The principle of optimisation is at the heart of best-practice guidance on radioactive waste management, and central to the regulatory regime in many countries. In such regimes performance targets for a waste disposal facility are not just limited to ensuring impacts are under a specific quantitative limit, but that impacts to humans and the environment can more broadly be shown to minimised, once other practicability-relevant factors have been taken into account.

Demonstration of optimisation in waste disposal facility design and operation typically requires a clear, logical approach that is top-down yet captures all the issues of relevance to optimisation. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution but Quintessa has had a leading role in a number of successful optimisation projects utilising a principles-led, logical optimisation philosophy, underpinned by a robust approach to options identification, informed by appropriate assessment of option performance. Our most recent example of such decision support was a range of optimisation studies, in particular concerning pre- and post-closure engineering components, for the 2011 Environmental Safety Case for the UK’s low-level waste repository.