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Research areas

Safety research for nuclear waste disposal

Within the scope of safety research for nuclear waste disposal, methods based on geochemical assays are developed for scientifically sound proof of the long time safety of repository sites for radioactive waste. Work concentrates on the actinide elements and long lived fission products, which form the dominant long-term contribution to the radiotoxic potential of high level radioactive waste coming from nuclear energy use. These activities encompass a wide span of basic experimental and theoretical investigations concerning the geochemistry of the actinides in aquatic systems, covering development and adaptation of speciation methods to investigations of radionuclide transport/retention in a repository multi barrier system. All data and knowledge flow in the parameterization of existing geochemical models and onto the development of new model concepts.





Immobilization of high level radioactive waste

The procedure developed by KIT-INE for immobilization of highlevel radioactive waste via vitrification is based on a single-step process, in which the liquid waste is vitrified to a glass product without pretreatment in a ceramic melter furnace . Activities concentrate on supplying vitrification technology for the high level radioactive liquid waste of the “Wiederaufarbeitungsanlage Karlsruhe, WAK” (Reprocessing Plant Karlsruhe) and application of the technology for radioactive wastes of different compositions.





Reduction of the radiotoxicity of high level radioactive waste (Partitioning)

In order to reduce the radiotoxicity of highl level radioactive waste (Partitioning), methods for minor actinide separation by means of liquid-liquid extraction are developed. This includes synthesis of highly selective extractants, investigation of the extraction kinetics and application of hollow fiber modules (HFM) in the extraction process, as well as process design and optimization. In addition, basic science studies aimed at clarification of the coordination structure of actinide-ligand complexes are performed.




Research for radiation protection

Today's procedures and methods to quantify the actual exposure to radiation refer to a - statistically speaking - "average man". The result is an estimate of the actual exposure of the affected individual. The scientific work of the department of radiation protection research is focused at the exposed individual with his individual anatomical and physiological characteristics. These characteristics including age and gender and environment are placed at the centre of an individual quantification of exposure to radiation in order to base radiation protection recommendations and measures on it.