Geological disposal is now well established as the ultimate end-point for managing long-lived radioactive waste in a safe manner which will protect human and the environment passively for the required long time scales (more information is provided in the RWMC 2008 Collective Statement).
The modern concept of the "safety case" was first introduced by the NEA Expert Group on Integrated Performance Assessment (IPAG) and was developed in the NEA confidence document of 1999. Since then the concept has been adopted internationally. The revised NEA brochure Post-closure Safety Case for Geological Repositories (2013) reviews and discusses the purpose and general contents of a safety case. Similar concepts are presented in the IAEA Safety Requirements on Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste WS-R-4 (2006), and in the recent document: Disposal of Radioactive Waste, IAEA Specific Safety Requirements SSR-5 (2011) specifically states that developing a safety case, presenting it for review and using it as input for decision-making is an explicit requirement. The recent EU Directive (2011/70/Euratom) on radioactive waste and spent fuel management also shows consistent perception of a safety case.
In 2007, the NEA, in concert with the IAEA and the EC, organised the first Symposium entitled: Safety Cases for the Deep Disposal of Radioactive Waste: Where Do We Stand?
Since 2007, there have been major developments in a number of national geological disposal programmes and significant experience has been obtained both in preparing and reviewing cases for the operational and long-term safety of proposed and operating repositories. The purpose of the Symposium is to determine and document changes in the state-of-the-art since 2007.
The purpose of this second symposium was to determine and document evolution in the state-of-the-art since the first symposium in 2007. Six years after the previous symposium was an opportune time for stocktaking: there had been major developments in a number of nations pursuing geological disposal programmes, and significant experience had been obtained both in preparing and reviewing cases for the operational and long-term safety of proposed and operating repositories. Some countries were approaching industrial implementation of geological disposal and have therefore increasingly focused on the feasibility of safely constructing and operating a repository in a manner that is safe and secure in the short- as well as in the long-term (see the NEA flyer The Construction and Operation of Geological Disposal Facilities for HLW – Challenges and Opportunities).
There was also new insight into the bases for regulations, and new advice came from organisations such as the ICRP, the EC, IAEA, and the WENRA. The NEA Regulators' Forum (RF) has published widely on the basis for and issues in regulations.
Societal decision-making had also seen an increase in understanding through experience. Decision-makers at the higher governmental and political levels took into account a range of societal issues and may have chosen to assume that a safety case is adequate if the national or state regulatory authority judges it to be so and if the society at large is judged to have been adequately involved. The NEA Forum on Stakeholder Confidence (FSC) has been documenting this societal decision-making experience.
The aims of the symposium were:
OECD Conference Centre, CC 1
2, rue André Pascal
75775 Paris Cedex 16, France
The 2013 Safety Case Symposium took place at the OECD Conference Centre.
The 2013 symposium provided a forum for all work in the area of developing safety cases for geological disposal of radioactive waste. The event featured plenary talks by keynote speakers. In addition, the symposium invited papers (in extended abstracts format) on both technical and social aspects of enhancing safety in safety case development.