Managing the ever-increasing amounts of information and knowledge across a project lifetime spanning multiple generations is a challenge faced by all repository programmes. The IGSC has identified a variety of tools that can be used to structure and thus better manage and transfer this knowledge, and has examined the issues around using metadata within national programmes. It has also identified the need to keep the safety case consistent with evolving and expanding requirements, design specifications and data changes (termed “configuration management” by some programmes). In addition, another key issue is to present safety cases to stakeholders in a way that effectively communicates and builds confidence in safety, including not only the technical aspects of safety, but also organisational structures and the legal and regulatory framework.
Radioactive Waste Repository Metadata Management (RepMet)
Launched by the IGSC in 2018, RepMet analysed and investigated the application of metadata within national programmes for radioactive waste repositories. The initiative identified numerous benefits of using metadata within national programmes, including more structured management of information, meeting statutory requirements, and ensuring that data quality is consistent with requirements. The initiative also noted that metadata have a role to play at all stages of the lifecycle of a radioactive waste repository.
Safety case communication and stakeholder interaction
The IGSC has been explicitly addressing safety case communication and stakeholder interaction in its work. A major milestone was the IGSC report "Communication on the Safety Case for a Deep Geological Repository", based on review of national and international examples of communication on safety-relevant issues and stakeholder interaction. The report was reviewed by NEA’s Forum on Stakeholder Confidence (FSC), and the collaboration led to broader co-operation with the FSC while organising a joint workshop on “Communication on the Safety Case for a Deep Geological Repository” in 2017 and a joint topical session on “Managing Uncertainty in Siting and Implementation – Creating a Dialogue between Science and Society” in 2019.
Approaches and Methods for Integrating Geologic Information in the Safety Case (AMIGO)
The programme aimed to advance current understanding of the the safety case, identify where future work is needed and reduce uncertainties. After a series of workshops, it concluded that concepts such as ‘geosynthesis’ and ‘safety functions’ have provided useful mechanisms to prioritise and synthesise geoscientific information and to relate this information directly to the safety case.
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 stakeholder dialogue and discussing methods to develop shared confidence, informed consent and approval of radioactive waste (RW) management solutions. 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.