The role of Nirex is to provide the United Kingdom with safe and environmentally sound options for the long-term management of radioactive waste generated by the UK’s commercial, medical, research and defence activities. This includes all intermediate level waste and some low level waste (ILW and LLW). One of the key objectives of Nirex over the past 10 years or so, has been to ensure that when waste is packaged, it is in a form suitable for its future safe management including storage, transport, handling and potential disposal.

Being responsible for development of future long-term waste management facilities, Nirex is uniquely placed to define standards and performance specifications for waste packages that include wasteform and container design, quality assurance and data recording requirements. In addition to the specifications, Nirex also provides detailed advice on the suitability of specific packaging proposals and plant designs against the foreseen requirements for future transport, handling, storage and potential disposal, as defined by the Nirex phased disposal concept. Where packaging proposals meet these requirements, Nirex is prepared to endorse the proposed approach through the issue of a ‘Letter of Comfort’.

This approach has enabled the commencement of waste packaging operations with a high degree of confidence that the waste product will meet future waste management requirements, including potential disposal requirements. This paper provides a summary of the standards and specifications developed by Nirex for waste packages, and of the assessment process applied by Nirex in providing advice and endorsement of specific packaging proposals.

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