International organisations bolster cooperation on waste

30 October 2018

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the International Association for Environmentally Safe Disposal of Radioactive Materials (EDRAM) have pledged to strengthen cooperation and coordination on the development of "safe, effective and secure solutions" for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste and used nuclear fuel.

IAEA officials including Deputy Director Generals Juan Carlos Lentijo and Mikhail Chudakov with the heads of national waste management organizations representing EDRAM after their meeting in Vienna earlier this month (Image: IAEA / W Picot)

IAEA officials including Deputy Director General Mikhail Chudakov,head of the Department of Nuclear Energy, and Deputy Director General Juan Carlos Lentijo, head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, met with a delegation from EDRAM at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna earlier this month.

EDRAM promotes the exchange of knowledge, experience and information on the implementation of national high-level radioactive waste disposal programmes among its 12 members. Representatives from the national radioactive waste management organisations of Canada, Finland, France, Germany and Japan attended the meeting with the IAEA.

The IAEA said the meeting provided an opportunity to discuss key issues related to implementing comprehensive national waste management strategies, including deep geological disposal for high-level waste and used nuclear fuel.

"This was a great opportunity to build on our ongoing communication and discuss the key topics relevant to radioactive waste and spent fuel management," Chudakov said. "These matters are at the heart of the sustainable use of nuclear technologies."

"We at the Agency reiterate that the only solution for safe radioactive waste management is disposal, as outlined in the IAEA safety standards," Lentijo said. "This includes geological disposal of high level waste and spent fuel declared as waste. Our waste management support to Member States follows this principle."

The IAEA is collecting experiences and approaches of Member States in developing deep geological disposal programmes for retaining and transferring knowledge about them. To support this effort, the heads of the national organisations representing EDRAM at the meeting in Vienna offered to jointly develop strategic assessments of this IAEA project. Other IAEA activities also discussed at the meeting include a project on the development and review of safety cases for both the operational and post-closure periods for deep geological disposal.

"We all need to continually exchange information on these matters between us and with international organisations, and understand very deeply the differences and commonalities among them, including from a technical and industrial point of view, in order to be able to explain them to our stakeholders," said EDRAM Chairman Shunsuke Kondo, head of Japan's Nuclear Waste Management Organisation.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News