WASTE DRUMS MEASUREMENTS
J.L. Dufour, B.Autrusson, P. Funk, ESARDA, Luxembourg, 28-30 mai 2001
French ministerial directive of June 1988 gives the technical conditions for control and accountancy of nuclear materials contained in solid waste. As far as the nuclear materials follow-up is concerned, this text states that any nuclear material (plutonium or high enriched uranium) declared as waste should be characterized. For other materials, best estimates are allowed. Reversibility possibility (from waste to usable material) was not considered. After 14 years of experience, it is possible to assess the efficiency of this regulation with regard to the need to know the quality and quantity of nuclear materials in nuclear waste.It is the operator’s responsibility to declare as «waste» a nuclear material whose use is no longer economically profitable, generally due to low concentration of those materials. It is worth pointing out that the French regulation considers nuclear materials all along the fuel cycle (excluding ores) up to waste disposal with the adapted regime for waste mentioned above. That means that, for instance, uranium ores with a uranium concentration level of 1% currently met is not taken into account. That means also that nuclear materials in similar concentration could be legible to be treated as waste but possibly also to be exempted from French domestic safeguards. The experience gained from the French safeguards inspections shows a variety of «waste» from scraped materials to contaminated items, especially in facilities under dismantling. Setting concentration levels could help to reduce those discrepancies and either to define a safeguards termination for those materials or to harmonize what could be labeled as waste in different facilities.