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.

Nuclear waste management financing (2016)

MCM was contracted to the University of Pretoria in order to provide a summary of nuclear waste management financing approaches around the world and summarise this through a benchmarking activity covering:

  • Predicted costs, actual costs and associated uncertainties
  • Financing options and evolution
  • Lessons learned, highlighting successes and failures

Working papers were authored and delivered to the University, providing them with guiding principles for the establishment of financing and funding structures for decommissioning and waste disposal programmes along with illustrative case studies highlighting cost components and associated uncertainties and an assessment of international national waste management fund management.

 Input to South Australian Geological Disposal Business Case (2015)

The Australian government has established a Royal Commission to assess the potential benefits of South Australia becoming involved in all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle, including offering storage and disposal services to other countries.

Charles and Neil delivered a number of reports to the Royal Commission , providing them with an understanding of the options available with regards to geological disposal, specifically focusing on the requirement for a bespoke safety case to demonstrate the safety of geological disposal in a particular geographical context. Follow on collaboration saw MCM work with Jacobs Engineering in preparing an initial business case to indicated what the economic advantages might be for South Australia in the field of nuclear fuel cycle activities.

NECSA; South African Nuclear Energy Corporation Limited (2013)

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

United Arab Emirates National Waste Management Programme (2011)

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.

MCM 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.

Managing nuclear waste in the Republic of Korea (2011)

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. The societal and political challenges faced when this cooperation extends to shared storage or disposal facilities has also been analysed.  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.

Estimating the cost for disposal of UK New Build waste (2006)

MCM supported UK Government with advisory services and contributed to cost estimations for a range of scenarios to manage waste arising from New Build reactors. International (and UK) data was used to estimate UK disposal costs for the 2006 baseline radioactive waste inventory (CoRWM baseline) and then new build spent fuel disposal costs have been estimated as a proportion of these, thus showing the incremental cost to the UK of disposing of spent fuel from a new nuclear power programme. Owing to the ability to use existing international repository system designs, it is possible to make an estimate of UK costs by scaling to other national cost estimates, making some assumptions in the process. To do this requires identification of the most appropriate international data on waste disposal costs, using relevant disposal designs.

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