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Reference Design and Operations for Deep Borehole Disposal of High-Level Radioactive Waste

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A reference design and operational procedures for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste in deep boreholes have been developed and documented.
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  SANDIA REPORT SAND2011-6749 Unlimited Release Printed October 2011 Reference Design and Operations for Deep Borehole Disposal of High-Level Radioactive Waste   Bill W. Arnold, Patrick V. Brady, Stephen J. Bauer, Courtney Herrick, Stephen Pye, and John Finger Prepared by Sandia National Laboratories  Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185 and Livermore, California 94550   Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory managed and operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000.  Approved for public release; further dissemination unlimited.  2   I ssued by Sandia National Laboratories, operated for the United States Department of Energy  by Sandia Corporation. NOTICE:  This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government, nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, nor any of their contractors, subcontractors, or their employees, make any warranty, express or implied, or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represent that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government, any agency thereof, or any of their contractors or subcontractors. The views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government, any agency thereof, or any of their contractors. Printed in the United States of America. This report has been reproduced directly from the best available copy. Available to DOE and DOE contractors from U.S. Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information P.O. Box 62 Oak Ridge, TN 37831 Telephone: (865) 576-8401 Facsimile: (865) 576-5728 E-Mail: reports@adonis.osti.gov Online ordering: http://www.osti.gov/bridge Available to the public from U.S. Department of Commerce  National Technical Information Service 5285 Port Royal Rd. Springfield, VA 22161 Telephone: (800) 553-6847 Facsimile: (703) 605-6900 E-Mail: orders@ntis.fedworld.gov Online order: http://www.ntis.gov/help/ordermethods.asp?loc=7-4-0#online   3   SAND2011-6749 Unlimited Release Printed October 2011 Reference Design and Operations for Deep Borehole Disposal of High-Level Radioactive Waste   Bill W. Arnold, Patrick V. Brady, Stephen J. Bauer, Stephen Pye, Courtney Herrick, and John Finger Sandia National Laboratories P.O. Box 5800 Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185-MS0778 Abstract A reference design and operational procedures for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste in deep boreholes have been developed and documented. The design and operations are feasible with currently available technology and meet existing safety and anticipated regulatory requirements. Objectives of the reference design include providing a baseline for more detailed technical analyses of system  performance and serving as a basis for comparing design alternatives.  Numerous factors suggest that deep borehole disposal of high-level radioactive waste is inherently safe. Several lines of evidence indicate that groundwater at depths of several kilometers in continental crystalline basement rocks has long residence times and low velocity. High salinity fluids have limited potential for vertical flow because of density stratification and prevent colloidal transport of radionuclides. Geochemically reducing conditions in the deep subsurface limit the solubility and enhance the retardation of key radionuclides. A non-technical advantage that the deep borehole concept may offer over a repository concept is that of facilitating incremental construction and loading at multiple perhaps regional locations. The disposal borehole would be drilled to a depth of 5,000 m using a telescoping design and would be logged and tested prior to waste emplacement. Waste canisters would be constructed of carbon steel, sealed by welds, and connected into canister strings with high-strength connections. Waste canister strings of about 200 m length would be emplaced in the lower 2,000 m of the fully cased borehole and be separated  by bridge and cement plugs. Sealing of the upper part of the borehole would be done with a series of compacted bentonite seals, cement plugs, cement seals, cement plus crushed rock backfill, and bridge plugs. Elements of the reference design meet technical requirements defined in the study. Testing and operational safety assurance  4   requirements are also defined. Overall, the results of the reference design development and the cost analysis support the technical feasibility of the deep  borehole disposal concept for high-level radioactive waste.
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