The NDA’s Upstream Optioneering project has examined the potential implications of using an alternative type of waste package and its influence on the waste management lifecycle across the NDA estate.

Robust Shielded Containers (RSCs) are radioactive waste packages that provide integral radiological shielding, reducing the need for remote handling. The robustness of the container could remove the need to immobilise waste by cement encapsulation. RSCs are routinely used to package ILW for interim storage in Germany and have fairly recently been considered for use in the UK because RSCs have the potential to simplify the waste management lifecycle and enable risk and hazard reduction. In particular, the current baseline (included in Magnox Limited lifetime plans) follows the strategy set out in the Magnox Operating Decommissioning Programme (MODP), in which Type II MOSAIK and Type VI Ductile Cast Iron Containers (DCICs) are used to package (in non-encapsulated form) most Magnox ILW arising prior to 2050.

By considering representative types of Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) and exploring potential packaging options for these wastes, this paper identifies the factors that could differentiate between cases in which RSCs would, or would not, be an appropriate option. The potential role of RSCs across the waste management lifecycle is examined, from retrieval of waste through to emplacement at a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF), including consideration of other potential uses of RSCs, such as temporary storage of raw wastes for which appropriate treatment and conditioning measures have yet to be developed.

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