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Report No.

International collaboration in assessment of radiological impacts arising from releases to the biosphere after disposal of radioactive waste into geological repositories

Smith, G.*; Kato, Tomoko 

Geological disposal is designed to provide safe containment of radioactive waste for very long times, with the containment provided by a combination of engineered and geological barriers. In the extreme long term, after many thousands of years or longer, residual amounts of long-lived radionulides such as Cl-36, but also radionuclides in the natural decay chains, may be released into the environment normally accessed and used by humans, termed here, the biosphere. It is necessary to ensure that any such releases meet radiation protection objectives through the development of a safety case, which will include assessment of radiation doses to humans. The design of such dose calculations over such long timeframes is not straightforward, because of the range of potentially relevant assumptions which could be made, concerning environmental change and changes in human behavior. The issue has therefore been subject to international cooperation for many years. This paper summarizes the evolution and results of that collaboration leading up to the present day, taking account of developments in international recommendations on radiation protection objectives and the more recent greater focus on preparation of site specific safety cases.



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