Monday, 21 April 2014

Czech expert team to seek place for nuclear waste repository

4 October 2012

Brno, Oct 3 (CTK) - Scientists from the Faculty of Science of Masaryk University have established a Czech expert team to deal with the question of where the permanent nuclear waste repository should be located, university spokeswoman Tereza Fojtova told CTK Wednesday.

Its results will help find the suitable position of the repository and the optimal storage of the spent fuel, Fojtova said, adding that the university had gained a grant of 30 million crowns for the task.

The expert team was formed in reaction to the current situation in the Czech Republic. A number of foreign scientific centres have advanced farther with their research in this field, Fojtova said.

This is why the Czechs want to gain experiences by travelling abroad, fellowships and host stays of foreign experts, she added.

The scientific team is made up of two groups with their own focus.

"In one, we deal with the research of rock environment for underground storage of the substances and waste, in the second, with long-term seismic stability of selected localities of the Czech Republic," Milan Novak, from the institute of geological sciences who is in charge of the project, said.

The first group examines with which substances the fuel in the repository should be surrounded so that radioactivity does not leak.

There are some substances such as bentonites that can absorb radioactivity.

The second group concentrates on the evaluation of selected localities in terms of their resistance to Earth tremor.

"There are processes in nuclear fuel that will have even 100,000 years later such an intensity that there is a need of isolating the fuel from the biosphere," expert Jan Svancara has said.

"As there is a very cautious approach, the work is executed with the assumption that the repository must outlast one million years," Svancara said.

The Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (SURAO) has been looking for a suitable location of underground repositories about 500 metres under the surface for years.

It has singled out a number of localities, but no decision has been made.

Within their projected 40-year life-span, both Czech nuclear plants, Dukovany and Temelin, produce a total of about 4,000 tonnes of spent fuel, SURAO says at its webpage.

If the planned new reactors are built, the quantity of nuclear waste will even increase.

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