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Greater-Than-Class-C Low-Level Radioactive Waste EIS
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Frequently Asked Questions

Disposal Methods for Greater-Than-Class C Waste

Several disposal options for GTCC waste are being evaluated in the EIS.

Disposal Methods

Graph of Waste Isolation Depths.click to view larger image
Waste Isolation Depths

The Draft GTCC EIS evaluates a range of disposal methods: geologic repository (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant); intermediate depth borehole; enhanced near surface trench, and above-grade vault. These methods are described as follows:

 

Disposal in Geologic Repositories

Geologic disposal involves placement of the waste in mined cavities deep beneath the earth's surface. This method is currently being used for the disposal of defense transuranic (TRU) waste at WIPP. Pictures of TRU waste disposal activities at WIPP are shown below.



Photo of drilling at WIPP.click to view larger image
Excavation at WIPP
Photo of TRU Disposal at WIPP.click to view larger image
TRU Waste Disposal
Photo of TRU Disposal at WIPP.click to view larger image
TRU Handling



Intermediate Depth Borehole Disposal

Diagram of borehole.click to view larger image
Conceptual Borehole Facility

Intermediate depth borehole disposal involves the use of drilling equipment to construct a deep borehole (deeper than 30 meters) in the ground. The wastes are then placed in the borehole up to about 30 meters from the surface, and the remaining space is filled with clean soil. Shown to the right is a schematic diagram of a conceptual borehole facility.



Enhanced Near-Surface Disposal (Trench and Above Grade Vault)

Enhanced near-surface disposal (trench and above grade vault) involves the placement of the wastes in engineered trenches, vaults, or other similar facilities. The containment characteristics of these disposal facilities are enhanced by incorporating features such as barriers, deeper depth to disposal, and enhanced waste packaging. Shown below are conceptual designs for an enhanced near-surface trench and above grade vault facility.

 

Diagram of enhanced near surface disposal facility.click to view larger image
Conceptual Enhanced Near Surface Facility
Diagram of above grade vault facility.click to view larger image
Conceptual Above Grade Vault Facility



Links to additional information on this topic are also available on the Links page.