On behalf of the Republic of Austria, Nuclear Engineering Seibersdorf GmbH (NES), represented by the Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism (BMNT), handles the treatment of radioactive waste generated in Austria from collection through sorting, processing, conditioning and interim storage. The term limit of the relevant three-party contract between BMNT, NES and Seibersdorf (disposal contract) runs until 31/12/2045. By this time, a solution to the final disposal site for radioactive waste must be found.
Two main objectives are being pursued in waste management:
- Turning the waste into a physically and chemically stable form and containing it in a container; this will allow longer-term interim storage and secure the safe isolation of radioactivity from the environment
- Minimisation of waste volume; the volume of radioactive waste should be minimised as much as possible, since this minimises the costs of permanent disposal and at the same time keeps the burden on future generations as low as possible
Extensive facilities are available at NES to achieve the stated objectives. The main systems are briefly described below:
Takeover building (TOB):
The building is used for waste collection, initial characterization and documentation. The entire material flow into the company premises (radiation area) and out of the company premises runs through the TOB.
TOB (takeover building and warehouse 1A)
For intermediate buffering of unconditioned waste before processing or between individual process steps, several buffer storage halls are available on the premises of the NES, in which the waste can be sorted by category and stored separately.
Starting from the buffer storage halls, the waste is brought into a wide variety of treatment facilities, depending on the type of waste. This includes the New Handling Center (for non-combustible solid radioactive waste), the incineration plant (for combustible radioactive waste) and the Water purification facility (for liquid, non-combustible radioactive waste).