The Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) in collaboration with the interagency technical committee on radioactive waste has been undertaking a national project to find a final solution to the country’s low to intermediate level radioactive waste. The strategy adopted was to co-locate 2 disposal concepts that will address the types of radioactive waste generated from the use of radioactive materials. This strategy is expected to compensate for the small volumes of waste generated in the Philippines as compared to countries with big nuclear energy programs. It will also take advantage of the benefits of a shared infrastructure and R&D work that accompany such project.
The preferred site selected from previous site selection and investigations is underlain by highly fractured “andesitic volcaniclastics” mantled by residual clayey soil which act as the aquifer or water bearing layer. Results of investigation show that the groundwater in the area is relatively dilute and acidic. Springs at the lower elevations of the footprint also indicate acidic waters. The relatively acidic water is attributed to the formation of sulfuric acid by the oxidation of the pyrite in the andesite.
A preliminary post closure safety assessment was carried out using the GMS MODFLOW and HYDRUS softwares purchased through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) technical assistance. Results from MODFLOW modeling show that the radionuclide transport follows the natural gradient from the top of the hill down to the natural discharge zones. The vault dispersion model shows a circular direction from the vaults towards the faults and eventually to the creeks. The contaminant transport from borehole shows at least one confined plume from the borehole towards the creek designated as Repo1 and eventually follows downstream. The influx of surface water and rainfall to the disposal vault was modeled using the HYDRUS software. The pressure head and water content at the base of the foundation layer and the bottom of the concrete is where a significant reduction in water content can be observed. It is also noted that water content and pressure remain constant after one year.