The plenary session of the Nuclear Safety Council (CSN), meeting today, gave its approval to the proposal for a technical opinion to unfavorably inform the request presented by Berkeley Minera Spain (BME) to receive the construction authorization of the first-class radioactive facility of the nuclear fuel cycle ‘Uranium concentrates manufacturing plant in the municipality of Retortillo (Salamanca)’.
As reported by the Council itself in a note, the result of the vote was four votes in favor of the Proposal for a Technical Opinion prepared by the Technical Directorate for Radiological Protection and one against, corresponding to the counselor Javier Dies. Said director, in accordance with article 34 of the CSN Statute, announced that he will cast a private vote in writing within 48 hours.
The technical opinion will be sent to the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITERD). The reason for the decision taken is based on the “low reliability and high uncertainties of the safety analysis of the radioactive facility in geotechnical and hydrogeological aspects, on which the verification of the adequate behavior of various project parameters depends”.
The technical deficiencies identified in the assessment relate mainly to the final storage of very low level radioactive waste, which is part of the first category radioactive facility. For the CSN, “the information provided does not allow to limit the effective isolation capacity of the barriers that the company proposes to surround the waste, and consequently neither the ability to minimize the expected concentrations of radionuclides in the potential discharge areas”.
The evaluations carried out on the documentation that accompanies the application for authorization of the installation detected “numerous deficiencies” throughout the evaluation, which required the maintenance of “many technical meetings” with the licensee, as well as “numerous requests for information additional “, in addition to the preparation of a” large number of reports and evaluation notes “, and the” complete review “of the documentation by the company, in order to” integrate and give coherence to the information generated on the draft”.
The evaluation of the reports of the application for construction authorization involved eleven technical areas from both technical departments of the CSN, which have addressed the issues of their competence, which group fire protection, systems engineering, mechanical and structural engineering, guarantee of quality, hydrogeology, seismology and meteorology, radiological protection of workers, evaluation of radiological impact, environmental radiological surveillance, low and medium level waste, in addition to the area of cycle and dismantling facilities and the corresponding head of the project.