Radioactive wastes appeared simultaneously with the application of isotope technology in Hungary. Initially, these wastes were stored on the site of the Central Research Institute for Physics (KFKI), which played a leading role in the use of isotopes. An isotope burial site was constructed in Solymár in 1960. The operation of facility was taken over in 1960 from the Hungarian Atomic Energy Committee (OAB) by the National Public Health and Medical Officer Services . This made the start of countrywide collection of radioactive wastes possible in 1960.
The first institute, which was set up with the purpose of storing radioactive wastes was put into operation in 1960. This facility in Solymár had been operated by the National Public Health and Medical Officer Services until 1975, by when a total volume of 900 m3 radioactive was has been disposed here. Storage tubes at Solymár were of a very simple design: concrete rings were installed in wells bored into the ground and the bottom of this tube was poured with concrete. The outside surface of the concrete rings was coated with bitumen to prevent the ingress of rainwater.
Upon studying the feasibility of the required extension, the competent professionals decided by to terminate the operation of the facility. This was required, among others, due to the proximity and the expansion of the metropolitan Budapest, and the insufficient water sealing capacity of the ground.
As the repository facility in Püspökszilágy has been completed in 1976, a decision was made on the liquidation of the storage facility in Solymár. This operation was carried out in 1977 -1980 by the professionals of National Public Health and Medical Officer Services.
Altogether 650 drums, 3000 encapsulated radiation sources and wastes packaged into several thousand plastic bags had to be transferred into the newly constructed repository. After the completion of these operations, the concrete structure of the storage tubes were removed, as required, and the top layer of some centimetres of the ground was planed off.
RWTDF was constructed at the boundary of Püspökszilágy and Kisnémedi and was completed on 22 December 1976. It had a capacity of 3540 m3. The repository facility was technically based on a design including near-surface storage vaults and vertical storage tubes.
The first waste transport was received by RWTDF in March 1977. The final operation license of the facility was issued by the Ministry of Health in 1980.
Initially, RWTDF accepted all radioactive wastes originating from the application of the nuclear technology, except for a part of the radium sources from medical applications and other used radiation sources or products, which comprise fissile materials, which were ad-interim stored at a different location.
Unit 1 of Paks Nuclear Power Plant, which was put into operation, has multiplied the volume of low and intermediatelevel radioactive wastes (LILW) generated on annual basis. It was envisaged in the concept described in the technical design of Paks Nuclear Power Plant that the LILW had to be stored in the auxiliary building of the power plant. However, the provisional character of this storage should be emphasized, since the disposal of such wastes in the plant site is excluded if technical and safety aspects are considered.
Of course, it came up as a conception, that the wastes generated during the operation and decommissioning of the power plant should be finally disposed in RWTDF, since this was the only one facility in the country designated for the accommodation of LILW. In this sense 1230 m2 of the total capacity of the facility of RWTDF was filled up with 854 m3 waste of the power plant during the period between 1983 and 1989.
However, according to the results of an assessment based on the consideration of using a near surface design solution, the capacity extension to meet the demand of Paks Nuclear Power Plant could not be implemented in RWTDF site. The long distance transfer route was also against the disposal of Paks wastes at Püspökszilágy.
Significant efforts were made by Paks Nuclear Power Plant to resolve the problem of disposing its LILW in a separate disposal facility. These efforts failed in January 1990, when, as a consequence of the opposition of the local population, an unfavourable final decision was made in relation to the disposal facility planned to be constructed at Ófalu. After the failure of the program launched for the construction of a disposal facility at Ófalu, the conditions for transferring wastes into RWTDF, as a provisional solution, had to be provided. At the same time, the disposal capacity of Püspökszilágy RWTDF was extended with the financial support of the power plant. The extended disposal capacity of the facility is 5040 m3. The acceptability of the site was questioned by the Hungarian Geological Service during the licensing procedure required for the capacity extension, therefore provisional operation license was issued four times.
The transport of LILW into the RWTDF was suspended during the period between 1990 and 1991, due to the opposition of the population. Following this period, the transport of LILW to Püspökszilágy was resumed and continued between 1992 and 1996, thus a volume of 1580 m3 waste of nuclear power plant origin has been disposed of in a storage volume of 2500 m3.
The storage vaultvaults became full in 2005, therefore a provisional storage area arranged in the basement level of the reception building has been used to accommodate new waste transports. The disposal of waste volumes expected to be generated by the Hungarian institutes will be necessary in the future too, therefore possibility shall be provided for the extension of the storage capacity. The available capacity can also be increased by the more effective use of the storage and disposal volume rather than constructing new capacity.
The structure of the repository facility
Reinforced concrete storage vault (type A and C) and carbon steel/stainless steel storage wells (type B and D) are provided for the disposal of radioactive wastes in RWTDF. 48 of Type A with a capacity of 70 m3, 8 of 1,5 m3 Type C storage vault, and 32 of Type B and 4 of Type D storage tubes were constructed in the basic configuration of the facility.