the laboratory waste water from the entire Rossendorf research site. Laboratory waste water is radiologically controlled by radiation protection, undergoes chemical treatment afterwards and is finally discharged to the municipal sewage system. In case laboratory waste water or liquid radioactive waste requires further treatment, VKTA provides various treatment methods and options.

A key element of waste management is to document the waste. This involves taking heed of all aspects of permit procedures and radiation laws. Moreover the requirements of permanent disposal site KONRAD are to be met. To this end, VKTA runs an electronic accounting system covering and documenting the entire flow of waste materials, including all material and radiological parameters.

When it comes to dismantling the nuclear facilities, another central task is to secure the nuclear material kept at the Rossendorf research site and to organise its safe disposal. To accomplish this task, the entire nuclear material was taken to a separate facility built for this very purpose. This facility provides the technical equipment required to safely keep and condition the nuclear material for subsequent disposal.

Waste water and conventional waste

The information obtained from the solid and other waste declaration is taken to output (approved) waste from dismantling and operation to appropriate disposal, pursuant to KrW/AbfG (German Act on Promoting Recycling Economy and Safe Waste Disposal).
All waste is categorised by its contaminant content, always giving priority to the aspect of recycling.

In order to ensure proper disposal, we are cooperating with reliable disposal companies, putting much weight on a transparent documentation of the waste's whereabouts.

The disposal of waste with restricted approval (of disposal) is subject to special provisions set forth in StrlSchV (German Ordinance on Radiation Protection).
In cases where the solid and other waste declaration reveals larger contents of harmful substances, the dismantling technology deployed may have to be adapted before dismantling starts. This is to accomplish three objectives:

  • Occupational safety measures
  • Minimising the impact on the environment when removing contaminated components with particular regard to the soil and ground water
  • Appropriate disposal of dangerous waste including its documentation by electronic means