Many preparations still need to be made before emplacement can start. Once this has been done, emplacement operations will take place according to a set scale.
Per shift, about 17 transport units can be transported underground. Based on 200 days of emplacement operations per year and assuming one-shift operation, this would result in an annual emplacement capacity of about 3,400 transport units. Thus, the expected emplacement volume of about 10,000 cubic metres of radioactive waste per year is safely covered.
Separate service shaft and emplacement shaft
Using two shafts for conventional repository operation and the emplacement of waste packages provides great benefits in terms of safety and organisation. Therefore, shaft Konrad 1 continues to be used for materials haulage and manwinding, while new surface installations including new hauling equipment are being constructed at shaft Konrad 2, with the help of which the waste packages will be taken underground.
Emplacement via the return air shaft
The radioactive waste is emplaced via the upcast ventilation shaft. In the event of a release of radioactivity (incident) this will prevent contaminated return air from entering that part of the mine that is not monitored radiologically. Thus, only that part of the mine has to be controlled where emplacement operations take place.
Example of an emplacement operation: A waste package goes underground
The waste packages are delivered as transport units on freight cars or lorries. A transport unit consists of a container or a pool pallet containing max. two cylindrical waste packages.
Once the transport unit has arrived in the reloading hall at the surface, it is reloaded onto a wagon with the help of an overhead crane. Over rails and by means of horizontal sliding, this crane takes the transport units to a place where their radiation is measured. Following the control measurement at delivery, the transport unit is then taken underground in a cage via shaft 2.
Underground: The waste package reaches its final position
Underground a straddle-carrier picks up the transport unit from the wagon and places it onto a transport vehicle, which takes the transport unit to the access area of the corresponding emplacement chamber. Here the transport unit is taken over by a stacking vehicle which takes the waste package to its final position in the emplacement chamber. The emplacement chamber is filled from the rear towards the front. Every 50 metres, a shotcrete wall is set up and the residual cavity behind it is backfilled with pump stowing (concrete). Thus the waste is protected against release. Once all sections of a gallery have been backfilled it will be sealed completely. Following the termination of emplacement operations, shafts 1 and 2 will be backfilled.
State of 2016.04.01