Radioactive Waste Management

Nuclear Energy Agency

1990-0325 (online)
1990-0333 (print)
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A series of publications from the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency on various aspects of radioactive waste management. The publications in this series of analytical reports and conference proceedings focus on the development of strategies for a safe, broadly acceptable management of sustainable and all types of radioactive waste and materials.

Also available in French
Partnering for Long-Term Management of Radioactive Waste

Partnering for Long-Term Management of Radioactive Waste

Evolution and Current Practice in Thirteen Countries You do not have access to this content

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08 Apr 2010
9789264083707 (PDF) ;9789264083691(print)

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National radioactive waste management programmes are in various phases of siting facilities and rely on distinct technical approaches for different categories of waste. In all cases, it is necessary for institutional actors and the potential or actual host community to build a meaningful, workable relationship. Partnership approaches are effective in achieving a balance between the requirements of fair representation and competent participation. With host community support, they also help ensure the desirable combination of a licensable site and management concept as well as a balance between compensation, local control and development opportunities. This report provides up-to-date information on experience with local partnership arrangements in 13 countries. The characteristics, advantages and aims of community partnerships are also described in addition to the concept's evolution over the past decade.

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  • Foreword
    The Forum on Stakeholder Confidence (FSC) was created in 2000 under a mandate from the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency’s Radioactive Waste Management Committee to facilitate the sharing of international experience in addressing the societal dimension of radioactive waste management (RWM). It explores means of ensuring an effective dialogue amongst all stakeholders and considers ways to strengthen confidence in decision-making processes. The FSC has documented a wealth of experience through topical sessions and studies, and in particular through its national workshops and community visits. Summaries and proceedings are available online at
  • Overview and transversal findings
    The search for sites for radioactive waste management (RWM) facilities attracts attention from implementers, government bodies, local communities and the public at large. Facility siting processes, in general, tend to be marred by conflicts, disagreements and delays. In response a shift has taken place, in the RWM area, from a more traditional "decide, announce and defend" model to one of "engage, interact and co-operate." The essence of the new attitude is an approach of co-operation or partnership between the implementer and the affected communities, involving dialogue between experts and citizens, mutual learning, and public involvement in the process of decision making. National ministries and authorities have also been called to play a more visible role. The intensity and degree of partnering may vary from country to country and in different phases of project development.
  • Introduction
    The Forum on Stakeholder Confidence (FSC) began with the observation that society must be assured that every decision taken for radioactive waste management (RWM) is a considered one, and that governments and RWM institutions must act accordingly. A decision-making process providing opportunities for participation, comment and input from the affected public and interested groups is needed to move RWM programmes forward and ensure the desired high level of protection for the long time scales involved. This process should include rigorous technical reviews as well as the discussion of topics of the public’s choice, including the advantages and disadvantages of alternative waste management strategies. Ultimately, governments are responsible for providing the framework within which the necessary actions can be taken and for making decisions that meet with an appropriate level of societal support.
  • Belgium

    A partnership approach has been put in place in Belgium to develop proposals for facilities for the long-term management of low-level and short-lived intermediate-level waste (LILW) [18]. This means that the local community is directly involved in developing both the facility design and a socioeconomic package for their area. Initially, three such partnerships were set up, leading eventually to two neighbouring municipalities (Dessel and Mol in the province of Antwerp – Flanders region) expressing an interest in hosting a repository facility. In June 2006, the Federal government decided on surface disposal in Dessel as the final destination for Belgian short-lived LILW. Since that decision, the remaining partnerships (STORA in Dessel and MONA in Mol) have both been closely involved in the development of the integrated repository project.

    The following sections outline some of the main elements characterising the partnerships.

  • Canada
    Two processes are underway in Canada, one for legacy low-level waste (LLW) from historical uranium processing and one for operational waste from nuclear power production (low- and intermediate-level waste, designated as operational LILW).
  • Czech Republic
    The Czech Republic has two nuclear power plants (the Dukovany NPP with four WWER type nuclear reactors of 440 MWe, and the Temelín NPP with two WWER type reactors of 1 000 MWe). Dukovany units have been in operation since 1985; the commissioning of the first reactor unit at Temelín started in 2000. Both NPPs assume the extension of their lifetime to 40 years. Construction of a new nuclear generator (probably at the Temelín site) is often discussed and it has political support from most political parties.
  • Finland
    When the Finnish Parliament amended the Nuclear Energy Act by prohibiting export and import of nuclear waste, it became evident that the owner of the Loviisa power plant Imatran Voima Power (Imatran Power-IVO) had to deal with the waste within the Finnish borders. In practice, the only acceptable solution was final disposal, so Teollisuuden Voima Oy (TVO, a nuclear power operator) and IVO jointly established the company Posiva for taking care of spent fuel disposal.
  • France
    The waste management organisation in France is ANDRA, the national radioactive waste management agency. It was established as a commercial and industrial public body under the provisions of the Waste Act of 30 December 1991.22 This Act was integrated in the Environment Code, which was then updated by the 28 June 2006 Planning Act on the Sustainable Management of Radioactive Materials and Waste.23 ANDRA operates near-surface disposal facilities for low- and short-lived intermediate-level waste at Centre de la Manche (now closed and not considered further here) and at Centre de l’Aube; in addition it operates the very low-level waste (VLLW) disposal facility at Morvilliers (near Centre de l’Aube) and is investigating the Bure "transposition zone" for a potential deep geological repository as part of its research on the long-term management of high-level waste (HLW) and long-lived intermediate-level radioactive wastes [17].
  • Hungary
    Hungary has had nuclear activities since the early 1960s. The four reactor units of Paks Nuclear Power Plant (Hungary’s only commercial NPP) commissioned between 1982 and 1987 form the most significant waste source today. Two research and training reactors also contribute to the generation of spent fuel. In each case, fuel waste is temporarily stored on the respective site. Finally, about 2 000 institutions using radioactive isotopes contribute to waste production.
  • Japan
    NUMO, the waste management organisation in Japan, is a non-profit organisation approved by the government. It has been undertaking a volunteer site selection process since December 2002.
  • Korea
    The information in this chapter is taken from the Korean second national report under the IAEA Joint Convention on the safety of spent fuel management and on the safety of radioactive waste management [44] and the presentation given at the IAEA review meeting to discuss submissions. Korea has 20 operating nuclear power plants (NPPs). Six further plants are now under construction and two additional units are planned. Korea has a national radioactive waste management policy created in 1998 and amended in 2004.
  • Spain
    The radioactive waste management agency in Spain, ENRESA (Empresa Nacional de Residuos Radiactivos, S.A.), was set up by Royal Decree in 1984 to manage radioactive wastes generated in Spain and to dismantle the nuclear power plants. ENRESA is a state-owned corporation and is a non profit-making company whose shareholders are the Centre for Energy-Related, Environmental and Technological Research (CIEMAT) and the State Industrial Holding Company (SEPI).
  • Sweden
    The Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB) is responsible for identifying a site for and building a geological repository for the spent nuclear fuel in the country. SKB has used a staged, volunteer process to identify potential sites since the beginning of the 1990s. The initial phase involved feasibility studies at eight sites. Two sites were then selected for site investigations to identify whether they are suitable for implementing a repository. The site investigations started in 2002 and ended in 2007. SKB plans to announce their site selection in the summer of 2009. For many years, the two main regulators involved in the process were the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate (SKI) and the Swedish Radiation Protection Authority (SSI). However, on 1 July 2008 these two authorities were merged into a new authority, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM).
  • Switzerland
    In the 1990s, the Swiss radioactive waste management agency (Nagra) was investigating a site for short-lived radioactive waste at Wellenberg (Canton of Nidwalden). A local implementing organisation (GNW) was founded in 1994. The siting community of Wolfenschiessen signed an agreement with GNW which outlined the rights and obligations of the community with respect to the planned repository. The siting community approved the project in 1994, but progress was blocked in 1995 based on the outcome of a cantonal referendum. A further stepwise attempt to develop the site was made in 2000. This was again blocked by cantonal referendum in 2002, despite local community support. The site was then abandoned and a new siting process for all waste types has been developed in Switzerland, based on the Nuclear Energy Act of March 2003.
  • United Kingdom
    In 2001, the United Kingdom government and devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland initiated the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) programme [62] with the aim of addressing long-term radioactive waste accumulated from a variety of different nuclear programmes, both civil and defence related.
  • United States – waste isolation pilot plant (wipp)
    The United States has an operating geological disposal facility for transuranic wastes (broadly equivalent to long-lived ILW). The facility has operated since 1999 and is managed by Washington TRU Solutions, Limited Liability Company (LLC) on behalf of the Department of Energy (DOE).
  • United States – proposed geological repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada
    In June 2008, the DOE Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) submitted an application to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a licence to construct a geologic repository for high-level nuclear waste and used nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The application was prepared by the OCRWM. In September 2008, the NRC accepted the application for review. Upon completion of a comprehensive technical review, the NRC will conduct formal adjudicatory hearings. Based on the results of the licensing review and the formal hearings, the NRC will decide whether to authorise construction of the Yucca Mountain repository.
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