What is waste acceptance criteria (WAC)?

These are the quantitative or qualitative criteria specified by the regulatory body, or specified by an operator and approved by the regulatory body, for the waste form and waste package to be accepted by the operator of a waste management facility.
(IAEA Safety Glossary 2022).

Why is WAC necessary?

It is necessary to:

  • assure operational and long term safety requirements (handling, transport, storage, disposal)
  • prevent technological problems in the disposal facility or the storage facility
  • use as a benchmark for communication between radioactive waste generators and consecutive facility operators
  • allow for standardisation of operations
  • assure waste tracking
  • assist waste producers in selecting waste package and processing technologies.

Who is responsible for developing the WAC?

The WAC is developed in cooperation between waste generator and repository operator.

What considerations are taken into account when developing a WAC?

The following aspects are considered:

  • safety – this includes all activity limits and package integrity
  • technical criteria – this includes compressive strength, package weight, unified packages and dose rate
  • any legal prohibitions in place such as those that apply to the waste being pyrophoric, putrescible, and burnable or having chemotoxicity
  • administrative issues such as passport identification, other unique identification and waste tracking.

How is the WAC developed?

The WAC are developed based on:

  • legislative requirements and regulatory guidelines
  • international standards and recommendations
  • facility operational constraints
  • facility design and site characteristics
  • results of research and development.

When does WAC apply?

The WAC applies during the entire radioactive waste lifecycle. It ensures a clear responsibility for the radioactive waste package, as passes from one person or institution to another at stages such as:

  • waste collection and characterisation
  • storage of unprocessed radioactive waste
  • radioactive waste conditioning
  • storage of conditioned waste
  • transport of conditioned waste
  • waste disposal.

Does the WAC require regulatory approval?

Yes, the WAC requires to be approved by the regulatory authority.

Will the WAC be part of the safety case for application of a waste disposal facility?

Yes, WAC will be a significant component of the safety case for a facility.

Will there be WAC for disposal of low-level waste and storage of intermediate level waste for the proposed facility?

Yes, there will be two separate WAC. One will be for the disposal of low-level solid waste and the other for the storage of intermediate level solid waste.

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