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Intermediate-level wastes (ILW) include substantial quantities of fissile material and controls are required to ensure that its storage, transport and disposal does not present a nuclear criticality hazard. This paper describes the Radioactive Waste Management Directorate's research to develop package fissile material limits (in the form of screening levels) for four different categories of ILW, defined according to uranium or plutonium composition: (1) irradiated natural and slightly enriched uranium (uranium containing up to 1.9 wt.% 235U); (2) low-enriched uranium (uranium containing up to 4 wt.% 235U); (3) high-enriched uranium (uranium containing up to 100 wt.% 235U); and (4) separated plutonium (plutonium containing up to 100 wt.% 239Pu).
The derivation of package screening levels was supported by neutron transport calculations that addressed conditions during waste package transport to a geological disposal facility (GDF), during the GDF operational phase and after GDF closure. The analysis included consideration of combinations of events and processes that could result in fissile material accumulation and concentration after GDF closure, when waste packages have deteriorated sufficiently for fissile material to be mobilized. The results of the calculations have provided input to Radioactive Waste Management Directorate's decision making on setting waste package screening levels.
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