Radioactive Waste Disposal


Radioactive waste is dealt with according to the following principles:
Radioactive waste shall be managed in such a way as to provide an acceptable level of protection of human health and the environment, now and in the future.
Radioactive waste shall be managed in such a way that will not impose undue burdens on future generations.
The application of more than one protective measure (barrier) for a given safety objective, such that the objective is achieved even if one of the protective measures (barriers) fails.
Two or more natural or engineered barriers used to isolate radioactive waste in, and prevent migration of radioactivity from, a repository.
Where there is uncertainty regarding the safety of an activity a conservative approach shall be adopted.
The “polluter pays principle” holds that the financial burden for the management of radioactive waste shall be borne by the owner of that waste. The person or organisation causing pollution is therefore liable for any costs involved in managing its effects subject to the arrangement determining the transfer of title from the waste generator / predisposal operator to the repository as the case may be.
Radioactive waste management activities shall be conducted in an open and transparent manner taking into account the interests and concerns of all interested and affected parties.
Due cognisance shall be taken of best international practice in all radioactive waste management activities and includes: Waste prevention: The prevention and avoidance of the production of waste. Waste minimization: The reduction of the volume of waste during production by means of different processes. Recycling: Recycling and recovery of waste by means of different processes. Treatment: The treatment of waste to reduce volume or hazardousness.

Local and international peer reviews shall be conducted of waste management practises to ensure appropriate benchmarking and compliance with applicable legislation and international best practise.
The management of radioactive waste is a national responsibility assigned to the Minister of Minerals and Energy as per the Nuclear Energy Act of 1999 and delegated by virtue of section 55(2) of the Act.

The management of radioactive waste comply with, amongst other, the following national legislation, international agreements, standards, safety principles and other codes of practise:

  • national radioactive waste disposal institute act (act 53 of 2008);
  • radioactive waste management policy and strategy for the republic of south africa (2005).
  • nuclear energy act, 1999 (act no. 46 of 1999);
  • national nuclear regulator act, 1999 (act no. 47 of 1999);

In the management and disposal of radioactive waste, the regulator, waste generator and repository operator have clear responsibilities defined in the radioactive waste management policy and strategy for the republic of south africa. vaalputs is authorised by the national nuclear regulator to be used as a national disposal site for low-level waste (llw) within the nuclear regulatory framework of, amongst other, the national nuclear regulator act (act no. 47 of 1999) and the nuclear energy act (act no. 46 of 1999). to this regard, vaalputs is operated under the regulatory control of the national nuclear regulator and the safety of vaalputs complies with the nuclear installation license.

The waste disposal operations at vaalputs are subject to continual radiological monitoring of the workers, the environment and the public at large. in the operational life time of vaalputs, results of monitoring and measurement have not shown any transgression of regulatory limits or overexposure of personnel, the environment or the public at large.

Radioactive Waste Disposal Compliance