Radioactive Waste Repository Metadata Management (RepMet)


National radioactive waste repository programmes are collecting large amounts of data to support the long-term management of their nations’ radioactive wastes. The data and the related records increase in number, type, and quality as programmes proceed through the successive stages of repository development: pre-siting, siting, characterisation, construction, operation and finally closure. Regulatory and societal approvals are included in this sequence. Some programmes are also documenting past repository projects and facing a challenge in allowing both current and future generations to understand actions carried out in the past.

Metadata, "data about data", are a key tool of the modern data management. They help the waste management organisations (WMOs) better utilise their data in carrying out their statutory tasks and can also help verify and demonstrate that their programmes are appropriately driven. Metadata also allow context to be stored with data and information so that they can be located, used, updated and maintained. They provide provenance to the data (who, what, when, where, why and how), they describe data quality and they support searching for information (e.g. promote scientific research, engineering, safety assessment).

RepMet initiative

The Radioactive Waste Repository Metadata Management (RepMet) project is an initiative launched in January 2014 under the Integration Group for the Safety Case (IGSC) of the NEA Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC). The current mandate is up to the end of 2017. The initiative aims to bring about a better understanding of the identification, administration and application of metadata to support national programmes in managing their radioactive waste repository data, information and records in a way that is both harmonised internationally and suitable for long-term management and use.

Several worldwide WMOs and research laboratories from NEA countries are involved in the RepMet project: ANDRA (France), ENRESA (Spain), JAEA (Japan), NAGRA (Switzerland), NDA/RWM (UK), NWMO (Canada), ONDRAF/NIRAS (Belgium), POSIVA (Finland), PURAM (Hungary), DoE Sandia National Laboratories (USA), SKB (Sweden), SURAO (Czech Republic). The RepMet group meets twice yearly; working groups, composed of RepMet members and contractors, carry on the project work in the intervening periods.

Current activities

The RepMet initiative is developing the conceptual design of data libraries to support the use of metadata, across three disciplines relevant to radioactive waste repositories. These activities can be found in the table below.

RepMet Libraries
Waste Packaging Waste Package Library Packaged waste and spent nuclear fuel ready for final disposal at the repository
Geoscience Site Characterisation Library Repository site characterisation measurement
Engineering Repository Design Library Repository requirements and structures at the closure

Each RepMet library includes a high level data model together with a set of well-defined data attributes. The data attributes, according to their data-type, are underpinned by sets of metadata that support and help the long-term use of the data. For the latter, the RepMet group is focusing on the application and implementation of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Observation & Measurement (O&M) metadata standard.

Related links

Vision document

Download the vision document for the RepMet project.


Members' areas


Last reviewed: 13 February 2018