Past Events - May 7 1998

Ingo Beckmerhagen, a mechanical engineer of the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection visited the Whiteshell Laboratories of AECL on May 7 1998. While here, he gave a presentation to the CNS Manitoba Branch.

Quality Management for Design and Operation as Well as for the Surveillance of Radioactive Waste Repositories


Quality management (QM) and dependability management have an increasing importance to enhance the safety and safe operation of radioactive waste repositories, to determine appropriate maintenance and testing activities and to support the independent surveillance during the operation of these facilities.

In the Federal Republic of Germany the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) has the task of designing, constructing and operating repositories for radioactive waste. Moreover, the nuclear-specific surveillance of the operating repository is performed by an independent unit within the BfS.

The required safety of a repository constructed in a deep geological formation must be demonstrated according to the German "Safety Criteria for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste in a Mine" by a site-specific safety assessment including the overall geological situation, the technical concept of the repository and the waste packages. Therefore, QM procedures are elaborated which have to be applied by the applicant in the respective licensing procedure and by the operator for design and operation of radioactive repositories as well as for technical or administrative modifications in these phases.

In order to verify provably that the necessary precautionary measures against damage have been taken in the design phase and remain unchanged during construction and operation, the implementation of a quality management system is essential for a waste repository.

The general QM procedures for design, construction and operation of a repository such as review, approval and revision of records, performing of audits, handling of nonconformances and corrective actions will be outlined. Moreover, the task of the surveillance unit during the construction and operation of waste repositories is described and the QM procedures, such as for modifications and review and approval of modification records, to be followed are illustrated by some examples. Modification records contain the modification application form and all documents explaining the deviation of the operation or of a structure, system or component from the licensed status.

In the paper, the correlation between quality management and dependability management will be discussed for the lateral stacker truck as an example as well as the importance of an appropriate recording of, e.g., geological results, safety assessment calculations and quality records in order to ensure the safety of the waste repository.

It should be pointed out that on international level the necessity of quality management for nuclear licensing and supervisory authorities has been discussed recently; however, first steps into this direction in Germany regarding one type of nuclear facilities, the radioactive waste repositories, can be shown.

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