Press Release
Paris, 7 July 2000



The OSPAR commission welcomes the NEA report on radiological impacts of spent nuclear fuel management options

At its annual meeting on 26-30 June 2000 in Copenhagen, Denmark, the OSPAR Commission discussed and welcomed the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) report on Radiological Impacts of Spent Nuclear Fuel Management Options: A Comparative Study. The NEA report was prepared on the request of OSPAR, the International Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic.

This study compares the radiological impacts on the public and on nuclear workers resulting from two approaches to handling spent fuel discharged from nuclear power plants:

  • the reprocessing option, that includes the recycling of spent uranium fuel, the reuse of the separated plutonium in MOX fuel, and the direct disposal of spent MOX fuel; and

  • the once-through option, with no reprocessing of spent fuel and its direct disposal.

The OSPAR Commission expressed its satisfaction and gratitude to the NEA for a very good, comprehensive and authoritative study on this complex issue. The Commission considered that the study was scientifically sound and based on an internationally accepted methodology.

The OSPAR Commission recognised that the NEA study is a source of scientific knowledge and provides an important input to future OSPAR work on radioactive substances. The findings of the NEA study will assist the Commission in the implementation of the OSPAR Strategy with regard to Radioactive Substances.

Furthermore, it was pointed out that the NEA study outlined the need for further development of environmental quality criteria, an issue which is currently being addressed by several international organisations.

Radiological Impacts of Spent Nuclear Fuel Management Options: A Comparative Study
OECD, Paris 2000
ISBN 92-64-17657-8

Please quote the title and reference in any review.


Ms. Cynthia Gannon-Picot 
Head, External Relations and Public Affairs
OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)
Tel.: +33 (1) 45 24 10 10
Fax: +33 (1) 45 24 11 10