Development of a Framework for Assessing the Suitability of Controlled Landfills to Accept Disposals of Solid Low-Level Radioactive Waste
January 2006


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:

Copies of all the projects outputs are available for free download from SNIFFER’s website 

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.

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).

Keywords: 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 macros) 25.00
Technical Reference Manual 25.00
Case Study 25.00

All prices less 20% to FWR members.