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FIGURE 1 Model of the life cycle of a radioactive waste (RW) storage facility.

In geological engineering research it is necessary to take into account the entire range of legislation concerning the problem of managing radioactive wastes and spent nuclear fuel, as well as existing regulatory documents used in obtaining initial data for the design and construction of special underground structures. As shown in Table 1 the legislative and regulatory base for the creation of underground radioactive waste storage facilities includes the following related groups of documents:

  • documents regulating activities at the federal level

  • regulatory documents defining activities at all stages of prospecting, design, construction, and operation of the storage facility

The most important point in the process is the selection of the site where the underground facility will be constructed. A model for the selection of a promising site on the basis of programs was developed in accordance with the requirements of regulatory documents and with the correlation of the scope of research with the various design stages.

According to the regional approach that has been developed in Russia with regard to the selection of geologic sites for permanent isolation, it is most expedient to have the burial sites near the waste sources. Purposeful research for the high-level waste geological isolation has been done in the two areas where the Mayak Production Association (Chelyabinsk Oblast) and the Mining-Chemical



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