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Framework on Radioactive Waste Safety

International Workshop on Harmonization of Approaches to Assuring Safety within National Radioactive Waste Management Policies and Strategies - A Common Framework for the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management and Disposal, 2-6 July 2007, Cape Town, South Africa


Recent international conferences on the safety of radioactive waste management and the first two meetings of the Joint Convention all highlighted the need for comprehensive national waste management strategies which encompass all types of radioactive waste from their generation to their reuse, recycling, clearance or disposal.

In considering national radioactive waste management strategies suitable options for disposal of all waste types have to be determined. Many waste disposal facilities developed to date have been targeted on waste arising from the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle and certain waste generated from the manufacture and use of artificial radionuclides. These have often been based on quite large inventories of waste and made use of near surface disposal or disposal at depths of some tens of metres. Some disused sealed sources do not meet waste acceptance criteria for near surface disposal, nor does some waste containing longer lived radionuclide of both natural and anthropogenic origin. The increase in planning for and the actual conduct of decommissioning activities has also identified the fact that significant amounts of radioactive waste will arise with low levels of radioactive content in the near future, waste that does not require the robust containment provisions typical of modern near surface radioactive waste disposal facilities. Increasing attention is also being given to waste containing radionuclides of natural origin, often arising from activities not associated with the nuclear fuel cycle or traditional industrial and medical uses of radioactive material.

In view of these various factors the IAEA has given consideration in recent years to the development of a common framework for the management and disposal of radioactive waste. The framework is intended to assist with the development of rational and optimised national radioactive waste management strategies that will provide and assure the necessary levels of safety. An essential component of such a framework is a comprehensive system for the classification of radioactive waste and related work is currently underway on the revision of the international standard on the classification of radioactive waste. The reference to this safety standard is DS390. This work covering all waste types and management and disposal options is at an advanced stage and the workshop took place to discuss the issues involved more broadly at an international level prior to finalization and publication.


The following main topics were covered:

  • The Global Waste Safety Regime
  • Classification of Radioactive Waste
  • Waste Management Policy – Perspectives
  • Disposal Issues Safety Demonstration
  • The concept of a common framework


The objective of the workshop was to create awareness amongst interested parties of the concepts and ideas forming the basis for the common framework and the issues that have arisen in revision of the international standards on the classification of radioactive waste, to provide an international platform for their discussion, and to work towards an internationally harmonised basis for national radioactive waste management policies and implementing strategies providing and assure high levels of safety.


Session Summaries


Submitted papers and posters

All papers and posters (6.2mb)

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