Glossar

 

Volumes of radioactive waste

Radioactive waste arises in manageable volumes

The five Swiss nuclear power plants produce around 75 tons of spent fuel assemblies per year. For an operating lifetime of the plants of 47 (Mühleberg) respectively 60 years, this will result in a total of around 4600 tons. After packaging in disposal containers, the volume will be around 8500 cubic metres, which corresponds roughly to the volume of eight single family homes.

For an operating lifetime of 47 (Mühleberg) respectively 60 years for the five nuclear power plants, Nagra has calculated that the total volume of low- and intermediate-level waste (including disposal containers) will be around 67,500 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 26,500 cubic metres of low- and intermediate-level waste. The total volume of approximate 100,000 cubic metres corresponds to the part of the main hall of Zürich railway station shown in the photograph.

The total volume of waste packaged for disposal is around 100,000 cubic metres and is made up of the following:

  • Spent fuel assemblies, around 1/3 of which will be reprocessed
  • Waste from the dismantling of nuclear installations (nuclear power plants and research facilities)
  • Waste from medicine, industry and research up to the middle of the 21st century

Waste volumes 2015

The volume of 100,000 cubic metres corresponds more or less to the part of the main hall of Zürich railway station shown here

Photo: © Comet Photoshopping, Dieter Enz