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Drawing up and Evaluation of Management Strategies for Radioactive Waste in Estonia

Drawing up and Evaluation of Management Strategies for Radioactive Waste in Estonia



The main objective of the project was to draw up and evaluate a set of potential management strategies for all kinds of radioactive waste currently stored and expected to be generated in the short- and medium-term in
Estonia/>/>". This work was carried out to help the Estonian Authorities to establish a radioactive waste management system ensuring the safe management of all kinds of radioactive waste according to interna­tional standards and directives. Defining future needs and requirements related to radioactive

/>/>/>/>/>waste management in the areas of legislation, regulations, investment, education, interna­tional collaboration and public relations was the final objective of this project.

The study scope covered:

  • Assessment of the current situation regarding radioactive waste management;
  • Estimates of future types of radioactive waste in short- and medium-term;
  • Identification of plausible management strategies for radioactive waste;
  • Assessment of these plausible strategies;
  • Identification of future needs and requirements

Estonian Regulatory Framework

The development of radioactive waste management is currently in progress in
Estonia/>/>. The aim is to ensure the radiological safety and environmental protection corresponding with the EU and other international requirements. Major objectives of this process are:

  • to enforce national legislation basing on contemporary international principles, criteria, provisions in the field;
  • to implement structures and procedures for an efficient regulation of radiation safety is­sues, including practices involving radioactive waste management and decommissioning nuclear facilities.

A major concern was to implement the lack of a strong licensing and supervision regime based on the Estonian legislation. Up to now radioactive waste management and decommissioning activities have been performed almost without detailed licensing conditions and procedures. Supervision of radioactive waste management activities is currently not very well imple­mented due to the absence of clear licenses, the incompleteness of the regulatory framework as mentioned above, and insufficient number as well as the inexperience of the existing su­pervision personnel in this field.


There is only a relatively small volume of solid radioactive waste accumulated in
Estonia/>/> that needs interim storage, packaging and disposal. About one third of this solid waste (210 m3) accumulated at Paldiski is conditioned and stored at the Interim storage facility at Paldiski. About 200 m3 of scrap metal is contaminated with natural
occurring radionuclides and will be transferred to Sillamãe for disposal in the tailings pond. The residual volume of radioactive waste is to be treated and to conditioned.

Currently, only an insignificant volume of liquid radioactive waste (about 90/95 m3) of a low activity is accumulated at the Paldiski site, which will be treated and conditioned in the future. Furthermore, a small volume of liquid radioactive waste and organic substances is stored at research institutions.

In the future radioactive waste will arise from:

  • further dismantling activities at the Paldiski site;
  • rare earths and rare metals production at the Sillamãe metallurgical plant; and
  • using radiation sources.

The existing interim storage capacities at Paldiski seems to be sufficient for interim storage of radioactive waste accumulated to date, including radioactive waste from the Tammiku site, as well as future waste, except the one arising from the dismantling of the reactor compartments at Paldiski.

The following tasks were identified to establish a national radioactive waste disposal strategy:

  • Preliminary determination of tasks and conditions to be take into account in developing a national strategy for radioactive waste disposal based on corresponding IAEA and EU requirements;
  • Performing the necessary investigations regarding the above mentioned task with the aim to detail the components of the disposal strategy;
  • Development of regulations for radioactive waste disposal including clear definitions of responsibilities and interrelationship in this field;
  • Continuation of repository site selection; and
  • Development of generic repository concepts.

The training of personnel should be organised on a more systematic basis in order to ensure a substantial long-term improvement of the situation regarding waste management, as well as with the progress in the regulatory field, and the development and implementation of an adequate waste management strategy.

The public relations and participation in the field of radioactive waste management is weak. No public information cells exist at the main institutions managing radioactive waste. Participation of the public in developing and realising radioactive waste management activities is not a rule.

/>Public relations and participation in the radioactive waste management field should be developed based on a corresponding common programme of the involved in radioactive waste management organisations ERPC, ALARA Ltd. and OkoSil.

There is a wide range of radioactive waste management issues for which financing is yet not estimated and ensured.

International assistance and co-operation in the field of radioactive waste management are well developed in
Estonia/>/>. International assistance in this field in the last years by IAEA, the European Commission and other international institutions was used very effective and focused by the Estonian partners.

General Information

Drawing up and Evaluation of Management Strategies for Radioactive Waste in Estonia
Budget year: 
Types of activities: 
Waste Management
Duration (months): 
Old reference: 
Effective contract date: 
Closure date: