In China, the national programme for the final disposal of radioactive waste is being pushed ahead steadily.
The first repository for low and intermediate-level waste was commissioned in 1999, a second one in 2016. The repositories are designed according to internationally recognised scientific and technical standards. In view of the size of the country and the expected volume of waste, further regional repositories are to be built. As in Germany, the possibility of converting existing mines into repositories is being considered.
Granite and clay sites are to be investigated for high-level waste. An underground laboratory has already been built in the host rock granite. A region for a repository in the host rock clay is currently being searched for. Parallel to gaining knowledge about the host rocks considered in China, various disposal concepts and corresponding material properties will be investigated.
Due to the existing experience at DBE TECHNOLOGY GmbH, two experts were invited by CNPE to Beijing from October 30th to November 2nd to report on the developments and the status of the projects in Germany. The Morsleben and Konrad projects were highlighted with the main developments, but also the greatest challenges and developments in transport and disposal technologies for high level waste. The intensive discussions were fruitful for both sides. A further exchange of the parts is planned accordingly.
CNPE (China Nuclear Power Engineering Co., Ltd.) emerged in 2007 from existing organisations as a planning and execution office for CNNC (China National Nuclear Corporation) and employs over 5400 people in more than 70 specialist areas. In 2013, CNPE established the Disposal Centre of Radioactive Waste for concept development and R&D activities as part of the national geological repository programme.
The stay in Beijing was also used for a meeting with the Engineering Construction Management Center of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and with BRIUG (Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology), with which a long-standing cooperation already exists.