Towards Transparent, Proportionate and Deliverable Regulation for Geological Disposal

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These workshop proceedings highlight the significant amount of work accomplished over the past decade in delivering transparent, proportionate regulation for geological disposal, and identify important differences between national regulations even if these are not in contradiction with international guidance. They also underline the importance of R&D carried out on behalf of the regulator. In addition to the contributed papers, these proceedings trace the numerous discussions that formed an integral part of the workshop. They constitute an important and unique documentary basis for researchers and radioactive waste management specialists. Themes addressed include duties to future generations, timescales for regulation, stepwise decision making, roles of optimisation and best available techniques (BAT), multiple lines of reasoning, safety and performance indicators, recognition of uncertainties and the importance of stakeholder interactions.



Human Actions

Nuclear Energy Agency

There is general agreement that geologic disposal of long-lived radioactive waste provides the greatest degree of isolation from the biosphere, and hence the greatest protection for humans, over the extended time frames during which the waste presents a hazard. Geologic disposal has an additional advantage in that it does not rely on active institutional controls to maintain and protect the facility, but is instead intended to operate passively even if all knowledge of the facility is lost. Thus, geologic disposal does not rely on the questionable assumption that governmental or other responsible institutions can be maintained in perpetuity; this, however, also raises the possibility that some future human action could be taken that disrupts the repository and compromises its ability to isolate the radioactive material. It is clear, therefore, that some evaluation of this possibility must be included in the overall safety case for the facility. The nature and extent of the analysis, as well as the relative importance it is assigned within the safety case, is less clear.


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