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).
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.
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 are:
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.
Download the vision document for the RepMet project.
Last reviewed: 20 January 2017