Retrievability – the DRD method

Writing in the Journal of Environmental Protection, Nils-Axel Morner Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics, Stockholm, Sweden. says “The handling of the high-level nuclear waste remains unsolved. Methods proposed in Sweden, Finland and France seem likely to lead to disastrous radioactive contaminations in the future. The only way out of this dilemma seems to be a disposal where the waste, though effectively sealed-off in the bedrock, remains accessible and controllable. This kind of retrievable “disposal” he calls the DRD method.

In response Johan Swahn of the NGO MKG in Sweden responds: The DRD concept as developed by Mörner has largely officially been ignored in Sweden, mainly because the nuclear legislation demands that the spent nuclear fuel is put in a “final repository”. Mörner’s concept can be considered as an advanced form of rolling stewardship as the concept is based on putting the material in a cavern which is situated and constructed as to give a relatively dry environment. Mörner sometimes contests this and says it is a “final repository” that does not need surveillance for longer periods of time.

In the article he says: “The DRD-method [1,8-10], on the other hand, would imply that the waste is deposited safely in the bedrock, but still accessible and controllable (Figure 4).” and

“A DRD-repository can be designed in several different ways [10], viz. as an intermediate storage, as a long-term storage (up to the next Ice Age) or even as a “final” storage. The main philosophy behind this type of repository is that we must keep the freedom of action, the possibility of control and monitoring of the waste, the option of retrievability for recycling, destruction or re-location. The repository does not require any safeguard, but allows for auto-monitoring and control that minimizes the risks of radioactive contamination.”

For me the difference between DRD and the Dutch method for rolling stewardship in a concrete building is only that the length of the access tunnel could perhaps have stronger physical barriers, but according to Mörner still be accessible. Unfortunately it is also likely that the corrosive environment for waste containers in DRD would be a much larger problem than in a self-ventilated building.

Journal of Environmental Protection, 2014, 5, 175-180 Published Online February 2014 (

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