NEA Mandates and Structures

Expert Group on Pre-disposal Management of Radioactive Waste (EGPMRW)

Chair(s): Jean-Michel HOORELBEKE, France
Secretary:  Massimo CIAMBRELLA
Vice-Chair(s): Marnix BRAECKEVELDT, Belgium
Virginie WASSELIN-TRUPIN, France
Evgeny KORCHAGIN, Russia
Igor PRON, Russia
Tiberio CABIANCA, United Kingdom
Wendy REED, United States
Member(s):All NEA member countries
Full participant(s): European Commission
Under the NEA Statute
Observer(s)(International Organisation): International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
By agreement
Date of creation:31 December 2014
End of mandate:31 December 2018

Mandate (Document reference):

Mandate (Document extract):

Extract from document [NEA/RWM(2017)1/PROV]

1.   Preamble

Radioactive waste is produced from industrial, medical and research use of radioactive materials. It must be properly managed in order to protect humans and the environment. The eventual safe disposal of all categories of radioactive waste is a necessity. It is an ethical decision that the generation producing the waste must be responsible for the waste, and not place an undue burden on future generations. Until an appropriate disposal solution becomes available, safe interim storage of the already existing radioactive waste is essential. There is also a universal consensus that perpetual storage is not feasible or acceptable, storage and disposal are complementary activities with both needed as part of an overall radioactive waste management strategy.

Predisposal management of radioactive waste (RW) and spent fuel (SF) is an interrelated process covering many different activities extending from generation up to acceptance for disposal in a repository facility. Depending on the circumstances, it can include handling, consideration of waste acceptance criteria, pre-treatment, treatment, conditioning, interim storage, activities characterising the waste, the waste form or the waste package, and transportation of RW/SF. Depending on the national radioactive waste management strategies, different types of RW (and SF if reprocessing is not applied) are to be managed in the predisposal management activities.

In 2014, the RWMC approved the creation of an expert group on Predisposal Management of Radioactive Waste for an extended period of time with a view to disposal at the RWMC-47 session [NEA/RWM/M(2014)1].

2.    Description

The overall objective of this expert group is to review all relevant issues associated with predisposal management of different radioactive waste types and spent fuel (whether SF is reprocessed or not). In particular, the Committee reminded the Secretariat that, in planning/formulating the work scope of this working group, activities ongoing at the international organizations such as the IAEA and EC in the area of predisposal management of radioactive waste must be considered in order to avoid replicate efforts.

This mandate, prepared under the instructions of the RWMC Bureau, specifies the role of an expert group on predisposal management of radioactive material. Given that predisposal management is characterised by a wide range of activities which in many cases are dependent on the ultimate disposition strategy for the radioactive waste and spent fuel, this working group will focus on main aspects related to activities in storage (particularly extended storage) and transportation of RW/SF. The technical, strategic, logistic and safety aspects can be defined as topics for the initial review of the current situation in NEA countries. 

2.1       Proposed objectives:

2.2       Organisational structure and mode of operation

To accomplish the above- mentioned objectives, an expert group is formed to design and prioritise the required work activities. This expert group, consists of 5-6 experts representing different RW management organisations (i.e. implementers, regulators, researcher, etc.), and will carry out activities as described in the Programme of Work (PoW). Further participants may include other RWMC members and organisations expressing interest in obtaining/receiving the information.

The expert group will hold regular meeting(s) at which its work programme and individual activities will be established, updated, and reported. Organisational issues will also be addressed in the meeting(s). The Chair, as elected by the E.G, will lead the project to address relevant predisposal issues and make final decisions on outstanding matters. Work activities may be proposed or recommended by RWMC members and should be driven by common interest in this issue. The mode of operation is by expert group meetings, periodic workshop(s) and the use of electronic media. It is envisaged that there will be at least one expert group meeting and one workshop per calendar year to discuss work progress.

The Chair will report major work accomplishments and status of work activities at the RWMC annual meeting.

2.3       Areas of work

The expert group plans to review the following topics:

  1. Current transportation experience and planning of radioactive waste and SF in RWMC member countries. This includes:

2. Extended storage of RW and spent fuel (prior to disposal or reprocessing):

To achieve the above objectives (Section 2.1), the following tasks will be carried out:

  1. Design a questionnaire to seek further details of the current situation of RW and spent fuel management in NEA member countries. Analyse current strategies, practices of storage/management, and challenges encountered in national programmes. Identify best practices, strategies, technical/engineering options in managing RW and spent fuel taking into account future transfer needs of RW (and SF) to disposal facilities. 
  2. Using the 2006 NEA RWMC report as a base, document key findings in a report summarising the crucial elements in safe, long-term management of RW and spent fuel.

Information sources available to the expert group include: NEA RWMC national reports, country reports from the Joint Convention, and results from the questionnaire.


The expert group composes of senior experts with experience in storage and transporting radioactive waste and spent fuel in view of final disposal, as described in Section 2.2.

Duration of the mandate

The duration of the expert group is 2 years (until the end of 2018). Given the nature of the expert group, an extension of the mandate is envisaged at the discretion.