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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 the development of IAEA safety standards for predisposal management and disposal of radioactive waste and spent fuel, the assistance to the Member States on the use and application of these Safety Standards, the coordination of the Waste Safety Standards Committee, and providing the Secretariat for the meetings of the Contracting Parties of the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.

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

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

International Projects

International projects and working groups are organized to work towards harmonization of approaches to the safety of predisposal management and disposal of radioactive waste, and to provide a forum of exchanges for the Member States.

Examples of such international projects include the CRAFT project which deals with the demonstration of safety of predisposal facilities, and the PRISM project, which deals with the demonstration of safety of near surface disposal facilities. In addition, an international Joint Working Group has been established to address the safety of dual purpose transport and storage casks for spent nuclear fuel in a holistic manner.

The development and implementation by the Member States of a comprehensive radioactive waste management strategy for high level waste and spent fuel, including disposal, is an important priority. In this regard, the GEOSAF project focuses on the demonstration of operational and long term safety of geological disposal facilities and the development of a specific programme on the disposal of high level waste and spent fuel.

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 through peer reviews of radioactive waste management programmes.

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| Last update: Tuesday, 09 December, 2014.