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Safety of Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management


The objective of the IAEA programme on Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management is to provide support to the IAEA Member States in establishing a proper safety framework for the management of radioactive waste and spent fuel. Activities under this programme include:

Both the development of the Safety Standards, and the activities related to their use and application, are aimed towards securing the best possible benefit to IAEA Member States. As such, the needs of the Members States are identified, inter alia, from:

  • The outcomes of international conferences, meetings and workshops
  • Meetings of the Safety Standards committees
  • Direct interactions with Member States

International Projects

The development and implementation by each Member State of a comprehensive national strategy for radioactive waste management, including disposal is an important priority. The IAEA organizes international projects and working groups to assist Member States work towards harmonization of approaches to the safety of predisposal management and disposal of radioactive waste and spent fuel, and to provide a forum for the exchange of information by Member States. Examples of such international projects are:

  • The CRAFT project which deals with the demonstration of safety of predisposal waste management facilities.
  • An international Joint Working Group, which has been established to address the safety of dual purpose transport and storage casks for spent nuclear fuel.
  • The PRISM & PRISMA projects, which dealt with the development and use of the safety case to ensure the safety of near surface disposal facilities.
  • The GEOSAF project, which focuses on the demonstration of the safety of geological disposal facilities and the development of programmes for the disposal of high level waste and spent fuel.
  • The HIDRA project is addressing the specific issue of potential future human actions and human intrusion into near surface and geological radioactive waste disposal facilities.

Services to Member States

Assistance is provided to the Member States, upon their request, through national, regional, and interregional technical cooperation projects, as well as by conducting ARTEMIS peer reviews in radioactive waste and spent fuel management, including peer reviews in radioactive waste management programmes. For example, at the request of the French regulator, the IAEA recently conducted a peer review of the 2016 "Spent Options File" of Cigéo, the project designed to build a disposal facility in deep geological formations for high-level and intermediate-level radioactive waste generated by France's nuclear installations.

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| Last update: Wednesday, 31 May, 2017.