WORK on an underground bunker for radioactive waste from the Daya Bay power station and the planned Lingao plant will start by the end of the year.
The store will mean several square kilometres of surface land between the two Guangdong stations will be unusable for 300 years, according to Hong Kong Nuclear Investment Company's (HKNIC) senior technical adviser, Jacques Pretti.
The store will be for low and medium-level waste currently stored in drums in a special concrete building at Daya Bay. China is still studying various sites for the high-level waste.
Low-level waste, stored in metal drums, includes gloves and protective suits worn during refuelling. Medium-level material, kept in concrete drums, is mainly ion resins used to absorb radioactive by-products from the primary cooling water.
At the end of July, Daya Bay had 70 cubic metres of metal containers and 125 cubic metres of concrete drums. There was room left for waste produced over the next five to seven years.
HKNIC senior technical adviser Professor Shen Junxiong said a site had been chosen between Daya Bay and Lingao which when finished would handle waste for the lifetime of the stations.
The bunker will have concrete-lined rooms. Once the drums have been put in, the hole will be covered with concrete or bitumen and turf placed on top. Water draining through will be collected and monitored for any radioactive seepage to ensure no release into the environment.
Company spokesman Albert Chan Yue-chung said building costs had been taken into account and electricity charges would not be affected.