The management of radioactive waste, the safety of nuclear reactors and radiation research are important aspects of societal provident research. They form an integral part of international nuclear safety research and contribute to the high safety standards in German and European nuclear facilities.
After the reactor accident in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011, the German Bundestag, supported by a broad societal majority, decided to terminate nuclear power generation by 2022. The decommissioning of the nuclear facilities will nevertheless take several decades. The search for a location for a deep geological repository for high-level radioactive waste was restarted in 2013 by the site selection law. By comparing multiple sites with different host rock formations, the best possible site in terms of safety should be selected.
Research at KIT focuses on safety aspects of nuclear waste disposal and nuclear facilities, in this context also the radiation research is addressed.
Nuclear Waste Management
This subject covers basic and applied research on all geochemical issues related to the safe disposal of radioactive waste in geological formations. The goal is to develop a basic understanding of the processes running in a repository system. Further work attends to the decommissioning of nuclear facilities as well as to the treatment and conditioning of accumulated radioactive waste. In this context, radiation protection research covers the development of procedures for person specific radiation dosimetry.
The work focuses on safety aspects of design and beyond design basis accidents. The development of the scientific expertise is carried out through the close integration of experiment and model development and is embedded in national and international networks and cooperation. The large-scale test facilities represent a unique infrastructure and expertise that is internationally demanded. Within this research topic, the radiological consequences of nuclear accidents and measures to improve external emergency response are also examined.