Title: Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste - Moving Towards Implementation
Publisher: European Commission
Publication Year: 2009
JRC N°: JRC45385
ISBN: 978-92-79-12697-0
ISSN: 1018-5593
Other Identifiers: EUR 23925 EN
URI: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/jrc/downloads/jrc_reference_report_2009_10_geol_disposal.pdf
DOI: 10.2790/12387
Type: JRC Reference Reports
Abstract: This report analyses the state-of-the-art of science, technology and procedures needed to implement the desired end-point in (high-level) radioactive waste management: geological disposal. A range of topical areas of relevance has been identified: - technical concepts - site selection - regulatory issues - safety cases - confidence building - alternative concepts - knowledge management - governance Overall it can thus be observed that - our scientific understanding of the processes relevant for geological disposal is developed well enough to proceed with step-wise implementation; this does not mean that research will stop at this point. Generic research will have to continue in response to general scientific developments and to results from site specific investigations. - This study has not identified major conceptual and research gaps for the host rocks and repository systems currently envisaged, (indurated) clays, fractured hard rocks and salt. Certain processes still require better quantification and for various coupled (thermal-hydraulic-mechanical-chemical) processes models still require further development. However, the ensuing results are not likely to change the principal conclusions on the feasibility of geological disposal as such. - Site selection remains a contentious issue and has to balance technical requirements with constraints imposed by the availability of suitable host rock formation on a national basis as well as socio-political constraints. - scientific and regulatory co-operation, e.g. through the Framework Programmes, ensures a Europe-wide harmonised level of scientific understanding and regulatory oversight; - mechanisms to demonstrate equivalency between Member States' regulations might be a more efficient way forward than harmonised or unified regulations; - While the scientific and technical community might be quite confident that implementation can begin, the situation with the regulator and the public in general may be different. Confidence building among all stakeholders with a view to ¿close¿ issues remains an important conceptual and practical challenge; - the awareness of the need to involve all stakeholders in the decision making processes towards implementation of geological is now high throughout Europe; - supporting more advanced countries in their effort to move to implementation is likely to have a knock-on effect in other countries by increasing confidence in stakeholders; - the de facto roles of the EC can be seen as providing the policy framework and R&D funding, of the IAEA as providing regulatory guidance, and of the NEA as providing the conceptual framework.
JRC Directorate:Energy, Transport and Climate

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