NEA Mandates and Structures

Working Party on Information, Data and Knowledge Management (WP-IDKM)

Chair(s): Secretary:  Rebecca TADESSE
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:01 January 2020
End of mandate:31 December 2022

Mandate (Document reference):

Mandate (Document extract):

Extract of document NEA/RWM(2019)9/FINAL


Radioactive waste management (RWM) is highly demanding in the area of information, data and knowledge management (IDKM), due to the extended duration of national programmes that tend to run for decades, the volume of interrelated information, data and knowledge produced and the need to preserve it for a very long term. Similarly, decommissioning nuclear facilities deals with analogous challenges, because the decommissioning phase may last even longer than the decades of a facility’s operation, especially as a number of countries are considering postponing dismantling activities for several reasons.

The generation that launched or actively participated in national radioactive waste management programmes, as well as the generation that designed, built and operated the current fleet of nuclear installations is retired or is approaching their retirement age and new experts may not have been trained to maintain and enhance practical knowledge and technical expertise in RWM and decommissioning programmes. The RWM and the decommissioning communities have already experienced the consequences of poor IDKM practices that are currently effecting the development of national programmes and the advancement of decommissioning projects. The lack of information in the present national inventories of radioactive waste and spent fuel; the loss of knowledge related to the design and the operational history of nuclear installations, as well as the loss of data and information about the legacy waste at the installation site; and the irretrievability of rationales for technical choices and decisions about the preliminary design of the disposal facilities are all results of poor IDKM. At present, Radioactive Waste Management Organisations (RWMOs) and decommissioning operators have to compensate for these shortfalls with substantial efforts in terms of human, temporal and financial resources. Furthermore, efficient IDKM practices require implementation over very long timescales, due to the nature of RWM of high-level waste, and will require great efforts not only from the technical point of view, but also from the social and human points of view, to ensure the preservation of radioactive waste repository memory.

The RWM community and the NEA Secretariat has produced a document – the IDKM Roadmap – containing a collection of activities related to IDKM that the member countries representatives have expressed interest in carrying out under the auspices of the Radioactive Waste Management Committee.


The Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC) established the Working Party on IDKM (WP-IDKM) on 19 April 2019 during the RWMC’s 52nd session, in order to support member countries in dealing with IDKM challenges in the development of national programmes for RWM and decommissioning. A dedicated Terms of Reference (ToR) [NEA/RWM(2019)8] was discussed at the same meeting and shared with the audience.

The WP-IDKM will support and advise the RWMC and, when requested, the CDLM, in covering the entire spectrum of IDKM for RWM and decommissioning, from cradle to grave and beyond. The WP-IDKM will be composed of a spectrum of IDKM specialists in RWM, decommissioning and non-related fields from NEA member countries, e.g. engineers and scientists in RWMOs, decommissioning and other technical domains involved with data and information management, knowledge managers and social scientists involved with knowledge management on extended timescales (hundreds of years).

This Working Party shall act as:

The NEA Division of Radioactive Waste Management and Decommissioning will support the WP-IDKM in achieving its objectives.


The WP-IDKM shall:

Working Methods

Member countries are invited to support the WP-IDKM activities by providing the necessary resources in terms of voluntary financial contributions or in-kind contributions to the NEA. The initial mandate will be for three years, with the possibility of being extended at the discretion of the RWMC.

The WP-IDKM shall meet once a year to discuss the ongoing activities and key issues, and evaluating possible collaboration with other projects in and outside of the NEA. Moreover, the WP-IDKM will report to the RWMC at its meetings, and the WP-IDKM Chair will report to the RWMC Bureau at least twice per year, unless otherwise decided by the RWMC.