National Waste Management Strategies and Disposal Programmes

Preparing the conditions for a European Joint Programme on Radioactive Waste Management (including Disposal) – (2015-2018)

MCM has been participating in the 3 year EC JOPRAD project to support identification and development of the scientific basis of a potential future joint programme on radioactive waste management. The ambition has been to identify research, development and demonstration (RD&D) needs of  common interest between nationally mandated organisations with a formal responsibility for managing RD&D in the field of radioactive waste management. This includes Waste Management Organisations, Technical Support Organisations (fulfilling a Regulatory Expertise Function) and Research Entities. MCM staff, together with RWM, ANDRA, and the European Joint Research Centre (JRC) have authored the JOPRAD Programme Document, and supported all coordination of inputs from 37 individual organisations, representing 16 European countries. The outputs included an open and transparent methodology for development of a strategic research agenda with clear priorities identified as suitable for future Joint Programming. MCM also supported organisation of an open consultation and Programme Document workshop in London, April 2017.

Review of NDA site licence companies integrated waste strategies (2015)

MCM, with partners PT&C, completed an assessment of Site Licence Company (SLC) Integrated Waste Strategies (IWS) across the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) estate against the requirements of ENG01 Revision 03.  This involved a review of both the IWS documents and how SLCs applied the Integrated Waste Strategy guidance to support waste management.  This assessment was coupled to an appraisal of how waste characterisation is managed across the NDA estate and included a review of the supporting processes, procedures and how it is used to support decision making.  The management of non-radioactive and hazardous wastes were also reviewed, including how the waste hierarchy and duty of care are applied.  The Figure below illustrates the approach to conducting this work.

United Arab Emirates National Waste Management Programme

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the most dynamic new nuclear nations, with the first two of a planned series of 8 nuclear power plants currently under construction. MCM has performed a study, “Strategy and Road Map for a National Waste Management Programme” for the UAE Government examining all of the storage, transport and disposal capabilities that must be developed.

We produced a road map indicating the steps to be taken and the decision points arising over the next decades in order to have a credible waste management strategy that retains maximum flexibility.

Review of alternatives options for managing radioactive waste (2011)

As part of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) process, the RWM is required to consider and report on reasonable options and alternatives for managing radioactive waste. MCM was contracted to draft the preliminary review of current options including alternatives to direct disposal (storage and partitioning and transmutation) and alternative ways of disposal to geological disposal (near-surface disposal and deep borehole disposal). A central aspect of the review was to highlight the potential implications for geological disposal if a decision were taken to route some of the disposal inventory towards one of the alternatives, as keeping this possibility under consideration will be important for RWMs strategic planning. For example, it could affect the design, size or time scheduling of a Geological Disposal Facility.

NECSA South African Nuclear Energy Corporation Limited

MCM has been involved in projects to help develop various aspects of the South African Spent Fuel Management Strategy. Specific studies have been carried out on:

  • Storage Options for Spent Fuel
  • Multi-attribute Analysis of Integrated Management Systems for Spent Fuel
  • A Comprehensive Strategy for Management of Spent Fuel in South Africa
  • Viability of Indigenous Reprocessing of Spent Fuel

Managing nuclear waste (Republic of Korea)

MCM co-authored with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) of the USA a study for KAERI on “Managing Nuclear Waste in the Republic of Korea: Issues and Options”. This looked at the safety and security of all strategies for managing spent fuel from the Korean programme.

Several MCM Staff Members were closely involved with the buildup of the Swiss national radioactive waste management programme for over 20 years, from its early phases.

Assessment of the Potential Benefits of Regional, Multinational Cooperation 

MCM has studied the safety, security and economic benefits of regional cooperation between countries in radioactive waste management. We have also analysed the societal and political challenges faced when this cooperation extends to shared storage or disposal facilities.  Our work has covered regional initiatives in Europe, in the Arab regions and also in Asia.  MCM staff members have led relevant European Commission projects, authored and co-authored a series of IAEA advisory documents, and also performed country-specific studies on multinational cooperation for various national programmes including Italy, South Korea, Switzerland, and the UAE.

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