Russia: experience of radioactive waste (RAW) management and contaminated site clean-up

A. I. S O B O LE V and S. N. B RYKIN, RosRAO, Russia and O. A. G O R B U N O VA, Radon, Russia

DOI: 10.1533/9780857097446.2.345

Abstract: Global challenges in contemporary development of the Russian Federation the creation of a reliable state energy power system. The use of nuclear power, new nuclear technologies, sources of energy, medical innovations require further large-scale development of radioactive materials. However, this development is restrained by the problem of radioactive wastes accumulated from the early Russian nuclear programmes. This chapter describes current activity in the sphere of radioactive waste management, including consequences of technological incidents in the Russian Federation.

Key words: radioactive waste, contaminated region, radiation techniques, spent ionizing sources, repositories, protective coating, combined LRW treatment, vitrification, plasma technology, cementation, state accounting system, radiation-ecological monitoring.

9.2 Introduction

Russia is one of only a few countries in the world to have all the elements of the nuclear fuel cycle, from uranium output to the complete set of facili­ties necessary for radioactive waste (RAW) management (Fig. 10.1). Russia produces 9% of the world’s uranium output and 40% of the world’s enriched uranium, supplying half of the uranium required for western design nuclear power plants (NPPs), and the Russian fuel company TVEL supplies 17% of the nuclear fuel used by NPPs for peaceful purposes. These NPPs produce 16% of the total electric power manufactured in Russia and form the joint stock company called the ‘Concern Rosenergoatom’.

The global problem of nuclear and radiation safety is a historical inherit­ance from the Soviet atomic project. The accumulation of RAW and other nuclear materials since the Soviet era requires new approaches to the problem, including new methods both for processing and storing spent nuclear fuel and RAW and for decontaminating affected areas. Con­sequently, in 2007 the Russian government introduced a federal program

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10.1 Map showing location of Russian nuclear facilities (courtesy of Rosatom state Nuclear Energy Corporation, Russia).

known as ‘Nuclear and radiation safety assurance for 2008 and until 2015’ with the specific aim of finding solutions to these problems. Plans are cur­rently underway for the development of the atomic industry in Russia, which include addressing historical RAW issues and also taking into account the events of 2011 in Japan at Fukushima-1 NPP.

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