The General Plan for Radioactive Waste (GPRW) applies to all radioactive waste and is the primary reference document for the strategies and actions to be carried out in Spain in various fields of radioactive waste management and decommissioning, along with the relevant economic and financial study. It also presents the main data related to the generation of radioactive waste, disposal programs, facility capacity, costs and revenues, etc., so that, overall, it has its own identity to be configured as a compendium of planning in this area in Spain. It is approved by the Consejo de Ministros (Council of Ministers) and is reviewed and updated periodically. Since the creation of ENRESA, there have been six revisions of the General Plan for Radioactive Waste, which have marked the main priorities and objectives of integrated waste management system of IBERDROLA, as owner and operator of nuclear plants that have been incorporated, developed and implemented.
The Consejo de Seguridad Nuclear (Council of Nuclear Security), the responsible body in Spain for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Plans, approves Waste Management of Nuclear Power Plants and conducts periodic inspections to verify compliance. Additionally, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as the international body responsible for fulfilling the No Proliferation Treaty, controls the inventory of spent fuel stored in pools at power plants.
The General Plan for Radioactive Waste is published with the aim of improving the management of waste generated at each facility. In particular, IBERDROLA maintains the inventory of waste, minimizes its generation, recycles and recovers waste to the extent that it is technically and economically feasible, and prepares the waste materials (final waste) for management. The General Radioactive Waste Plan also serves to ensure that no radioactive waste is managed by conventional means and to forecast all types of radioactive waste that can be generated, including that from dismantling.
The General Radioactive Waste Plan considers the risks, both radiological and otherwise, that are associated with radioactive waste, to define global solutions. The General Radioactive Waste Plan at IBERDROLA serves as a:
The General Radioactive Waste Plan establishes the management lines for all types of solid radioactive waste and spent fuel and associated temporary storage, so that:
To obtain the authorization of exploitation, IBERDROLA´s nuclear power plants must submit to authorities a Waste Management Plan for each facility, which states the criteria and methods that ensure that waste management is safe, traceable, and takes into account:
As indicated above, IBERDROLA applies the general principle for reduction, reutilization, separation, recycling and recovery in radioactive waste management. Reduction is based on the contained use of raw materials and the restriction of materials and products entering the radiological controlled area to avoid possible radioactive contamination. Further application of this principle includes significant reductions in generation achieved through:
IBERDROLA applies the principle of reutilization by encouraging additional use of materials which have been found clean and without risk to personnel and pollution control (reuse of personnel working clothing prior to washing, personal tools…). The principles of separation and recycling try to manage all of the waste including that which is radioactive, following the criteria for minimization at the source (for which infrastructure has been implemented to separate the waste at collection points where products are collected separately and, where necessary, adopting human resources that perform specific tasks of direct measurement of radioactive waste, to select and separate those without contamination). The promotion of reutilization, as well as separation, and recycling is done in the training sessions taught by staff in aspects of environmental and radiation protection. In regard to recovery, IBERDROLA processes with authorized managers all collected sub products (paper, cardboard, scrap metal, plastic,…) with the aim of giving value to these materials as a solution before considering them waste.
In addition to always prioritizing the minimization of waste generation, IBERDROLA works with competent bodies to obtain authorizations clearance of radioactive waste from regulatory control, such as waste oil or sludge of very low activity, melting of big and heavy slightly contaminated components, etc. In these cases, management at IBERDROLA is based on reducing the generation of radioactive waste by following the corresponding conditional authorization allowing the same treatment as conventional waste.
The performance indicators related to different types of radioactive waste as followed and monitored in the relevant committees of integrated management systems. All activities and processes involved with IBERDROLA generation, treatment and management of radioactive waste are monitored and audited by the quality assurance units, which are independent of the operational chain of command and only accountable to the chief operating officer of the nuclear power plant. This ensures the proper approach to monitoring activities, documentation, minimization and control of tasks and processes related to optimize radioactive waste generation.
Extensive Research and Development and Innovation is either promoted or supported by IBERDROLA in this area in coordination with ENRESA, R&D bodies and national authorities.
Safety assessments of different kinds and frequencies are carried out during the whole life of the projects. Specifically during the operation phase the following amongst others can be mentioned: annual quality assurance audits, biennial company safety review board audits, decennial comprehensive periodic safety review. All of these are performed by the licensee, in addition to the frequent audits performed by the regulatory authority.
Management procedures and approaches consider the impact on decommissioning wastes in all phases and at all times during the operational life of the plant. No unpredicted amount of decommissioning waste should be expected at the end of the operational lifetime.
During the operating life of the plant two kinds of radioactive waste may be generated:
IBERDROLA is paying fully for the provisions needed for decommissioning to the national fund managed by ENRESA according to the nuclear energy generated by their plants and following the stipulations of the General Plan for Radioactive Waste.