Radioactive waste produced today must be properly managed without placing undue burden on future generations. Until an appropriate disposal solution becomes available, interim storage of radioactive waste (RW) is essential. Since originally examined in 2006 (OECD NEA 2006), the need for long-term storage of many RW categories has become increasingly likely given the stagnant progress of countries in adopting an official final disposal decision.
To address the subsequent need of extended storage of RW of many NEA member countries, the RWMC created an expert group in 2014 to evaluate predisposal management of radioactive waste including spent fuel (SF). The expert group recognises SF is not considered a waste in some national programmes where SF is to be reprocessed. The group will initially focus its study on current storage practices, their challenges, and their present policy and regulatory framework and strategies. The key objective of the PMRW is to evaluate the current national policies and regulatory framework of NEA member countries for long-term storage. If possible, applicable best practices and effective policies for safe long-term storage, as well as transportation requirements, i.e. RW transfers to interim storage and eventual transfers to final disposal will also be identified.
The main objective of this expert group is to review all relevant issues or challenges associated with predisposal management of different radioactive waste types and SF. In late 2014, the Predisposal Expert Group, which consists of RW storage experts from Belgium, France, Switzerland, Russian Federation, UK, and USA, undertook their initial tasks of assessing various technical, strategic, logistic and safety aspects related to long-term storage and transportation of all RW and SF. Prior to the onset of this work, the experts have reviewed relevant existing information on RW and SF storage such as the NEA 2006 report on "The Roles of Storage in the Management of Long-Lived Radioactive Waste". With their knowledge in worldwide RW and SF transportation and storage practices, this expert group will assist NEA in analysing a survey (in 2015) on the latest storage status and challenges encountered in RWMC member programmes. Detailed results will be published in 2016.
The work of the EGPMRW will be coordinated by the expert group. Work activities are driven by recommendations provided by the RWMC as well as common interest among RWMC members. The mode of operation is by group meetings, periodic workshops and the use of electronic media.
The expert group held its kick-off meeting on 5 December 2014 at the OECD NEA headquarters in Paris to discuss initial work activities. Two other meetings were held in Paris on 13 January and 4 March 2015. Meeting details including key outcomes are provided in the EGPMRW Working Area for members.
Last reviewed: 21 September 2015