Ensuring the safe and final solution of radioactive waste and spent fuel
Spent fuel (SF) is generated in Slovenia at Krško nuclear power plant (Krško NPP) and at the Triga research reactor housed at Institut Jožef Stefan in Ljubljana. Krško NPP stores SF on site, while Institut Jožef Stefan has, up to now, returned all SF from the research reactor to the fuel producer in the US. High-level radioactive waste (HLW) is generated in the course of the decommissioning of the nuclear power plant or after a decision is taken to reprocess SF (which will also generate HLW).
The guidelines contained in the Resolution on the National Programme for Managing Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel 2016–2025 provide that SF and HLW must first be safely stored and then safely disposed of.
- first a wet storage of the spent fuel in a pool on the power plant location, followed by
- dry storage of the spent fuel
- packing and preparation for disposal
- waste disposal in deep geological deposit
Given the technological progress made over the last decade, it would make sense to study other state-of-the-art options for reprocessing SF and recycling it into reprocessed nuclear fuel. While today’s procedures enable significant reductions to be made in the volume, half-life and radiotoxicity of SF and HLW, at the end high-level radioactive waste still remains and needs to be disposed of permanently in any case.
The guidelines contained in the National Programme for Managing Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel 2016–2025 provide that Slovenia should pay equal regard to two options:
- the monitoring of and participation in initiatives for a shared geological repository in an EU Member State or,
- if a shared repository is not possible, the planning of a geological repository in Slovenia for waste generated by the country’s own nuclear program.