United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Extended Storage of Low-Level Radioactive Waste: Potential Problem Areas (NUREG/CR-4062, BNL-NUREG-51841)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: October 1985
Date Published: December 1985

Prepared by:
B. Siskind, D. R. Dougherty, D. R. MacKenzie

S. A. Romano, NRC Project Manager

Brookhaven National Laboratory
Upton, NY 11973

Prepared for:
Division of Waste Management
Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555

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If a state or state compact does not have adequate disposal capacity for low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) by 1986 as required by the Low-Level Waste Policy Act, then extended storage of certain LLRW may be necessary. In this report, extended storage of LLRW is considered in order to determine for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission areas of concern and actions recommended to resolve these concerns. The focus is on the properties and performance of the waste form and waste container. Storage alternatives are considered in order to characterize the likely storage environments for these wastes. The areas of concern about extended storage of LLRW are grouped into two categories:

  1. Performance of the waste form and/or container during storage, e.g., radiolytic gas generation, radiation-enhanced degradation of polymeric materials, and corrosion.

  2. Effects of extended storage on the properties of the waste form and/or container that are important after storage (e.g., radiation-induced embrittlement of high-density polyethylene and the weakening of steel containers resulting from corrosion).

A discussion is given of additional information and actions required to address these concerns.

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