European Commission Joint Research Centre Institute for Transuranium Elements
Nuclear Waste Disposal
Tel.: +49 (0)7247-951-0 E-mail
In collaboration with National Organisations, The JRC-ITU is active in Studying the aging and corrosion behaviour of spent nuclear fuel and other high level waste forms during long-term storage, with the aim of confirming the safety of European concepts for nuclear waste disposal.
Nuclear power plants currently generate some 30% of the electricity used in the EU and Accession States. No substantial change of this situation is expected over the next 10 to 20 years. Nuclear safety is a prime concern of the public and will therefore remain a priority for the EU, particularly in view of the enlargement process. Regarding the licensing of advanced new reactor systems the goal is to enhance the safety features, including those related to the nuclear fuel cycle, in comparison to the current generation of plants.
Nuclear waste disposal is perhaps the single most important issue among the public concerning nuclear energy. All concepts involving new or advanced fuel cycles put as key design parameter high level waste minimization.
At the JRC-ITU, the aging of spent fuel and other waste forms and their corrosion behaviour in contact with groundwater are studied. Exposure to groundwater may occur after a very long period of storage. The challenge is how to simulate conditions and even how to define the actual scenario occurring in a very remote future.