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Polluted and contaminated sites: the industrial legacy

Andra cleans up and remediates polluted and contaminated sites

Today, almost all countries use radioactivity for medical, industrial or research applications. Such activities (also referred to as “small-scale nuclear activities” or “diffuse nuclear sector”) generate radioactive waste and it generally includes both very-low-level (VLL) & low-level short-lived (LL-SL) waste. Scattered all over the country, these activities involve many operators and owners varying in size (from a large hospital centre to the private expert using a lead detector) and in the level of their safety culture.

The management of radioactive waste resulting from the diffuse nuclear sector imposes organisational constraints, such as characterisation and conditioning, temporary and long-term management. In all cases, the take-over of the waste should not burden the owners with excessive costs, since they might be inclined to abandon them carelessly.
First and foremost, it is therefore necessary, in the short term, to implement temporary storage mechanisms for such waste in order to protect populations and the environment. Second, the implementation of a nuclear-power programme can provide an opportunity to organise and, hence, to finance the joint management of the waste originating from both the nuclear industry and small-scale nuclear activities.

 

Methodology

The objective is to set up a multi-step process, as follows:

  • Identification of the radiological and chemical inventory concerned;
  • Detailed mapping of the site, with clear indications of the radioactive spots;
  • Detailed analysis of the geology and of the hydrogeology of the site, followed by, most of the time, geotechnical and hydrogeological surveys and studies;
  • Assessment of the radiological risk of the site by taking into account different scenarios and the risks associated with other pollutions;
  • Analyses of potential solutions: in situ treatment of materials, transport, future capping of the site, etc., taking into account safety and cost criteria;
  • Implementation of the selected long-term solutions;
  • Specification of an environmentalmonitoring programme;
  • Preparation of application files to safety authorities.

 

 

Andra Disposal Solutions

Andra is responsible for the management of all radioactive waste produced in France. This includes the securing of French sites where industrial, medical and research activities have led to radioactive pollution.

On behalf of the community, the Agency is therefore called upon to manage polluted sites: old industrial plants, laboratories, schools, etc. In the Paris suburbs, for instance, Andra cleaned up homes that had been built on the site of a former company which used radium. The Agency is also intervening in Southern France to clean up a site where the former operator has abandoned radioactive products.

 

 

For further information or contact:

international@andra.fr

+ 33 1 46 11 82 99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  
  
  

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Sites that are contaminated with radioactivity may be quite different in nature: an industrial site where watches and alarm clocks were manufactured (1), a former research laboratory on radium (2) or private homes built on sites where radioelements were used in the past (3).

 

Sites that are contaminated with radioactivity may be quite different in nature: an industrial site where watches and alarm clocks were manufactured (1), a former research laboratory on radium (2) or private homes built on sites where radioelements were used in the past (3). 

Sites that are contaminated with radioactivity may be quite different in nature: an industrial site where watches and alarm clocks were manufactured (1), a former research laboratory on radium (2) or private homes built on sites where radioelements were used in the past (3).

Sites that are contaminated with radioactivity may be quite different in nature: an industrial site where watches and alarm clocks were manufactured (1), a former research laboratory on radium (2) or private homes built on sites where radioelements were used in the past (3).

 

Decontamination of a private residence contaminated with radioactivity.

Decontamination of a private residence contaminated with radioactivity.

Page last updated Sunday, December 4, 2011 at 3:31