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The radioactive waste disposal it is a very delicate issue and it is important that each state determines the correct procedures in order to ensure the greatest possible safety for citizens.
It is important to consider that i radioactive waste is not produced only by nuclear power plants (closed in Italy and being dismantled) but also from medical activities, necessary for the research, diagnosis and treatment of many diseases and from some sectors of industry (for example, for X-ray machines for welds).
The production of radioactive waste from biomedical sources it is growing in all advanced countries and it is unrealistic to think that this trend can reverse. Currently in Italy the medical sector produces 500 cubic meters of radioactive waste per year, of which about 40% loses its radioactivity over a period of time ranging from tens to hundreds of years. The annual production of this waste, currently stored in dozens of temporary deposits located in different areas of our territory, amounts to about 200 cubic meters.
To prevent the radioactive waste are stored for a long time in different places, it was finally decided to create a National Deposit which must comply with the highest safety standards.
The National repository for the disposal of radioactive waste it will be built on the surface and will contain approximately 75,000 cubic meters of low and medium activity waste which will be isolated with a 4-stage system of multiple barriers.
Radioactive waste disposal: 4-stage protection
The 4 protection barriers depicted above will be able to isolate low and medium radioactive waste from the environment for 300 years, the time required for the radioactivity level to fall below the dangerous threshold.
A centralized warehouse will also be built inside for the temporary storage of approx 15,000 cubic meters of highly radioactive waste, which will subsequently have to be transferred to a geological repository located in depth, which can be located in another European country on the basis of international agreements.
However, the question remains open to which it will be more difficult to find an answer accepted by all: "Where will the Italian National Repository for the disposal of radioactive waste be built?”
A first map with the areas potentially suitable for hosting the Italian National Deposit for the disposal of radioactive waste has already been delivered by the Sogin, the company in charge of the project, toISPRA (Higher Institute for Environmental Protection and Research). The map was created on the basis of criteria defined by ISPRA itself and after it is approved by ISPRA and the relevant ministries, it will be publicly discussed in a National Seminar.
After collecting the observations of experts and in general of all the interested parties, the definitive map will be drawn.
At that point, the local administrations that will have areas identified as suitable in their territory will be able to express their interest in the project and apply to host the National Deposit.
The goal is that the National repository for the disposal of radioactive waste be operational for 2025.