Glossar

 

Volumes of radioactive waste

Radioactive waste arises in manageable volumes

The five Swiss nuclear power plants produce around 70 tons of spent fuel assemblies per year. For an operating lifetime of 47 years for Mühleberg and 60 years for the other plants, this will result in a total of around 4100 tons. Around 1140 tons will be reprocessed and the resulting high-level waste packaged in disposal containers. The packaged spent fuel assemblies and high-level waste will have a volume of around 9400 cubic metres, which corresponds roughly to the volume of eight single family homes.

For an operating lifetime of 47 years for Mühleberg and 60 years for the other nuclear power plants, Nagra has calculated that the total volume of low- and intermediate-level waste (including disposal containers) will be around 63,000 cubic metres. Around half of this is waste produced by the dismantling of the power plants. Waste from medicine, industry and research (MIR waste) makes up an additional volume of approximately 20,000 cubic metres of low- and intermediate-level waste.

The total volume of around 90,000 cubic metres of waste packaged for disposal corresponds to the part of the main hall of Zürich railway station shown in the photograph. The composition of the waste is shown in the following table.

Waste volumes 2015

The volume of 90,000 cubic metres corresponds more or less to the part of the main hall of Zürich railway station shown here

Photo: © Comet Photoshopping, Dieter Enz

How much waste exists already?