Optimizing waste management costs by simulating real technologies and clearance limits

Transparent and benchmarkable estimation of waste management costs in NPP decommissioning has been a challenge for a long period of time.

Even now the cost estimation methodologies largely vary from country to country. Broad range of cost estimation methodologies lead to incomparable cost estimations which makes assessment of quality of cost estimations almost impossible.

Therefore OECD/NEA has published and IAEA is recommending the International Structure for Decommissioning Costing of Nuclear Installations - the "ISDC". Role of this document is to make the costing more transparent and benchmarkable so that the knowledge in estimating decommissioning costs can be internationaly shared.

One of the parts of the ISDC is dedicated to estimating costs for management of RAW. These costs depend on many factors, mostly on the price of used waste treatment technologies and clearance levels for RAW.

Optimalization of both decommissioning and waste management costs can be automated using AquilaCosting software. This software allows user to precisely define the waste treatment process, separately for each type of RAW. The definition includes all steps of treatment starting with removal from NPP and finishing with disposal in the waste repository; while the waste materials, their radioactivity and amounts or mass is calculated from the NPP's radiological characterisation. Radioactivity of each waste is also compared to user-defined clearance levels and accordingly the proper waste treatment technology is considered. With more advanced features like radionuclide decay simulation or batch automation can the optimalization process be even more accurate and faster.

This cost estimation methodology has been verified with several cost estimation projects across Europe and is now available in the user-friendly software AquilaCosting.

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AquilaCosting features

  • Tree-view based inventory database
  • ISDC compatible calculation structure
  • Configurable waste management scenarios
  • Legacy waste database
  • Easy benchmarking and sensitivity analysis
  • Intuitive multi-user interface
  • Secure client/server architecture
  • Ready for large cost estimates (e.g. for NPPs)
Read more about AquilaCosting