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Management of disused sealed sources

International Workshop on Sustainable Management of Disused Sealed Sources - Working Towards Disposal, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 12-16 January 2009

The IAEA in colloboration with Government of Thailand hosted an international workshop on the above topic under its ANSN programme - the Safety of Nuclear Installations in South East Asia, Pacific and Far East Countries. The workshop was be hosted by the Government of Thailand through the Thailand Institute of Nuclear Technology (TINT).

Purpose

The purpose of the workshop was to promote the safe and secure management of disused sealed radioactive sources - DSRS - and to address the sustainability of such sources. The workshop was attended by approximately 80 managers and experts from 23 countries representing national programmes, regulatory bodies, implementing and source management organizations, and international projects. The topics discussed at the meeting covered the life cycle of disused sources with a special focus on long term management aspects, namely storage and disposal. For many participating countries the sustainable management of DSRS remains a challenge, as most DSRS have no final disposition route.

The workshop had six themes covered by invited lectures, round table discussions and working group sessions: international cooperation, national policies and strategies for source management, storage and disposal, including borehole disposal of DSRS, and associated regulatory aspects. final programme

Outcomes

  • The participants acknowledged the IAEA efforts to strengthen the safety and security of DSRS and to support the upgrading of DSRS management infrastructure in Member States
  • A number of storage facilities have been built recently or renovated with physical protection upgrades allowing for improved control of DSRS. While storage is a necessary intermediate step, disposal is generally recognized to provide a safer and more secure solution for all types of radioactive sources, although very short lived sources are suitable for decay storage
  • In terms of long-term sustainability, there is no better option than disposal. The lack of licensed disposal facilities accepting long-lived DSRS is a worldwide issue and calls for the development of dedicated solutions. In this respect, the workshop participants unanimously recognized that the borehole disposal system known as “BOSS” (borehole disposal of sealed sources) has become a mature concept and is ready for implementation in candidate Member States, in particular those where disused sources are prevailing in radioactive waste inventories
  • All workshop participants, including safety and security experts, acknowledged it to be a simple, flexible and cost-effective solution that provides for safety and security for all types of DSRS
  • Unanimous support was extended to broader and better coordinated international efforts for implementing complete and integrated systems for “cradle to grave” management of SRS (i.e., including disposal). In this respect, the workshop participants encouraged the IAEA to play a leading role coordinating efforts through the use of international instruments, such as the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, the Import/Export Guidance and the Joint Convention on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management

The main focus of the workshop was disposal. However, other aspects of DSRS management were discussed including the operational aspects, long-term safety of storage, and the challenges to effective management. The conditions of implementation of disposal options were addressed in detail. Key outcomes of the workshop have been summarized as a statement of findings and recommendations.

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| Last update: Tuesday, 09 December, 2014.