An SAC committee of five of the Republic of Bulgaria rejected the complaint against an SAC decision dated 15th November last year concerning the legitimacy of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) of the facility. This means that the Minister of Environment and Water’s decision from 2016 for approval of the realization of the investment suggestion for construction of the National Repository for Disposal of Radioactive Waste (SD NDF) is in force and there are no obstacles in regards to the facility construction. The decision is final and not subjected to appeal. It was published yesterday, 13th August 2019.
Modern-day society generates low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste constantly. In areas like energetics, medicine, industry, agriculture and science, such waste is generated daily. Even devices that we use in everyday life such as fire detectors, for example, turn to radioactive waste at some point. Their management includes purposeful and planned collection, treatment and responsible disposal. In order for the management cycle to be complete, the treated and conditioned waste must be disposed forever in a permanent facility that guarantees permanent and reliable isolation from man and environment.
The implementation of this complex project was assigned through a government decision to State Enterprise “Radioactive Waste” (SERAW) in 2005. Since then, the entire process has been conducted through an active information policy, while the plans for the NDF construction are subjected to mass public discussion.
In 2011, the investment proposal for “Construction of National Disposal Facility for Low and Intermediate-level Radioactive Waste” was presented in detail at three public hearings: Kozloduy, Harlets and Bechet in Romania.
In 2015, SERAW organized a series of public hearing meetings for the updated NDF’s Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIA Report). Back then, the Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW) defined 11 locations, where public hearings took place: Kozloduy Municipality and the village of Harlets, where the Radiana site is located, as well as the municipalities of Miziya, Vulchedram, Hayredin, Oryahovo, Borovan, Lom, Krivodol, Boychinovtsi and Byala Slatina. The report or the long summary attached thereto, along with books and blank forms for statements were made available to public access at 51 different locations within the 30-kilometer zone around Kozloduy NPP, where Radiana site is located.
The complete EIA Report and all the supporting documents – in English and Bulgarian language, were published in advance within the legally established deadlines on the webpages of SERAW, MOEW and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
In 2016, SERAW conducted a public hearing on the NDF project in the city of Kraiova, Romania.
On 23rd December 2016 MOEW issued an EIA Decision № 7-7/2016 for approval of the implementation of Construction of National Disposal Facility – NDF, using a technology for disposal of low and intermediate-level radioactive waste and multi-barrier engineering near-surface trench type facility with State Enterprise Radioactive Waste as an Employer.
On 5th May 2017, the Nuclear Regulatory Agency’s Chairman issued a Construction Permit for NDF. On 9th June 2017, a Construction Permit for NDF on the Radiana site was published in the State Gazette, issued to SERAW by the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works (Construction Permit № РС-21/25.05.2017).
The site for the future facility is located right next to Kozloduy NPP, in the two-kilometer zone with controlled access to the power plant, on the territory of the village of Harlets, Kozloduy Municipality.
The National Disposal Facility is a facility with a multi-barrier defence for permanent storage of radioactive waste, brought into a safe condition in advance and conditioned in reinforced concrete containers (RCC). The facility will be a near-surface trench type with a capacity of 19 thousand RCC. The facility will consist of 66 reinforced concrete constructions (disposal cells), divided into three disposal platforms. The cells are divided by internal partition walls into sections. After filling with packages (RCC), the cells will be covered with a reinforced concrete plate and insulated from the atmospheric water through the construction of a multi-layer protective cover. The facility is intended to be in operation, i.e. to be gradually filled up for a period of 60 years. Afterwards, it is envisaged to be closed. Throughout the entire operation period and in the next 300 years, the facility will be subject to constant control by the competent authorities. The National Disposal Facility will be one of the state-of-the-art facilities of this type in Europe.
When built, the National Disposal Facility will accept treated and safely encapsulated low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste, generated solely on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria.