02 Apr 350 drums in containers
For many years, a large stack of corroded drums has been the first sight to greet visitors on a tour of the low-level operational waste storage facility. Where the stack was, there is now an empty floor. The 350 or so drums have been packed into containers and moved to another storage facility.
F Until 1987, drums with the research centre's ship-generated waste were placed outdoors in three-metre high concrete pipe silos. Here stood the drums until in the mid-nineties they could be moved to the current storage facility. Even though each concrete pipe silo was closed at the top with a cover, water could still penetrate. Therefore, many of the oldest drums are attacked by rust.
DD keep an eye on the condition of the drums and take action as needed. Some of the oldest drums, with an inner and an outer drum, have previously been moulded into each additional, larger drum. When this outer drum also corrodes, it is time to pack into a container.
In recent months, a team has DD employees lifted each drum away from the stack, measured its activity levels and ensured that it is all registered in the Waste Documentation System. Then the drum is put down in a container. When the container is packed with six drums, all spaces are filled up with loose material to absorb any moisture, and then the container is put into intermediate storage.
This is the fourth time DD packets a stack of corroded drums in containers. In the longer term, it is intended to pack all approximately 5000 drums into containers for intermediate storage. However, this will also cause the waste to fill up more, so it will only be possible once a new and larger storage facility has been put into use.