A geological disposal facility (GDF) will include fissile materials that could, under certain conditions, lead to criticality. Demonstration of criticality safety therefore forms an important part of a GDF's safety case.
Containment provided by the waste package will contribute to criticality safety during package transport and the GDF operational phase. The GDF multiple-barrier system will ensure that criticality is prevented for some time after facility closure. However, on longer post-closure timescales, conditions in the GDF will evolve and it is necessary to demonstrate: an understanding of the conditions under which criticality could occur; the likelihood of such conditions occurring; and the consequences of criticality should it occur.
Work has addressed disposal of all of the UK's higher-activity wastes in three illustrative geologies. This paper, however, focuses on presenting results to support safe disposal of spent fuel, plutonium and highlyenriched uranium in higher-strength rock.
The results support a safety case assertion that post-closure criticality is of low likelihood and, if it was to occur, the consequences would be tolerable.