Intermediate-level long-lived waste
The fuel used to operate current nuclear reactors is composed of a uranium assembly sometimes with plutonium. Over time, this fuel becomes less effi cient. It is then needs recycled, usually at the AREVA plant at La Hague. The metal structures surrounding this fuel are cut into small sections in order to later separate the uranium and plutonium from non-reusable residues. Intermediate-level long-lived waste is mostly composed of these metal structures (cladding, hulls and end caps). It also comes from residues (waste from effl uent treatment, equipment, etc.) originating from the operation and maintenance of nuclear facilities. Disposal of this type of waste is currently under study.
Treatment and conditioning
In order to reduce its volume, a signifi cant fraction of solid ILW-LL is compacted to form pucks which are then transferred into concrete or metal packages. To facilitate future handling, transport, storage and disposal operations, these primary waste packages are due to be packaged in lots of four in concrete disposal containers.
As prescribed by article 3 of the June 28th 2006 Planning Act, Andra is developing, as in the case of HLW, a 500-metre deep disposal concept for ILW-LL. The outcome of this study is the commissioning of a repository by 2025 in Meuse/ Haute-Marne, subject to government approval and after a public debate.
ILW-LL existing at the end of 2007:
- 3.6% of the total volume of French radioactive waste
- 4.98% of the total radioactivity of French radioactive waste
Pending the commissioning of the deep repository, ILW-LL packages are stored at their production sites, mainly La Hague (AREVA), Marcoule (CEA) and Cadarache (CEA).
Waste metal from the structures surrounding spent fuel (hulls)
Distribution of the volume of ILW-LL by economic sector at the end of 2007