Timing of High-level Waste Disposal

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This study identifies key factors influencing the timing of high-level waste (HLW) disposal and examines how social acceptability, technical soundness, environmental responsibility and economic feasibility impact on national strategies for HLW management and disposal. Based on case study analyses, it also presents the strategic approaches adopted in a number of national policies to address public concerns and civil society requirements regarding long-term stewardship of high-level radioactive waste. The findings and conclusions of the study confirm the importance of informing all stakeholders and involving them in the decision-making process in order to implement HLW disposal strategies successfully.

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Executive Summary

Nuclear Energy Agency

The present study relates to a particular aspect of radioactive waste management: the timing of the disposal of high-level waste (including spent nuclear fuel). This is an important issue for all countries with an existing nuclear power programme, whether or not it is intended that nuclear power should be phased out or expanded – the waste already exists and must be managed in any event. It is equally important for countries planning a new nuclear power programme where none has previously existed. Some of the discussion and conclusions will be familiar to those already involved in implementing HLW strategies. The intended audience is those who are not already versed in these issues.

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