ABSTRACT Multibarrier concepts are commonly proposed for effective isolation of highly radioactive waste (HLW). Present concepts consider the host rock as a barrier by retarding migration of possibly released radionuclides to the biosphere, containers for preventing release of radionuclides, and “buffer clay” embedding the canisters for providing ductility and minimizing the risk of container breakage and for delaying migration of possibly escaping radionuclides. Closer analysis of the isolating functions shows that rock will only serve as a mechanical protection of the “nearfield”, the containers of proposed types can be short-lived, and the surrounding clay will be increasingly permeable and stiffen hence becoming less ductile with time. A different approach, representing an alternative to the common concepts, can be safer and cheaper. It takes the HIPOW copper canister as the only major barrier and a cheap but sufficiently efficient buffer as embedment. The repository can consist of an abandoned copper mine, an option being to place HLW in emptied drifts while mining is still going in not yet exploited parts of the ore body.
Cite this paper
Pusch, R. , Knutsson, S. , Al-Taie, L. and Mohammed, M. (2012) Optimal ways of disposal of highly radioactive waste. Natural Science, 4, 906-918. doi: 10.4236/ns.2012.431118.
 Svemar, C. (2005) Cluster repository project (CROP). Final Report of European Commission Contract FIR1-CT- 2000-2003, Brussels, Belgium.
 SKB (2003) Planning report for the safety assessment SR-Can. SKB, Stockholm.
 Pusch, R. (2008) Geological storage of radioactive waste. Springer-Verlag, Berlin and Heidelberg.
 Pusch, R., Yong, R.N. and Nakano, M. (2011) High-level radioactive waste disposal. WIT Press, Southampton and Boston.
 Popov, V. and Pusch, R. (2006) Disposal of hazardous Waste in underground mines. In: Popov, V. and Pusch, R., Eds., WIT Press, Southampton and Boston.
 Pusch, R. and Weston R. (2012) Impact of scale on rock strength. Proceedings WASET International Conference on Civil and Construction Engineering, 67, 782-788.
 H?kmark, H. (1992) Thermomechanical study of jointed rock around a KBS3-type nuclear waste repository. SKB Int. report AR 92-75.
 Pusch, R. and Yong, R. (2006) Microstructure of smectite clays and engineering performance. Taylor & Francis, London and New York.
 Pusch, R. and Madsen, F.T. (1995) Aspects of the illitization of the Kinnekulle bentonites. Clays and Clay Minerals, 43, 133-140. doi:10.1346/CCMN.1995.0430301
 Nguyen and Thanh, L. (2012) Mineralogical characterization of Fe-driven alteration of smectites. Dissertation, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universit?t Greifswald, Greifswald.
 L?nnerberg, B., Larker, H. and Ageskog, L. (1983) Encapsulation and handling of spent nuclear fuel for final disposal. SKB/KBS Technical Report 83-20, SKB, Stockholm.
 Gueven, N. and Huang, W.-L. (1990) Effects of Mg2+ and Fe3+ substitutions on the crystallization of discrete illite and illite/smectite mixed layers. International report, Texas Tech University, Exxon Production research Co., Houston.
 Pusch, R., Warr, L., Grathoff, G., Knutsson, S., Pourbakhtiar, A. and Mohammed, H.M. (2012) Talc-based cement-poor concrete for sealing boreholes in rock. In print.
 Krohne, J. (2006) Report on planned repository for MLW and LLW in coppermine, Kazahkstan. DBETEC, Peine.