ONDRAF-NIRAS has recently selected a Supercontainer with a Portland Cement (PC) buffer as the preferred new reference design for disposal of HLW and spent fuel. The selection process involved a multi-criteria analysis of alternative design options, which were evaluated against a range of long-term safety and feasibility criteria. A PC concrete has been chosen for the buffer because this will provide a highly alkaline chemical environment, which will last for thousands of years. In this environment the external surface of the overpack will be passivated and overpack corrosion will be inhibited. The concrete buffer also has low-hydraulic conductivity to slow the infiltration of external fluids to the overpack surface, and provides radiological shielding.
ONDRAF-NIRAS has made a preliminary evaluation of the viability of the reference Supercontainer design. The following areas were reviewed and investigated: radiolysis, thermo-hydraulic (TH) behaviour of the concrete buffer, metal corrosion, the chemical and mineralogical evolution of the concrete buffer, and relevant industrial experience. This paper describes the main findings, and identifies remaining design and performance uncertainties. Prioritisation and recommendations for future work are also given.