Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: Fission-2013-1.1.2 | Award Amount: 14.73M | Year: 2013
The CAST project (CArbon-14 Source Term) aims to develop understanding of the generation and release of 14C from radioactive waste materials under conditions relevant to waste packaging and disposal to underground geological disposal facilities. The project will focus on releases from irradiated metals (steels, Zircaloys) and from ion-exchange materials as dissolved and gaseous species. A study to consider the current state of the art knowledge with regards to 14C release from irradiated graphite will also be undertaken, to further our knowledge from existing projects in this area i.e. CARBOWASTE. The scientific understanding obtained from these studies will then be considered in terms of national disposal programmes and impact on safety assessments. The knowledge gained from the whole of CAST will be disseminated within the project partners and to wider stakeholders and organisation, with a specific objective on education and training.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: Fission-2010-1.1.2 | Award Amount: 2.00M | Year: 2011
Solid/liquid chemical equilibrium hypotheses (sorption, solubility, solid-solution formation) are key concepts in the assessment of nuclear waste safety. For radionuclides at trace concentrations this corresponds to constant solution concentrations, or solid/liquid distribution ratios, if environmental conditions remain constant. However, these concepts do not account for irreversible incorporation of radionuclides in the solid phases. Indeed, there is often a gradual and very slow transition from simple adsorption processes to incorporation of trace elements in the surface structure of solid phases. For certain tetravalent actinides apparent solubility equilibrium applies to only the surface without bulk phase equilibrium. This can lead to very large uncertainty in solubility values and derived thermodynamic constants. Equilibrium concepts are characterized by a dynamic state of equal forward and backward reaction rates, under conditions where phase compositions remain constant. Most of the problems arise from a lack of understanding of the dynamics of slow processes close to equilibrium, specifically in the coupling of sorption with other surface equilibrium reactions such as dissolution/precipitation, recrystallisation, isotopic exchange and with the bulk phase equilibrium. The project intends to assess the effect of surface properties on apparent solubility as well as the kinetics of incorporation of radionuclides in the structure of a solid phase, and the associated reaction mechanisms for various solids in a systematic manner, using isotope exchange under close-to-equilibrium conditions. The project results will impact strongly (1) the use/misuse of solubility data for thermodynamics; (2) the understanding of affinity/rate relations close to equilibrium; (3) the inclusion of irreversibility in models on the long-term mobility of radionuclides; and (4) the coupling of radionuclide chemistry with main element chemistry in the repository environment.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: NFRP-06-2014 | Award Amount: 9.66M | Year: 2015
The Modern2020 project aims at providing the means for developing and implementing an effective and efficient repository operational monitoring programme, taking into account the requirements of specific national programmes. The work allows advanced national radioactive waste disposal programmes to design monitoring systems suitable for deployment when repositories start operating in the next decade and supports less developed programmes and other stakeholders by illustrating how the national context can be taken into account in designing dedicated monitoring programmes tailored to their national needs. The work is established to understand what should be monitored within the frame of the wider safety cases and to provide methodology on how monitoring information can be used to support decision making and to plan for responding to monitoring results. Research and development work aims to improve and develop innovative repository monitoring techniques (wireless data transmission, alternative power supply sources, new sensors, geophysical methods) from the proof of feasibility stage to the technology development and demonstration phase. Innovative technical solutions facilitate the integration and flexibility of required monitoring components to ease the final implementation and adaptation of the monitoring system. Full-scale in-situ demonstrations of innovative monitoring techniques will further enhance the knowledge on the operational implementation of specific disposal monitoring and will demonstrate the performance of the state-of-the-art, the innovative techniques and their comparison with conventional ones. Finally, Modern2020 has the ambition to effectively engage local citizen stakeholders in the R&D monitoring activity by involving them at an early stage in a repository development programme in order to integrate their concerns and expectations into monitoring programmes.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: Fission-2009-1.1.1 | Award Amount: 6.53M | Year: 2010
The main aim of the project PEBS (Long-term Performance of the Engineered Barrier System) is to evaluate the sealing and barrier performance of the EBS with time, through development of a comprehensive approach involving experiments, model development and consideration of the potential impacts on long-term safety functions. The experiments and models cover the full range of conditions from initial emplacement of wastes (high heat generation and EBS resaturation) through to later stage establishment of near steady-state conditions, i.e. full resaturation and thermal equilibrium with the host rock. These aspects will be integrated in a manner that will lead to a more convincing connection between the initial transient state of the EBS and its long-term state that provides the required isolation of the wastes. The work proposed within the project builds on existing knowledge and experience generated during recent years and supported by ongoing nat. and EC research programmes. The project pretends to provide a more complete description of the THM and THM-C (thermo-hydromechanical-chemical) evolution of the EBS system, a more quantitative basis for relating the evolutionary behaviour to the safety functions of the system and a further clarification of the significance of residual uncertainties for long-term performance assessment. The importance of uncertainties arising from potential disagreement between the process models and the laboratory and in situ experiments to be performed within PEBS, and their implications for extrapolation of results will be reviewed, with particular emphasis on possible impacts on safety functions. In addition to the scientific-tech. aim, the consortium will spread the essential results to the european scientific community and Canada, Japan and China, use its expertise for public information purposes, and promote knowledge and technology transfer through training. WP 5 brings together activities concerning dissemination and training.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2011-ITN | Award Amount: 3.58M | Year: 2012
Understanding the processes that control the transport of metals in the environment is essential for a wide range of fields, including environmental protection and remediation, mineral resources, climate change. Through recent analytical developments, it is possible, using natural variations in metal isotopes, to identify and quantify how metal concentrations in natural waters are controlled by interactions with mineral surfaces, microbially-mediated reactions, and release during mineral weathering, and so significantly advancing our understanding of the fate and consequences of metal transport in the environment However, such applications have not been extensively exploited. The proposed MetTrans scientific and training Network will address a range of critical societal and industrial applications. This includes the abiotic and microbial immobilization of contaminants, the role of metals in carbon sequestration, and the response of metal transport to climate change. This requires interdisciplinary input, from chemistry, geology, physics, biology, hydrology, and engineering, and the solution to many of these problems requires close academic-industrial collaboration academia will provide the scientific expertise and state-of-the-art analytical techniques to the practical applications confronted by industry. Although the particular research questions considered are diverse, the underlying scientific principles and analytical techniques are similar. This therefore provides an excellent platform to train young scientists in using of isotopic methods, understanding metal behaviour, and utilizing skills broadly. The Network focuses on providing training on analytical skills, on understanding fundamental principles, and on modelling, and exposes young scientists to a wide range of opportunities for applying this training in research and industry.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: NFRP-06-2014 | Award Amount: 4.71M | Year: 2015
The multidisciplinary project will address key technical issues that must be tackled to support the implementation of planned geological disposal projects for higher-level radioactive wastes across the EU. Our current understanding of the impact of microbial metabolism on the safety of geological repositories remains tenuous, even though microorganisms may have controlling influences on wasteform evolution in situ, multibarrier integrity and ultimately radionuclide migration from the repository. This proposal targets a number of high urgency and high importance topics identified in the most recent IGD-TP Strategic Research Agenda, focusing specifically on the influence of microbial processes on waste forms and their behavior, and the technical feasibility and long-term performance of repository components. The project will bring together, for the first time, 15 European groups working on the impact of microbial processes on safety cases for geological repositories across the EU, focusing on key questions posed by waste management organisations. The emphasis will be on quantifying specific measureable impacts of microbial activity on safety cases under repository-relevant conditions, thus altering the current view of microbes in repositories and leading to significant refinements of safety case models currently being implemented to evaluate the long-term evolution of radwaste repositories. The integration of society and policy oriented studies in the project will also extend the impact of the project outside the scientific and technical domain, while a study of expert conceptualization, public perception and risk communication concerning microbial influences in geological disposal, will improve awareness of microbial issues on a broader level. The programme will help the EU claim international leadership in the understanding of the impact of microbial processes on geodisposal, and indeed other technological areas pertinent to the exploitation of the subsurface.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: Fission-2011-1.1.1 | Award Amount: 5.09M | Year: 2012
Recent safety assessments nuclear waste repositories have shown that the formation and stability of colloids may have a direct impact on the overall performance of the repository. The main aim of the BELBaR project is increase the knowledge of the processes that controls clay colloid stability, generation and ability to transport radionuclides. The overall purpose of the project will be to suggest a treatment of the issues in long-term safety assessment. The key areas of research will be: erosion of bentonite buffers, the main objective of these studies will be to understand the main mechanisms of erosion from the bentonite surface and to quantify the extent of the possible erosion under different conditions clay colloid stability studies under different geochemical conditions. The colloids formed at the near/far field interface would be stable only if favourable conditions exist and therefore their relevance for radionuclide transport will be strongly dependent on the local geochemical conditions interaction between colloids and radionuclides and the host rock, how colloid mobility may be affected be the composition of the host rock and the mechanism of sorption and de-sorption of radionuclides on the colloids In these areas substantial laboratory studies will be undertaken. The modelling studies will support the laboratory studies through development of conceptual and mathematical descriptions of the observed phenomena. The final outcome is to consider how colloids and related phenomena can be considered in the long term safety case and to make recommendations on how the safety case could pursue to address this potentially very significant issue. The project will have strong focus on cooperation and integration. This will be achieved by exchange of staff between partners and arrangement of frequent seminars. The BELBaR consortium consists of research institutes, implementers and universities from within and outside the European Union.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: Fission-2012-1.1.1 | Award Amount: 15.74M | Year: 2012
DOPAS aims to improve the adequacy and consistency regarding industrial feasibility of plugs and seals, the measurement of their characteristics, the control of their behavior over time in repository conditions and also their hydraulic performance acceptable with respect to the safety objectives. This DOPAS project addresses the design basis, reference designs and strategies to demonstrate the compliance of the reference designs to the design basis, for plugs and seals in geological disposal facilities. The project focuses on shaft seals for salt rock (German repository concept), tunnel plugs for clay rock (French and Swiss repository concepts), and tunnel plugs for crystalline rock (Czech, Finnish and Swedish repository concepts). Five different demonstration experiments are part of the project and will take place in Sweden, France, Finland, Czech Republic and Germany. They are in different state-of-development. The Swedish demonstrator will be constructed prior to start of the DOPAS project and will basically provide experience on demonstration of compliance of reference design to the design basis. German demonstrator will be installed after the DOPAS project and will focus on demonstration of suitability by performance assessment. The French, Finnish, Swedish,German and the Czech experiments will address developments in all phases of design basis, reference designs and strategies to demonstrate compliance of reference designs to design basis. The studied concepts will be developed in the DOPASs five thematic scientific/technological work packages, which each integrate the results of the individual experiments. The DOPAS project is derived from the IGD-TPs Strategic Research Agenda that points out the topic of plug and seals as a first priority issue for joint European RTD projects.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: Fission-2010-1.1.2 | Award Amount: 1.60M | Year: 2011
At the core of the safety case for long-term geologic disposal for spent nuclear fuel lie the issues regarding spent fuel dissolution. We have today significant knowledge regarding dissolution of uranium oxide in the laboratory. However, uncertainties remain regarding spent fuel dissolution under realistic conditions. Two main questions stand out as necessary to address: First, the synthetic groundwater used in the experiments to date does not contain all of the chemical elements that occur in natural groundwaters. Some of the trace elements may produce radiolysis products that are more aggressive than those produced in the synthetic groundwaters. Second, the fragments used in laboratory experiments contain sharp edges and defects generated by the crushing process. These sites contain atoms that have fewer bonds than the bulk material and constitute high-energy sites. As dissolution occurs, these sites dissolve faster than lower energy sites, such as plane surface sites. As the high-energy sites disappear through dissolution, the dissolution rate decreases. We can approach the long-term dissolution rate in the laboratory, but we cannot at this time estimate how far away we are from it. The two items mentioned above lead to uncertainty concerning the dissolution rate. The objectives of the work proposed here are to reduce the uncertainty in the dissolution rate to be used in the safety case and thereby increase the confidence that can be placed in our ability to demonstrate that the geologic repository will function as designed. A second objective of this work is to provide for the training of young research workers who can continue to support the research needed in the future concerning radioactive waste disposal.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: Fission-2010-1.1.1 | Award Amount: 9.09M | Year: 2011
The European Council outlined in its decision 2006/976/EURATOM the following objective for the research area management of radioactive waste: Through implementation-oriented RTD, the activities aim to establish a sound scientific and technical basis for demonstrating the technologies and safety of disposal of spent fuel and long-lived radioactive wastes in geological formations ... In the FP7 work programme 2010 (European Commission C(2009)5946 from 30 July 2009) it is stated that the expected impact of projects should be that they contribute to the progress towards the implementing of geological disposal in line with the Vision Report and initial roadmaps of IGD-TP and the 2020 objectives of the SET-Plan, together with significant advances in the treatment and/or understanding of key remaining issues. In particular, this should lead to demonstrable improvements in robustness of associated performance and safety analyses, and ultimately to increased confidence in the safety case ... Waste implementers (WMOs) being deeply involved in experiments in underground laboratories (SKB, Andra, Nagra and Posiva) address these objectives by implementing a joint collaboration regarding large underground concept experiments LUCOEX, which meets the FP7 work programme theme of Fission-2010 1.1.1. The included experiments will provide a check on the suitability of the different emplacement concepts and a possibility to understand and compare important parameters for the implementation and the long-term safety of the concepts. Important experience is expected to be obtained regarding testing and improving of methods, equipment, technologies, processes or operability related to the construction, operation and closure of a repository system. The key technical areas to address will be gallery construction, manufacturing and emplacement of buffer around waste canisters, emplacement of waste packages, and backfilling and sealing of galleries.