Site Characterisation and Assessment

Advising on Siting for Geological Disposal of UK Radioactive Waste  (2009-2016)

Neil Chapman and Ian McKinley were involved in the early stages of the UK programme, including site screening and on-site investigations. Neil Chapman developed the geological siting guidelines and managed the geological input to site selection for the Nirex deep repository project in the 1980s. Neil Chapman has advised the government advisory group, CoRWM, on the new siting process and was a member of the Environmental Safety Case advisory panel of the NDA (now RWM) that developed the approach to presenting the repository safety impacts to the public and regulators through their first publication of the generic disposal system safety case (gDSSC) in 2010. He has also advised DEFRA on the development of site suitability criteria, and has been a Member of the NDA Advisory Board which is involved in the present UK siting programme, and provided ongoing advice to RWM throughout 2009-2016 on UK siting strategy for the national geological disposal facility via the RWM Technical Advisory Panel (for which Neil was Chairman).

Key consultant to STUK for evaluation of the Natural Barrier at Olkiluoto (2015)

Prof. Neil Chapman (MCM) has acted as Key Consultant as part of STUK’s (Finnish Radiation Authority) Core Group of expert reviewers in the area of geosciences and the natural barrier to support STUK’s evaluation of Posiva’s Construction License Application (CLA) for the planned spent nuclear fuel repository at Olkiluoto. The Core Group of reviewers has advised STUK over the period since the Decision in Principle to proceed with geological disposal of spent fuel at Olkiluoto. Neil, together with other Members of the team, have reviewed numerous documents developed by Posiva over the last decade or more, have made frequent visits to the ONKALO facility with STUK’s inspectors and have attended topical workshops at which issues have been discussed in detail with Posiva staff and expert contractors. This latest round of review and evaluation has now been published in STUK-TR 17, August 2015. The image below illustrates the proposed facility layout at Olkiluoto (image courtesy of Posiva).

Specification of a Geographic Information System for Siting a UK Geological Disposal Facility (2012)

Dr Ally Clark (MCM) led the RWM GDF siting project from 2012 to 2013 in preparation for repository site identification and assessment in Cumbria. This included development of a Geographic Information System (GIS) tool, preparation of documentation and collaboration with the British Geological Survey to establish the approach for above and below-ground siting.

Siting nuclear waste disposal facilities in Switzerland

Charles McCombie, as Director of Science and Technology at Nagra, was directly involved in the selection of potential LLW sites and in their characterisation. He was Project Leader for the Swiss HLW programme during the crystalline and sediment siting phases, up to the selection of the currently favoured clay region in Northern Switzerland. Ian McKinley, as R&D coordinator, reviewed the technical work associated with site characterisation, repository design and associated performance assessment. Ian McKinley and Charles McCombie were also directly responsible for research programmes in the Swiss underground laboratories where many site investigation techniques have been developed and tested. All team members have worked in the Swiss national programme at managerial and technical levels.

Pangea Project – International collaboration to investigate a shared repository for disposal of radioactive waste

Charles McCombie and Neil Chapman were responsible in the Pangea project for developing guidelines for site selection on a global, rather than a purely national basis. Emphasis was on identifying “high-isolation” sites in stable, arid regions of the world. They are also both directly responsible for developing multinational and regional siting concepts for shared repositories in Europe (through the ERDO Working Group) and globally (through the Arius Association).

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