The NEA Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC) created in 1975 is an international committee which consists of senior representatives from regulatory authorities, radioactive waste management and decommissioning organisations, policymaking bodies and research-and-development institutions from the NEA countries.
The RWMC supports members in the development of safe and economically efficient management of all types of radioactive waste including spent fuel considered as radioactive waste based on the latest scientific and technological knowledge. It provides a neutral forum where policymakers, regulators and implementing organisations can discuss issues of common interest, and develop best practices and feasible solutions that meet the diverse needs of its participants.
Members of the RWMC consist of the NEA member countries as well as the European Commission (EC). There is close collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which participates in the work of the committee as an observer.
RWMC applies a holistic as well as a sustainable approach to deal with issues in managing radioactive waste in all phases. In this way, the RWMC systematically identifies its activities by focusing on three main aspects of radioactive waste management: 1) environmental; 2) economic; and 3) societal. These aspects, according to the holistic approach accepted by the RWMC, are considered in the context of three frameworks: legislative, organisational and regulatory.
The NEA Division of Radioactive Waste Management and Decommissioning (RWMD) supports the Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC) in conducting international peer reviews and providing expert feedback to ensure that best practices in regulatory and technical methodologies are adopted in radioactive waste management.
In achieving its objectives, the RWMC is assisted by its working parties and sub-groups, and other expert groups as listed in the diagram above.
The regulator members of the RWMC also participate in a separate Regulators’ Forum (RF) through which they discuss specific topics of regulatory issues in managing radioactive waste. As of 2019, the RF supports both the RWMC and the Committee on Decommissioning of Nuclear Installations and Legacy Management (CDLM) to undertake regulatory challenges in radioactive waste management and nuclear decommissioning and legacy management.
The Forum on Stakeholder Confidence (FSC) also supports both the RWMC and the CDLM committees as of 2019. The FSC assists both committees to address societal issues related to radioactive waste management, decommissioning and legacy management.
The Forum on Stakeholder Confidence (FSC) was established by the NEA Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC) in 2000 and serves as a platform for understanding and enhancing stakeholder engagement in the field of radioactive waste (RW) management solutions. The FSC also supports the Committee on Decommissioning of Nuclear Installations and Legacy Management (CDLM) as of 2019. A stakeholder is defined as any actor – institution, group or individual – with an interest or a role to play in the radioactive waste management process. The FSC provides a setting for direct stakeholder exchange in an atmosphere of mutual respect and learning.
The Integration Group for the Safety Case (IGSC) provides advice to the Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC) on major and emerging issues to facilitate the development of waste management strategies at national and international levels and to enable the management of radioactive waste and materials to benefit from the progress of scientific and technical knowledge.