Radioactive waste is produced in all phases of the nuclear fuel cycle and from the use of radioactive materials in industrial, medical, defence and research applications. Disposal in engineered facilities, or repositories, located in suitable geological formations is being developed worldwide as the reference solution for the long-term management of radioactive waste. Societal agreement for deep geological repositories depends on confidence that they can protect humans and the environment both now and in the future. The safety of a repository is evaluated and documented in a “safety case” that support decision making at each stage of repository development. It presents the underlying evidence and methods that give confidence in the quality of scientific and institutional processes as well as in the results of analyses.
The Integration Group for the Safety Case (IGSC) was established in 2000 by the NEA Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC) in recognition of the need to foster full integration of all aspects of the safety case. The IGSC is the main technical advisory body to the RWMC on the deep geological disposal especially of long-lived and high-level radioactive waste. More information of the IGSC is provided on the IGSC “identity flyer”.
The mission of the IGSC is to assist member countries to develop effective safety cases supported by robust scientific technical basis. In addition to the technical aspects in all developmental stages of repository implementation, the group also provides a platform for international dialogues between safety experts to address strategic and policy aspects of repository development.
The development of a safety case involves inputs of various disciplines (e.g. engineering, geology, radiation protection, etc). The IGSC provides an open, neutral forum for experts to interact and communicate. IGSC activities foster consensus on best practices and advance the development of innovative approaches used in all stages of repository implementation. Activities are organised in the following thematic framework (further information forthcoming):
The IGSC also participates in international projects and work activities to stay abreast of the state-of-the art knowledge and technologies in safe radioactive waste management. Examples of international projects include, but not limited to: Fate of Repository Gases, monitoring developments for Safe Repository Operation and Staged Closure and Implementing to Geological Disposal – Technical Platform.
Post-closure Safety Case for Geological Repositories (2004)
Nature and Purpose
Establishing and Communicating Confidence in the Safety of Deep Geologic Disposal (2002)
Approaches and Arguments
Radiological Protection and Geological Disposal
The Guiding Principles and Recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP)
The IGSC is made up of senior technical specialists experienced in the assembling or review of the safety case for deep geological disposal projects. Most members are drawn from waste management agencies, regulatory authorities and research and development institutions. The level of seniority of the IGSC members is such that they can mobilise relevant specialists in their own organisation and, in principle, can make resources available for IGSC initiatives. The IGSC currently has 46 members from 38 organisations in 17 countries.
|United Kingdom||United States of America||European Commission|
The mode of operation of the IGSC is through the following:
The IGSC also co-operates with its counterparts in the European Commission (EC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to maintain international consistency on geological disposal safety issues.
Assistance is provided to the member countries through national, regional and inter-regional technical co-operation projects, as well as through peer reviews of radioactive waste management programmes. The outcomes of IGSC projects are documented in NEA technical reports that are publicly available.