Radioactive waste management is often cited as the most important unresolved issue concerning nuclear energy but a broad scientific and technical consensus exists among specialists that all categories of radioactive waste can be managed and disposed of safely with current techniques, provided it is done in accordance with all regulatory requirements. Many stages of radioactive waste management, including the disposal of low-level and medium-level waste, have actually become routine industrial procedures. Strategies are also being developed to store and dispose of high-level, long-lived waste in deep geological repositories.
This clearly written, concise report is intended for the non-specialist reader interested in the situation of radioactive waste management in the OECD area, and in the current expert consensus on the subject. It explains the different principles and stages of radioactive waste management for each category of waste, and addresses issues of environmental protection, safety assessments, financing, public concerns and international co-operation. Annexes summarise the current national radioactive waste management programmes in OECD countries.