More than 30 years ago, the world’s largest radiation accident occurred at the Chornobyl NPP in Ukraine. It is a modern challange to overcome the consequences of the disaster and to turn the Exclusion Zone into an ecologically safe territory. Plenty of cubic meters of radioactive waste (hereinafter RW) of various types were formed as a result of the Chornobyl disaster. RW were stored in the Exclusion Zone at radioactive waste disposal sites, radioactive waste temporary localization points, at the “Shelter” object and outside the Exclusion Zone.
The Resolution of the CPSU Central Committee and the Council of Ministers of the USSR No.724/163 dated 01.07.87 adopted the creation of a production complex designed for the collection, decontamination, transportation, conversion and RW disposal from the territories contaminated by the accident at the Chornobyl NPP (code name “Vector”), in order to minimize the radioactive danger to environment.
Today, approaches for safe radioactive waste management in Ukraine have been reviewed in accordance with the recommendations of the IAEA and other international organizations that have accumulated the experience of countries that have significant practical experience and developed infrastructure for the safe management of radioactive waste. New approaches have been reflected in legislative documents of Ukraine.
On September 29, 1997, Ukraine signed the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Nuclear Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management and ratified it by the Law of Ukraine dated April 20, 2000.
In accordance with the mentioned Convention, Ukraine has a RW Management Strategy (hereinafter referred to as the Strategy), adopted in 2009 and designed for 50 years. According to the Strategy, radioactive waste produced during the use of atomic energy must be transported to the Exclusion Zone at the Vektor complex for further long-term storage or disposal.
SSE “CERWM” is the legal assignee of enterprises that began to carry out work to overcome its consequences, after the Chornobyl disaster. On initial stage, radioactive waste storage facilities were urgently created on the territory of the zone: radioactive waste disposal sites (Pidlisnyi, Buryakivka, and ІІІ Stage of the Chornobyl NPP). A large part of RW was placed in created trenches and sides which are combined into radioactive waste temporary localization points. The enterprise ensures the safe operation of these storage facilities in accordance with the provided licenses and permits.
The State Specialized Enterprise “Central Enterprise for Radioactive Waste Management” was created by the Order of the Ministry of Emergency Situations and Population Protection from the Chornobyl Disaster dated December 9, 2010 No. 1086 “On Reforming State Enterprises of the Exclusion Zone”. The enterprise is an operating organization that carries out its activities related to the selection of the site, design, construction, operation, closure of RW storages and ensuring nuclear and radiation safety.
By order of the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management dated 06.11.2017 No. 151, SSE “CERWM” was appointed as the operating organization (operator) at all stages of the life cycle of radioactive waste repositories: “Buriakivka”, “Pidlisny”, “ІІІ stage of the Chornobyl NPP” and radioactive waste temporary localization points.