NUKEM and Brenk Systemplanung GmbH as the consortium leader were awarded a contract by Bundesgesellschaft für Endlagerung (BGE – Federal Company for Radioactive Waste Disposal) to draw up a concept for the characterization of the radioactive waste to be retrieved from the Asse II mine.

Between 1967 and 1978, 47.000 cubic meters of low and intermediate level waste were deposited on behalf of the German federal government in the more than one-hundred-year-old salt mine. Since 1988, there have been regular inflows of highly saline groundwater through cavities and cracks into the mine. In the long term, this can create a risk of radioactive contamination due to the loss of integrity. Public and political discourse resulted in declaring the repository subject to nuclear law in 2009. Since 2013, the retrieval of the waste material has been a statutory order.

About 67% of waste came from the utilities. Typical kinds of waste include filters, scrap metal, paper, lab waste, construction debris, wood, sludges, and mixed wastes. Other waste was delivered from research facilities, nuclear industry, and other fields such as medicine.

The documents contain information on the number of waste drums currently stored in the Asse mine. It is however not clear whether the radionuclide and material inventory of the stored waste is specified correctly. The waste declaration that was produced at the time does not meet the today’s standards and is partially incomplete and faulty.

During the first phase of our project we will gather the necessary information, define the requirements to the characterization, and examine the technical and legal boundary conditions. Several potential technologies and techniques will be selected. During the second phase, we will draw up the concept using the information from Phase 1. At the same time, we will conduct regular workshops with BGE. The purpose of these workshops will be to discuss such topics as the waste retrieval procedures or the package layout, and to exchange current information and insights.

NUKEM Technologies in Alzenau, Germany, is world-wide active in the areas of management of radioactive waste and spent fuel, decommissioning of nuclear facilities, engineering and consulting. For more than 60 years NUKEM Technologies provides high quality products, technologies and services, where Innovation, Solutions and Excellence are closely linked.

Bea Heinze
NUKEM Technologies Engineering Services GmbH
Industriestrasse 13, 63755 Alzenau
Tel: +49 6023 91-1549,
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