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Nuclear Safety Cooperation

Development of Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management Strategy for Armenia (A4.01/09)

Status
Closed
Armenia
Benefitting Zone
Western Asia
€ 902,018.78
EU Contribution
Contracted in 2013
INSC
Programme
Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation

Details

Type of activity

Waste Management

Nature

Services

Contracting authority

European Commission

Method of Procurement

(FR2012) (Ext. act) Service - International Restricted Procedure with prior publication (Art. '5.1(a)(i) & 2 RAP)

Duration

27/09/2013 - 26/09/2015

Contractor

ITER CONSULT SRL

Project / Budget year

Nuclear Safety Operations - Action Programme 2009 - Armenia / 2009

Objectives

OBJECTIVES
The overall objectives of the project A4.01/09 were:

1) to assist Armenian national organizations in the development of a national strategy for management of Radioactive Waste (RW) and Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF), including a preliminary investigation on possible sites of national RW disposal facility(ies), and

2) to improve the system for accounting and control of radioactive waste in line with international requirements and recommendations.

The specific objectives were:
a) A strategy for radioactive waste management including:
• Establishment of a national RW inventory
• Options for RW processing, storage and disposal
• Management of all future radioactive waste streams in Armenia
• Preliminary investigation of potential sites for a national RW disposal facility(ies)
• Development of a national system for radioactive waste accounting and control in Armenia
• Funding mechanism(s)
b) A strategy for the management of spent fuel (as a separate chapter of the document to be developed in (a))
c) A RW database in line with best international practice

Results

The project consisted of six tasks, of which the first one was project preparation, and last one final reporting and dissemination of the results. The results of tasks 2-5 are briefly summarised below.

TASK 2: DETAILED ASSESSMENT OF THE PRESENT SITUATION REGARDING RW AND SNF MANAGEMENT IN ARMENIA
In this task, the current situation in Armenia as regard as radioactive waste and spent fuel management was analysed, and the Armenian regulatory and institutional framework was compared with international standards. The task included visit to Italian RW management facilities and organisations, and a workshop for Armenian stakeholders to present and discuss the current situation in Armenia.

TASK 3: REVIEW THE EXISTING NATIONAL POLICY REGARDING THE MANAGEMENT OF RW AND SNF
In task 3, the existing national policy for the management of radioactive waste and spent fuel in Armenia was reviewed to identify the current policy elements and any missing policy issues in the Armenian legislation. Based on the review, a proposal for the update of the policy for the management of radioactive waste and spent fuel in Armenia was made. Some amendments to the regulations were proposed in order to comply with the updated policy.

TASK 4: DEVELOPMENT OF A RW AND SNF STRATEGY
Task 4 had the main objective of defining and proposing a draft strategy for the management of RW and SNF for Armenia. A key issue for the country is the identification of the final disposal of RW, and thus all preliminary activities for selecting and identifying suitable sites for national RW disposal, based on available data in Armenia, were carried out.
The proposed strategy is to plan for a very long-term dry storage of spent fuel, considering the adoption of the most flexible technology to create a facility totally independent from ANPP (Armenian Nuclear Power Plant) systems and structures that should be decommissioned before the end of the storage planning period.
Considering the significant uncertainties existing in the long timeframe covered by the strategy, the proposed strategy was compared with other alternatives for spent fuel management that may become feasible. For this alternative strategy, long-term storage alternatives advantages and disadvantages were documented, both dry and wet storage technologies, but any other alternative to the proposed base strategy appears either not feasible or not convenient in the current situation.

TASK 5: GUIDANCE ON THE IMPROVEMENT OF EXISTING NATIONAL SYSTEM FOR RW ACCOUNTING AND CONTROL IN ARMENIA AND ESTABLISHMENT OF A RW INVENTORY DATABASE
The first part of task 5 focused on guidance on RW accounting and control covered elaboration of a document for the radioactive waste accountancy and for the control of all radioactive waste generated and to be generated in Armenia.

The second part consisted of establishing a RW inventory database with detailed instructions for data collection and use of the database based on the guidance on RW accounting and control in Armenia. This enables the Beneficiary/End Users to use the database in the future in order to develop and update the national RW inventory.

Conclusions and recommendations

In this project, a draft national strategy document for safe management of all radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel in Armenia has been developed, as well as a database and guidance on improvement the national system for radioactive waste accounting and control.

There are several recommendations concerning the updating of the national policy, and developing the regulatory framework accordingly. A strong support should be given to the creation of a national Waste Management Organization that should have the responsibility of integrating and optimizing the entire waste management cycle. Appropriate education and training programs should be established in Armenian universities and institutes to ensure the competence of personnel in future. Armenia should follow international developments in nuclear fuel cycle and geological disposal areas to find out any need to redefine the strategic approach for spent fuel management. It is recommended to establish the funding and other financing mechanisms for the safe management of RW and SNF.

It is advisable to set a long-term interim storage strategy. Dry storage technology is the best choice and a management program should be put in place after approval of the government and consideration of the most recent international R&D results, standards and regulations.

A comprehensive inventory of present and anticipated radioactive waste inventory is an important input to developing national strategies for implementing radioactive waste management policy and preparing national programmes for RW and SNF management. The proposal for RW accounting and control system in Armenia took into consideration current status in the country on RW, and was developed based on the best international approaches.

The introduction of electronic based RW database system in Armenia will assure better records, improve possibilities for RW planning and address the needed control of the RW inventory.