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Home Nuclear Energy & Safety Borehole Siting Technique for Geological Repositories of Radioactive Waste

Borehole Siting Technique for Geological Repositories of Radioactive Waste


The purpose of siting repositories is to reveal those most promising for the development of deep geological repository (DGR) for radioactive wastes. The technique of siting borehole DGRs is described as follows.

This technique takes into account IAEA recommendations and requirements with respect to DGR siting, national regulatory requirements as well as preliminary requirements and other considerations identified by the designers for a stage-by-stage siting.

The proposed technique is based on the application of the following methodological package:

  • Analysis of literature and data of geological and hydrogeological structures and rock properties over the area to be studied as well as data reinterpretation according to new objectives;
  • Aerospace image decoding (revealing areas minimally dislocated by tectonics);
  • Field seismic studies (identification of sedimentary patterns, detection of dislocations in crystalline rocks);
  • Field magnetic and gravimetric studies (revealing blocks composed of minimal types of crystalline rocks with minimal density gradient);
  • Indicator studies (gas surveys) for groundbased verification of aerospace image data decoding;
  • Siting of exploration boreholes, borehole drilling with detailed sampling and testing (to obtain data for an assessment of radioactive waste disposal safety);
  • Processing and interpretation of drilling and test studies data with subsequent verification of groundwater flow and transport models;
  • Development of refined groundwater flow and transport models as well as simulation tests;
  • Assessment of the longterm safety of radioactive waste disposal systems using data obtained to plan further studies.

Innovative Aspect and Main Advantages

In contrast to a mined geological repository, the degree of safety of waste disposal in borehole repositories is assured primarily by natural barriers (depth of waste package allocation, stagnant water exchange and lengthy pathways of radionuclide migration towards biosphere) rather than by engineered safeguards. Up to now the practical experience of siting waste repository has been obtained only for the case of mined repositories.

Basic advantages include:

  • The proposed technique makes it possible to decrease costs and speed-up selection of promising sites by discriminating areas of a few dozen km2 out of larger regions tens of thousands km2.
  • This technique enables selection of promising sites within crystalline rocks even in the presence of thick sedimentary covers;
  • The technique is based on the application of remote methods.

Areas of Application

This technique has been developed for early-stage DGR borehole siting. The DGR boreholes may be utilized for the disposal of the highly-hazardous radio-active wastes: spent nuclear fuel, vitrified high-level wastes, and long-lived intermediate level wastes.

Fig. 1 Promising areas of the Veresnia study site (marked by
blue hash lines) as revealed by the technique presented here

Stage of Development

The first stages of this technique (i.e., without drilling) have been utilized to ascertain the geological conditions of the northern areas of the "Ukrainian Shield" within the Korostensky pluton as well as within the 30-km Chornobyl Exclusion Zone.

Contact Details

Radioenvironmental Centre of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
55b Olesja Honchara St.., Kyiv 01054, Ukraine
Vyacheslav Shestopalov,
Tel.: + 38-044-4868272,
Fax: + 38-044-4861417
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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