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Disposal chain

The term "disposal chain" refers to the overall waste management process, from production of the waste material through to its disposal. Radioactive waste first has to be processed, then placed in interim storage before it can be transferred to a deep geological repository. Each step in the process is supervised by federal bodies.
 Source: ENSI
Radioactive waste arises at all stages of electricity production using nuclear power plants and each is allotted to a waste category on the basis of its specific properties (radioactivity, decay time). The method of disposal varies according to the waste category: thus a distinction is made between the method of disposal for low and intermediate level waste and that for the disposal of high-level waste.

The Swiss Federal Nuclear Energy Act stipulates that the use of radioactive matter must result in as little waste material as possible. All waste material that is produced despite this minimisation requirement first has to be brought into a stable state (i.e., conditioned) and packed in suitable receptacles (concrete containers, steel safety tanks). It is transferred to interim storage facilities until such time as deep geological repositories are available.

Related documents

Fact sheet: Conditioning
Fact sheet: Interim storage
Fact sheet: Method of disposal for low and intermediate level waste
Fact sheet: Method of disposal for high-level waste fact sheet

Further information

Radioactive waste
Contact: Seraina Branschi
Last update: 30.11.2011

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