Retrieval of nuclear waste canisters from a borehole

May 3, 2024, 9:31AMRadwaste SolutionsRod Baltzer

Borehole disposal of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level waste (HLW) uses off-the-shelf directional drilling technology developed and commercialized by the oil and gas sectors. It is a technology that has been gaining traction in recent years in the nuclear industry. Disposal can be done in one or more boreholes (including an array) drilled into suitable sedimentary, igneous, or metamorphic host rocks. Waste is encapsulated in specialized corrosion-resistant canisters, which are placed end to end in disposal sections of relatively small-diameter boreholes that have been cased and fluid-filled. After emplacement, the vertical access hole is plugged and backfilled as an engineered barrier.