R&D

Enresa’s commitment to R&D has enabled the improvement and optimisation of every one of their processes, driven technological progress and positioned Spain as an international benchmark in radioactive waste management.

Enresa focuses its efforts on R&D in areas where industrial solutions are not fully implemented and where there is potential for improvement and optimisation.

The successive research and development plans for radioactive waste management aim to:

  • provide the knowledge and the tools that enable progress in the development of management strategies implemented in Spain, with the objective that they are safe, appropriate, acceptable and viable for all types of radioactive waste;
  • develop and validate the technologies that enable the development of these management strategies;
  • improve and optimise the management mechanisms already in place, in an ongoing and systematic manner;
  • foster the social, scientific and political acceptance of the management mechanisms in use by means of clear, fluid and open communication, conveying confidence and transparency;
  • ensure that the advances made through R&D are applied to the management of radioactive waste, improving safety and cost efficiency.

Plans

Following the lines of the 6th General Radioactive Waste Plan, Enresa has established four technical areas of work in the 7th R&D Plan (2014-2018):

Area 1


Waste Technology and Know-how

This includes activities related to the understanding of the physical and chemical properties of the components of radioactive waste, as well as their evolution over time and the impact of their irradiation history.

Research and development in this area focuses on:

  • fuel and high level waste
  • low and intermediate level waste, very low level waste and other waste
  • basic properties of radionuclides

Area 2


Technology for Treatment, Conditioning and Dismantling Processes

This area of the Plan includes all actions that may be carried out on radioactive waste for the purposes of conditioning prior to emplacement, reducing volume and radiotoxicity, and other actions applicable to the dismantling of nuclear facilities and radioactive facilities.

R&D in this area focuses on:

  • treatment of LILW
  • decontamination
  • immobilisation
  • dismantling
  • separation
  • transmutation

Area 3


Confinement Systems and Materials

This area aims to acquire and expand know-how and technology relating to the materials used in storage and disposal facilities, such as cement, clay and metals, taking into account both their individual and their combined usage.

R&D in this area focuses on:

  • characterisation and behaviour of materials
  • behaviour of confinement systems
  • storage and disposal systems and technologies
  • monitoring of materials and systems

Area 4


Safety Assessment and Modelling

The object of the tasks included in this area is to improve the numerical models used in safety assessments for storage and disposal facilities over the short, medium and long term. Various scales are taken into consideration, from the range of a few metres up to regional scale.

R&D in this area will focus on:

  • assessment methods and models
  • modelling of systems and processes
  • environmental restoration
  • radiological protection
  • climate and soils in waste management.

Knowledge Management and Coordination

A 5th and transverse area of R&D deals with the coordination, integration and management of all research and development activities. This is intended to ensure coordination of the projects and to integrate and deliver their results.

Also included in this area is the technological and scientific dissemination, whose underlying purpose is to provide internal support in the effective implementation of R&D.

The 7th R&D Plan and its annexes also include the outcomes of Enresa’s 6th R&D Plan (2009-2013).

Projects Developed in Partnership with Other Entities

Enresa regularly cooperates with the Centre for Energy-related, Environmental and Technological Research (Ciemat), Spanish universities and companies, and other agencies from various countries. Enresa’s projects involve about 40 organisations and over 300 researchers.

Projects undertaken in partnership with other entities can be grouped as follows:

  • Projects developed with foreign organisations. See Section 6.2 of the 7th R&D Plan.
  • Projects developed with Spanish entities. These include the participation of Ciemat, the AITEMIN Technology Centre, the AIMEN Technology Centre, the Rovira i Virgili University, the University of A Coruña, the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the University of Seville, the University of Cordoba, and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.
  • Projects developed within the Framework Programmes of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). Section 6.1 of the 7th R&D Plan details the projects for the 7th Framework Programme (2007-2013). The Horizon 2020 Framework Programme is currently being launched.
  • Participation in technology platforms. See Section 6.3 of the 7th R&D Plan. Enresa is active in technology platforms related to R&D on radioactive waste, including the Technology Platform for Nuclear Fission Energy (CEIDEN), IGD-TP and the National Platform for R&D on Radiological Protection (PEPRI).

Research Centres

Enresa currently has a research centre, the Mestral Technology Centre, at the Vandellós I facilities, and the CTS Associated Technology Centre that will be built in Villar de Cañas (Cuenca).

Capture of the entrance totem in the centre

Mestral Technology Centre

Located at the Vandellós I facilities, the Mestral Technology Centre, was created to serve the needs of research and development related to the dismantling of nuclear power plants. In partnership with various universities, the centre continues its work on various areas of research in this field.

Its purpose is to provide technological solutions for various processes related to the decommissioning of nuclear facilities.

Its work is fundamentally focused on three areas: management of the Vandellós I dormancy period; research on technologies, materials and procedures for future dismantling; and training of qualified professionals.

CTS Associated Technology Centre

The Associated Technology Centre will be an important element in future R&D projects, especially those related to the management of spent fuel and high level radioactive waste.

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