Development of a Framework for
Assessing the Suitability of Controlled Landfills to Accept Disposals
of Solid Low-Level Radioactive Waste
SNIFFER commissioned this project on behalf of the
Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Environment and Heritage
Service, Northern Ireland (EHS), Scottish Executive and the Environment
Agency for England and Wales.
The project aimed to establish a framework for assessing the
suitability of controlled landfills to accept disposals of solid
low-level radioactive waste (Special Precaution Burials (SPB)). The
disposal of radioactive waste alongside other wastes at landfill sites
is a disposal route aimed at small users rather than at the nuclear
industry, and it is restricted to relatively low activity wastes.
There are five outputs from this study:
- A Principles document
- An Assessment Model (Excel spreadsheet with macros)
- A User Manual
- A Technical Reference document
- A Case Study report
Copies of all the projects outputs are available for free download from
The Principles document
presents the key principles on which the framework will be
based. These principles include high-level principles applied
to all aspects of managing risks to the public, and also principles
used to establish appropriate approaches to environmental, and
specifically radiological, risks.
The Technical Reference
document describes the process by which calculations of
environmental impact (dose to humans) will be used to determine the
radiological capacity of a site. The relationship between the
overall radiological capacity and the disposal capacity is discussed.
Authorisation conditions, which are outlined in this report, will be an
important part of the risk management process.
The framework comprises the overall process for determining the
suitability of landfill sites for accepting certain types of low-level
radioactive waste and comprises four principal stages:
The framework is aimed at assessing new sites, or sites that have not
previously accepted radioactive waste. For the purpose of
this project, it has been assumed that all SPB disposals will be made
to non-hazardous landfill sites. The framework therefore may
not be applicable to inert and hazardous landfill sites.
- Initial screening for potentially suitable sites.
- Development of the assessment context and methodology.
- Authorisation decision and conditions.
The framework has been developed to ensure that, as far as possible, a
consistent approach is used for all the assessments
undertaken. Many of the overall constraints and objectives
(the assessment context) are therefore generic.
Assessments of landfill sites in terms of their environmental impacts
require the identification of the sources, pathways and receptors
through which environmental harm could arise. A generic set
of these that encompasses the activities and environmental setting of
landfill sites has been identified and conceptual models have been
developed. In addition to the generic elements of the
assessment context, there are elements of the assessment context that
must be established on a site-specific basis.
An Assessment Model
implementing the framework for calculating specific doses and
radiological capacities has been developed from mathematical models
that describe the source-pathway-receptor linkages.
A separate Case Study
report has been produced which details the results from
using the Assessment Model to calculate specific doses and to
illustrate the derivation of radiological capacities. The
generic information in the assessment framework has been supplemented
by site-specific data for a typical landfill site (Site A).
radioactive waste; special precautions burial; assessment framework
N.B. The reports are available
for download from the SNIFFER Website
Each report is available separately in electronic format at
£20.00 + VAT
Hard copy available at the following prices:
Principles Document £25.00
User Manual including An Assessment Model (excel spreadsheet with
Technical Reference Manual £25.00
Case Study £25.00
All prices less 20% to FWR members.