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Disposal on Low Activity Radioactive Waste

International Symposium on Disposal of Low Activity Radioactive Waste, Cordoba, Spain, 13-17 December 2004


This symposium was organized by the IAEA in co-sponsorship with the French Agence nationale pour la gestation des déchets radioactifs (ANDRA) and in co-operation with the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA). It was hosted by the Government of Spain through the Empresa Nacional de Residuos Radiactivos, S.A. (ENRESA) and the Consejo de Seguridad Nuclear (CSN). The symposium was attended by 280 participants from 61 countries and 5 international organizations.


Low activity radioactive waste is not an internationally agreed waste category but the term is increasingly used to describe a range of waste types, warranting consideration from economic and safety perspectives. The Symposium dealt with: policy and strategy, very low level waste (VLLW), decommissioning waste, long lived low activity waste and unique low activity waste streams.

Several countries have arrangements for managing low level waste from the normal operation of their regulated facilities, but increasing focus is being given to large volume low level waste from decommissioning, large volume long lived waste containing elevated levels of naturally occurring radionuclides, and waste streams that are not suitable for disposal in conventional surface repositories (e.g., radium bearing waste). There is yet no international consensus for disposal of these diverse types of waste.

Many topics and issues were discussed, including:

  • plans for new disposal facilities, such as an intermediate depth facility for large volume radium bearing waste (France) and a borehole disposal of disused sealed sources (Egypt/USA)
  • inconsistencies in the management and regulation of various types of low activity radioactive waste
  • the potential utility of regional arrangements, such as multinational repositories
  • the design and operation of VLLW disposal facilities, and their economic advantages

The role of clearance in national waste management strategies was also a recurring theme. summary findings

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| Last update: Tuesday, 09 December, 2014.