Russia's National Operator for Radioactive Waste Management (NO RAO) has been granted a permit to use subsoil resources at the Yenissei Section of Nizhnekansky Rock Mass in Krasnoyarsk Territory for the disposal of radioactive waste in deep geological formations. NO RAO said the relevant Russian government directive was signed on 6 April. This licence will enable NO RAO to start building the underground research laboratory for assessment of the possibility to place radioactive waste in Nizhnekansky Rock Mass.
A separate licence will be required, in accordance with the law "On the Use of Atomic Energy", to site, construct and operate the radioactive waste storage (disposal) facility. "It is possible to get this licence only after the underground research laboratory is built, tests are conducted that justify the safety of the disposal technology, and all handling operations are tested in actual conditions with dummies of packages," NO RAO explained.
The company also stressed that the format of an underground research laboratory excludes any use of radioactive substances and waste in the facility and will not include drilling of operating tunnels for RAW disposal. NO RAO believes that it is possible to get the operating licence for the facility as a radioactive waste disposal facility no earlier than 2024.