Classification of waste in France and management of different categories

Table 15.2 presents each waste category along with the current identified

long-term management solution. For some categories, the corresponding

Table 15.1 Acronyms used for the different waste categories



French acronyms


High level waste



Long-lived intermediate level waste



Long-lived low-level waste



Short-lived low — and intermediate-level



Very-low-level waste


Table 15.2 Classification of waste



Very short half-life

(<100 days)

Short half-life

(<31 years)

Long half-life

(>31 years)

Very low level (VLW)

Management by radioactive decay

Surface disposal (CSTFA)

Low level (LLW)

Surface disposal (CSFMA)

Systems under study pursuant to Article 3 of the 2006 Planning Act

Intermediate level (ILW)

Systems under study pursuant to Article 3 of the 2006 Planning Act

High level (HLW)

Systems under study pursuant to Article 3 of the 2006 Planning Act

long-term management solution is still under study and this issue is addressed in the 2013 National Plan for the Management of Radioactive Materials and Waste (‘Plan National pour la Gestion des Matieres et Dechets Radioactifs’ or PNGMDR), which is a three yearly plan stating, for all radioactive materials and waste in France, the chosen long-term management option, either operational or being researched.

There is no simple and single criterion to classify RAW. There is no overall activity level, for instance, to determine whether a given residue belongs to the SL-LILW category. It is necessary to examine the radioactiv­ity of the different radionuclides present in the waste in order to rank it according to the classification. More particularly, in order to be considered as SL-LILW, the specific activity of each radionuclide in the waste must be lower than the prescribed thresholds in the waste acceptance specifications for the SL-LILW disposal facility (‘Centre de Stockage de dechets de Faible et Moyenne Activite’ or CSFMA; see Fig. 15.1 for the different facilities

image188"Centre de stockage FMA


Centre de stockage TFA

Centre de stockage de la Manche

Centre de


15.1 Map of French facilities managed by ANDRA.

managed by ANDRA). In that category, the activity of long-lived radionu­clides is particularly limited.

However, it is possible to indicate a range of specific activities within which each waste category generally belongs. It may be that a specific waste pertaining to one of the above-mentioned categories is not acceptable within the corresponding management system due to other chemical, physical or other characteristics. Such is the case for residues containing significant quantities of tritium (a radionuclide that is difficult to confine or retain) or of sealed sources for medical uses.

A special case also concerns the waste generated by uranium enrichment facilities and fabrication plants of nuclear fuel containing uranium oxide. Their waste residues contain uranium and are compatible with the accept­ance criteria of the CSFMA or, if their activity is very low, with those of the VLLW repository (‘Centre de Stockage de dechets de Tres Faible Activite’, or CSTFA). In the first case, the waste is disposed of at the CSFMA and, by convention, registered as SL-LILW, notably in the national inventory. In the second case, the waste is disposed of at the CSTFA and included in the VLLW category.

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