Geological disposal has been internationally adopted as the most effective approach to assure the long-term, safe disposition of the used nuclear fuels and radioactive waste materials produced from nuclear power generation, nuclear weapons programs, medical, treatments, and industrial applications. Geological repository systems take advantage of natural geological barriers augmented with engineered barrier systems to isolate these radioactive materials from the environment and from future populations.

Geological repository systems for safe disposal of spent nuclear fuels and radioactive waste critically reviews the state-of-the-art technologies, scientific methods, regulatory developments, and social engagement approaches directly related to the implementation of geological repository systems.

Part one introduces geological disposal, including multiple-barrier geological repositories, as well as reviewing the impact of nuclear fuel recycling practices and underground research laboratory activities on the development of disposal concepts. Part two reviews geological repository siting in different host rocks, including long-term stability analysis and radionuclide transport modelling. Reviews of the range of engineered barrier systems, including waste immobilisation technologies, container materials, low pH concretes, clay-based buffer and backfill materials, and barrier performance are presented in Part three. Part four examines total system performance assessment and safety analyses for deep geological and near-surface disposal, with coverage of uncertainty analysis, use of expert judgement for decision making, and development and use of knowledge management systems. Finally, Part five covers regulatory and social approaches for the establishment of geological disposal programs, from the development of radiation standards and risk-informed, performance-based regulations, to environmental monitoring and social engagement in the siting and operation of r

Key Features

  • Critically reviews the state-of-the-art technologies, scientific methods, regulatory developments, and social engagement approaches related to the implementation of geological repository systems
  • Chapters introduce geological disposal and review the development of disposal concepts
  • Examines long-term stability analysis, the range of engineered barrier systems and barrier performance


Nuclear waste management and geological repository professionals and researchers

Table of Contents

Part 1 Introduction: Multiple-barrier geological repository design and operation strategies; Spent nuclear fuel recycling practices and impacts; Near-surface, intermediate depth and borehole disposal; Underground research facilities and rock laboratories. Part 2 Geological repository systems: Crystalline systems; Clay systems; Assessing long-term stability; Far-field process analysis and radionuclide transport modelling. Part 3 Engineered barrier systems: Immobilisation of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste; Low-pH concretes; Smectitic buffer and backfill; Near-field processes, evolution and assessment; Nuclear waste canisters, corrosion and long-term performance; Post-containment performance. Part 4 Performance assessment: Safety assessment for deep geological disposal; Safety assessment for near-surface disposal; Treatment of uncertainty in the performance assessment; Assessment of expert judgments; Knowledge management systems. Part 5 Radiation protection, regulation and social engagement: Radiation protection principles and standards; Risk-informed, performance-based regulations; Environmental monitoring programs and public engagement; Methods for social dialogue.


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© 2010
Woodhead Publishing
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Electronic ISBN:

About the editors

Joonhang Ahn

Professor Joonhong Ahn is a Professor of Nuclear Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, USA. Professor Ahn is internationally noted for his research into multi-barrier geological repository systems, with particular emphasis on performance and safety assessments.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of California, Berkeley


An unprecedented book reviewing every technologically important element of the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle., Dr. A Suzuki, Nuclear Safety Commission, Japan
Provides an urgently needed worldwide overview on the disposal of radioactive waste., Prof. em. Dr.-Ing Kühn, GSF and Clausthal University of Technology, Germany
A very valuable and useful work, since in addition to scientific and technological issues, the book draws attention to the critical role of independent regulatory review and social engagement, which are vital to the successful implementation of geological repository systems., Dr Tero Varjoranta, Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, STUK, Finland