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International Workshop on High Level Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management — Storage and Disposal

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An International Workshop on High Level Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management — Storage and Disposal took place in Stockholm, Sweden, from 29 November to 1 December 2011. The workshop was hosted by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM). Synthesis

Purpose

The purpose of the workshop was to discuss Member States’ strategies regarding high level radioactive waste and spent fuel management, in particular focusing on storage and disposal, as well as to discuss the safety implications and sustainability of extended periods of storage.
Although significant progress has been made by Member States in safely managing their radioactive waste, efforts are still needed in a number of countries to develop a comprehensive national strategy that includes disposal and to strengthen the national infrastructure accordingly. One of the greatest challenges in the management of spent fuel and radioactive waste is the development and implementation of disposal strategies. In particular, geological disposal of high level waste and spent fuel remains a topic of concern and its implementation has been delayed in many countries.

Storage is a necessary step in the overall management of radioactive waste and spent fuel. In recent years, mainly because of the unavailability of permanent disposal facilities, stores originally intended as temporary facilities have had their lifetimes extended up to 100 years and beyond and serious consideration has been given, in some countries, to the use of storage as a long–term management option.
As a consequence discussions and debates arise again on the safety, security and sustainability of storage over long time periods and on the content of radioactive waste and spent fuel management strategies including the issue of long term storage versus disposal.

Scope

The workshop discussed topics related to management strategies, storage and disposal of high level radioactive waste and spent fuel including:

  • The establishment and implementation of comprehensive radioactive waste management strategies;
  • The safety implications of longer periods of storage and how long-term storage can safely be envisaged;
  • The importance of international cooperation for the storage and disposal of high level radioactive waste;
  • The link between the availability of geological disposal facilities for high level radioactive waste and period of storage; and
  • The implications of longer periods of storage for knowledge transfer.

Objective

It is expected that the workshop will contribute to strengthening the IAEA’s position on high level radioactive waste and spent fuel management strategies.

The target audience was government and industry representatives, including senior policymakers, regulators and facility operators, and their technical experts. The workshop was directed at a broad spectrum of professional disciplines, including radioactive waste management, radiation protection, environmental engineering, mechanical and civil engineering, and radiological assessment.

In conjunction with the workshop the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB) offered technical visits to the central interim storage for nuclear fuel (Clab) and the final repository for radioactive operational waste (SFR).

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| Last update: Tuesday, 09 December, 2014.