Frequently asked questions

How is the waste stored at Petten?
The waste is stored safely at the Waste Storage Facility in a large concrete silo containing specialplugs. Eventuallu there were around 1700 cans of historical waste here, now over 400 cans have been transported to COVRA. The capacity of these cans is 35 litres. The cans contain various types of solid radioactive waste such as the residue from irradiation experiments at the HFR, tools, instruments, rags and paper.

Why is the waste first stored in the Waste Storage Facility before it is transported away?
The radioactive waste must be delivered to COVRA already separated. The waste in the cans must therefore be separated and sorted first. The low activity waste is sent to COVRA immediately. The other radioactive waste is sent to an external service provider in batches for efficient processing after which it is taken to COVRA. Before this radioactive waste can be transported, a special transfer unit must be built to allow the waste to be loaded into a transport container.

How does NRG manage the safe disposal of the damaged cans?
Some cans (in which PVC is also packaged) are known to be corroded. The interaction of the ionizing radiation with the PVC causes a chemical reaction producing hydrochloric acid, corroding the cans. The storage plugs themselves are in good condition. The storage is safe, but these cans must be removed.
Special tools are being developed, known as the Waste Retrieval Unit Light, to lift out these corroded cans. More information about this may be found under Technical Equipment.

Can you say more about the plans?
The disposal of radioactive waste is a complex process involving different parties at home and abroad. All parties are taking the time necessary to allow this to be done carefully.