Designing a facility that fulfils safety and security requirements that can be practicably constructed, operated and closed
Disposal facility design covers early conceptual design during early programme phases, right through to detailed design for construction, operation and closure. In particular, facility design covers the layout of the underground facilities with regard to the host rock and the types and amount of the radioactive waste. In addition, the design covers the specifications for the geotechnical barriers including the selection of appropriate material.
Safe operation and closure activities need to be prepared by demonstrating that waste handling, transport, emplacement, and retrieval (if applicable) is a safe operation and radiation protection is guaranteed. Post closure safety will as well rely on a suitable repository design and a corresponding safety assessment. Underground research laboratories and/or rock characterisation facilities provide suitable opportunities to perform demonstration tests at a representative scale and active conditions. A final repository is a nuclear facility and its operation has to consider nuclear material safeguards. This is a system of inspection and verification by the International Atomic Energy Agency designed to detect the misuse of nuclear material or technology.
When it comes to optimization, revisiting technical design requirements and technical solutions may be a driver. In addition, monitoring activities may play a significant role. On the one hand, monitoring activities are useful for checking whether technical aspects of facility construction and operation are suited for their purpose and provide information for potential optimization. On the other hand, monitoring may provide useful information about the evolution of the engineered barrier system. This information may be a sound basis for design optimization of individual engineered barrier components as well as engineered barrier emplacement techniques prior to final closure of the repository.