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Supervision of radioactive waste management
The main task of the state radiation protection supervision of radioactive waste management is to estimate and control how natural persons and legal entities follow the requirements laid down in the legal documents on radioactive waste (hereinafter – radwaste) management to ensure radiation protection of workers, members of public and the environment.

Radioactive waste
Radwaste – substances contaminated with or containing radionuclides at concentrations or activity greater than clearance levels and for which no further use is foreseen.
Radwaste is generated while conducting activities with the sources of ionizing radiation in:
• Industry (charge neutralizers, high activity gamma sources, smoke detectors, level gauges, etc.);
• Personal health care institutions (radio-pharmaceuticals used for clinical research, disease treatment, disused brachytherapy sources, disused sources of radiotherapy, etc.);
• Science and education institutions (disused calibration sources, open sources, etc.);
• Nuclear facilities (radwaste is generated during the operation and decommissioning of nuclear facilities).

The majority of radwaste is generated at nuclear facilities and all rest radwaste producers are so called “small-scale producers”.

In order to ensure radiation protection of workers’, members’ of public and the environment radwaste must be managed in such a way that the public and the environment would be protected from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation at present and in the future.

Competence of Radiation protection centre in state supervision of radioactive waste management

According to the provisions laid down in Laws of the Republic of Lithuania – Law on Radiation Protecion, Law on Radioactive Waste Management, Law on Nuclear Energy, Law on Nuclear Safety and Law on Environmental Impact Assessment of the Proposed Economic Activity – Radiation Protection Centre (hereinafter – RPC) performs the following radwaste management-related functions:
• issues licenses or temporary permits to handle (carry out pre-treatment of radwaste (collect, sort, decontaminate), carry out treatment of radwaste, store) and transpot radwaste except for the practices in the area of nuclear energy involving sources of ionising radiation;
• issues permits for import, export and shipment within the Republic of Lithuania of radwaste generated during a non-nuclear fuel cycle;
• exercises state radiation protection supervision of radwaste management in personal health care institutions, industry, science and education institutions;
• controls implementation of the preventative measures that are used for warning about occurrence of the orphan sources of ionizing radiation and the objects contaminated with radionuclides, and monitors handling of the objects contaminated with radionuclides;
• prepares the rules for decontamination of non-nuclear energy installations, land and buildings contaminated with radionuclides;
• establishes clearance levels of radionuclides for the materials generated during the activities involving sources of ionizing radiation, except for activities in the area of nuclear energy;
• prepares the requirements and rules regulating safety of radwaste management at non-nuclear installations;
• provides the findings on eligibility of the closed radwaste repositories radiological monitoring (monitoring) program to the Ministry of Health;
• provides the findings on the report of the evaluation of the construction site of a nuclear installation to the Ministry of Health;
• on assignment of the Ministry of Health participates in the process of the environmental impact assessment of nuclear installations and in appraisal of a possible impact of nuclear installations on the public health;

Principles of radioactive waste management

According to the recommendations of International Atomic Energy Agency, radwaste must be managed following these basic principles, ensuring that:

• at all stages of the radwaste management, by applying appropriate methods, each individual and the environment in the Republic of Lithuania and beyond its borders are adequately protected against radiological, biological, chemical and other hazards that may be associated with radwaste;
• efforts are made to avoid actions that impose reasonably predictable consequences on future generations greater than those permitted for the current generation and to avoid imposing undue burdens on future generations;
• the generation of radwaste is kept to the minimum;
• interdependencies among the different steps in the radwaste management are taken into account;
• safety of radwaste management facilities is guaranteed during their operating lifetime and afterwards.

These basic principles are legitimized by Law on Radioactive Waste Management.

The Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management (hereinafter – Joint Convention) has been signed and ratified by Lithuania in 2003 aiming to implement internationally accepted principles of radwaste management.

Radioactive waste management strategy

The main radwaste management policies with regard to nuclear energy development plans, the latest national and international environmental, nuclear and radiation protection requirements and the Joint Convention are laid down in Radioactive Waste Management Strategy (hereinafter - the Strategy). This Strategy foresees radwaste management goals and objectives for ongoing radwaste management operations continue to prepare properly disassemble the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (hereinafter - the Ignalina NPP), as well as to prepare for using the latest technologies to manage the new nuclear power plant radwaste.

Radwaste shall be collected, sorted, treated, handled, reprocessed, shipped, stored, decontaminated, disposed or discharged into the environment pursuant to the laws and other legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania.

Exempt waste. Waste containing radionuclide concentrations below clearance levels shall be classified as exempt waste. In this case further application of radiation protection requirements against harmful effects of ionizing radiation is not required.

The requirements for the limitation of radioactive discharges to the environment, terms of obtaining permits to discharge radionuclides to the requirements for environmental radiological monitoring designing, conducting or planning to engage in activities with the sources of ionizing radiation are laid down in the Order of Minister of Health Care No. V-900 Concerning the Approval of procedure on authorization of health care, industrial, with the exception of nuclear facilities, agricultural facilities and scientific research to discharge radionuclides to the environment (adopted on 13 October 2011).

Small-scale producers’ radioactive waste management

The main requirements for small-scale producers’ radwaste management are laid down in Lithuanian Hygiene Standard HN 89:2001 “Radioactive Waste Management” adopted by the Order of Minister of Health Care No. 121 on 19 February 2001.

Small-scale radwaste producers shall:
• seek the generation of radwaste to be kept to the minimum;
• apply management methods and techniques that are admissible to the regulatory authority.

General radiation protection requirements for workers and the public are set by the Law on Radiation Protection and Hygiene Standard HN 73:2001 “Basic Standard of Radiation Protection” adopted by the Order of Minister of Health Care No. 663 on 21 December 2001.

Orphan sources of ionizing radiation (as radwaste) and radioactive contamination of objects are managed by using state and municipal institutions’ funds. In extreme events or extreme environmental radiological contamination cases – the handling is financed from the state budget. If the persons responsible for acquisition, storage, transport or manufacture, handling of orphan sources of ionizing radiation or radiologically contaminated objects are identified – handling costs are recovered from the perpetrators.

State Enterprise Radioactive Waste Management Agency (RATA) performs radioactive waste management activities. More information www.rata.lt

 Closed Maišiagala radioactive waste storage facility
 
The Mašiagala radon type storage facility has been operated from 1963 to 1988. In this facility radwaste generated in medicine, industry, science and education facilities was placed. Radwaste consists of calibration instruments, chemical compounds, charge eliminators, high activity gamma sources, smoke detectors, solid radwaste (such as plastic, special closes, wood etc.). The facility consists of a subsurface concrete vault (See fig. 1) with an overall volume of about 200 m3. The vault was filled to about 60%. Vault was grouted inside the disposal cells and the repository has been covered by a concrete blocks, bitumen, asphalt and earth.
At present this facility is closed and all radwaste of small-scale producers is transported to Ignalina NPP.

Radioactive waste management agency (RATA) is the operator of Maišiagala facility since 2002.
Since 2006 RATA is licenced operator of Maišiagala facility. RPC participated in the licensing process. In 2006 PHARE project was implemented Safety Analysis Report and upgrading works of Maišiagala facility were done (more information www.rata.lt).


                     Fig. 1. Closed Maišiagala radioactive waste storage facility (source www.rata.lt)

RPC took part in the process of issuing the license (for RATA) for surveillance of Maišiagala storage facility in 2006.

RPC analyzes and evaluates radiological environmental monitoring data of Maišiagala facility. RATA carries out environmental monitoring and provides quarterly and annual reports to RPC.

Noticeable decrease of tritium activity in control wells (located around the facility) is related to upgrading works of Maišiagala facility – installed engineered barriers reduced infiltration of rainfall and migration of radionuclides in to groundwater.

On the basis conservative estimations of the RATA’s annual environmental monitoring data (not taking in to account the dispersion of radionuclides in the environment) the maximum effective dose would be no more than a few percent of the limit of annual effective dose size of the population – 0,2 mSv.

Seeking to ensure public health RPC carries out radiological monitoring of Maišiagala facility and its surroundings. Every spring and autumn water and samples are collected and tested, dose rate of the area is measured, food chain related samples in Maišiagala facility area and surrounding forests (sap of birch trees, mushrooms, berries) are gathered and tested. In the majority water samples tritium volumetric activity is at background levels, neither tritium detected in sap of birch trees nor in the water outside Maišiagala facility area.

Each year, the mushroom samples are collected in Maišiagala facility and surrounding forests. Average value of 137Cs in various types of mushrooms samples repository area and the area close to the fence, the average value of mushrooms collected from one kilometer from the store.

The findings of annual radiological monitoring confirm that radionuclides do not enter drinking water or food.
 
Last update 2014-03-25

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