The medium and the message: Challenges and solutions in selecting and preserving records of radioactive waste

A collective statement of the NEA Radioactive Waste Management Committee from 2014 states that maintaining records, knowledge and memory (RK&M) for a radioactive waste repository after its closure will allow future members of society to take informed decisions regarding the repository and its contents and to prevent inadvertent human intrusion. But which records need to be preserved, and how can they continue to be made available over a timescale of potentially many hundreds of years? These are some of the questions that the NEA Expert Group on Archiving for Radioactive Waste Management (EGAR) are currently tasked with considering.

EGAR has pursued its task in two parallel sub-groups. One has been looking at the “what”, with a view to develop the concept of “Set of essential records” (SER) that were established in the NEA initiative on the Preservation of Records, Knowledge and Memory (RK&M) Across Generations. The SER concept should be understood as a collection of the most important records for waste disposal selected for permanent preservation during the lifetime of the repository. It provides sufficient information for a reader to ensure an adequate understanding of the repository system and its performance. This will enable responsible parties to review and verify the repository performance and the safety case, and to make informed decisions. The other sub-group has been considering the “how” and has been exploring archival issues within a nuclear context, such as digitisation of legacy records and database archiving.

EGAR is organising the workshop The medium and the message: Challenges and solutions in selecting and preserving records of radioactive waste to bring together the work of the two sub-groups – the “what” and the “how” – to develop an integrated understanding of what is required to archive the records of radioactive waste management. The relationship of the “Key information file” (KIF) to the SER will also be considered.

The workshop is initiated and led by EGAR and hosted by the Swedish Radiation Authority in Solna, Sweden. The workshop includes an optional visit to the Swedish National Archives which originate from the archives of the Royal Chancery, and cover 400 years of experience of information management. What will be in the archives in 400 years? How should we secure today's and tomorrow’s societal information through time and space? These are important questions for the National Archive and society as a whole to explore.

Workshop objectives
  • Increase understanding of core concepts: Bring about a greater understanding of the KIF and the SER and how they relate to each other, and what has been achieved, as well of archiving methodologies and practices.
  • Consider the application of archival concepts to nuclear records: Understand some of the key differences between traditional archive practice and the requirements of preserving nuclear records, including appraising, selecting, and managing legacy records.
  • Share experiences and best practice: By sharing experiences and best practice, highlight the importance of ensuring that the correct records are created and preserved.
Programme committee

Jasmin Böhmer (BASE)

József Fekete (PURAM)

Charlotta Floberg (SSM)

Linda Okpala (NEA)

Morgan Packer (NEA)

Carl-Henrik Pettersson (SSM)

Gordon Reid (NDA)


The registrations to this event are now closed.