Difference between storage and disposal
The terms storage and disposal are used in the RW management process. Storage is temporary, disposal is permanent.
RW is under continuous surveillance for a certain amount of time in the storage facility. It is then removed from the storage facility, which is subsequently closed and decommissioned. During storage, RW can be treated and split into its radioactive and non-radioactive parts. The radioactive part is re-packed and stored, while the non-radioactive part is removed and disposed of as municipal waste (after government approval). This enables us to reduce the required RW storage volumes.
The RW is disposed of permanently, with no plans for further removal. Surveillance for several decades after closure is planned at the repository, after which active surveillance is no longer required.
As they are physically different facilities, the requirements of a storage facility differ from those of a repository in terms of research, facility location, the waste reception process, waste conditioning, environmental impact assessment and safety analyses. The RW storage facility is active throughout its existence, the waste containers are under continuous active surveillance, and additional activities to improve safety or reduce the amount of space that the waste occupies in the facility are possible. During disposal, the appropriate isolation of RW from the environment outside the repository is planned. When the planned capacity of the repository is reached, the remaining space will be filled with fillers that provide extra insulation (e.g. mortar, concrete, Betonit, sand). Near-surface repositories are closed with a reinforced concrete slab, followed by an insulation layer (geomembrane, gravel, clay, etc.). They are then finished with a layer of earth and low vegetation. In below-ground and near-surface repositories, access shafts and tunnels are filled as required.