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What is the risk of radiation exposure from the DGR?

Understanding the public’s concern about radiation is essential, and we take this matter very seriously. The Deep Geological Repository (DGR) is designed to minimize the risk of radiation exposure to levels that are substantially below natural background radiation that people are exposed to in everyday life. Here’s how we achieve this:

1. Deep Underground Storage:

  • The DGR is situated several hundred meters underground, providing a robust natural barrier that effectively contains radiation within the repository.

2. Multi-Barrier System:

  • The used nuclear fuel is stored in corrosion-resistant canisters that are further isolated by engineered barriers and the surrounding geological formation. This multi-barrier system is designed to keep radioactivity securely contained.

3. Strict Regulatory Standards:

  • Our DGR is designed and operated to meet or exceed all federal and international radiation safety standards, which are set at conservative levels to ensure public health and safety.

4. Defense-in-Depth:

  • The repository has multiple layers of protective measures. Even if one layer were to fail, additional safety measures are in place to contain radiation effectively.

5. Passive Safety Features:

  • The design incorporates passive safety mechanisms that do not require active human or mechanical intervention. This ensures that the repository will remain secure and pose no risk of radiation exposure even under unforeseen circumstances.

6. Continuous Monitoring:

  • Advanced radiation monitoring systems are employed within and around the facility to detect any anomalies immediately. These real-time data provide an extra layer of safety and allow for immediate corrective action if needed.

7. Minimal Surface Impact:

  • The risk of radiation exposure at the Earth’s surface is virtually non-existent due to the depth and multiple barriers involved in the DGR design.

8. Public Transparency:

  • All radiation monitoring data are publicly available, providing an open and transparent account of the DGR’s safety performance related to radiation containment.

9. Emergency Preparedness:

  • Although the risk is extremely low, contingency plans are in place and are regularly tested to manage any unexpected scenarios related to radiation exposure effectively.

In summary, the risk of radiation exposure from the DGR is exceedingly low and is managed through a combination of engineering excellence, regulatory compliance, and transparent operational practices. Our multi-faceted approach ensures that both the environment and the public are safeguarded from radiation risks.