Radioactive Waste Management Publications


Alphabetical list of titles
Cost Estimation for Decommissioning (2010)
An International Overview of Cost Elements, Estimation Practices and Reporting Requirements
Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste: National Commitment, Local and Regional Involvement (2012)
A Collective Statement of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency Radioactive Waste Management Committee Adopted March 2012
Reversibility and Retrievability in Planning for Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste (2012)
Proceedings of the "R&R" International Conference and Dialogue, 14-17 December 2010, Reims, France
Reversibility of Decisions and Retrievability of Radioactive Waste (2012)
Considerations for National Geological Disposal Programmes
Stakeholder Confidence in Radioactive Waste Management (2013)
An Annotated Glossary of Key Terms
The Long-term Radiological Safety of a Surface Disposal Facility for Low-level Waste in Belgium (2012)
An International Peer Review of Key Aspects of ONDRAF/NIRAS' Safety Report of November 2011 in Preparation for the License Application
The Post-closure Radiological Safety Case for a Spent Fuel Repository in Sweden (2012)
An International Peer Review of the SKB License-application Study of March 2011

Detailed publication list

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Guide for International Peer Reviews of Decommissioning Cost Studies for Nuclear Facilities
English, 49 pages, published: 10/27/14
NEA#7190
Available online at: http://www.oecd-nea.org/rwm/pubs/2014/7190-guide-peer-reviews.pdf
Peer reviews are a standard co-operative OECD working tool that offer member countries a framework to compare experiences and examine best practices in a host of areas. The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) has developed a proven methodology for conducting peer reviews in radioactive waste management and nuclear R&D. Using this methodology, the NEA Radioactive Waste Management Committee’s Working Party on Decommissioning and Dismantling (WPDD) developed the present guide as a framework for decommissioning cost reviewers and reviewees to prepare for and conduct international peer reviews of decommissioning cost estimate studies for nuclear facilities. It includes checklists that will help national programmes or relevant organisations to assess and improve decommissioning cost estimate practices in the future. This guide will act as the NEA reference for conducting such international peer reviews.
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Nuclear Site Remediation and Restoration during Decommissioning of Nuclear Installations
English, 244 pages, published: 08/18/14
NEA#7192
Available online at: http://www.oecd-nea.org/rwm/pubs/2014/7192-cpd-report.pdf
Decommissioning of nuclear facilities and related remedial actions are currently being undertaken around the world to enable sites or parts of sites to be reused for other purposes. Remediation has generally been considered as the last step in a sequence of decommissioning steps, but the values of prevention, long-term planning and parallel remediation are increasingly being recognised as important steps in the process. This report, prepared by the Task Group on Nuclear Site Restoration of the NEA Co-operative Programme on Decommissioning, highlights lessons learnt from remediation experiences of NEA member countries that may be particularly helpful to practitioners of nuclear site remediation, regulators and site operators. It provides observations and recommendations to consider in the development of strategies and plans for efficient nuclear site remediation that ensures protection of workers and the environment.
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R&D and Innovation Needs for Decommissioning Nuclear Facilities
English, 314 pages, published: 07/21/14
NEA#7191
Available online at: http://www.oecd-nea.org/rwm/pubs/2014/7191-rd-innovation-needs.pdf
Nuclear decommissioning activities can greatly benefit from research and development (R&D) projects. This report examines applicable emergent technologies, current research efforts and innovation needs to build a base of knowledge regarding the status of decommissioning technology and R&D. This base knowledge can be used to obtain consensus on future R&D that is worth funding. It can also assist in deciding how to collaborate and optimise the limited pool of financial resources available among NEA member countries for nuclear decommissioning R&D.

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Stakeholder Confidence in Radioactive Waste Management
An Annotated Glossary of Key Terms
English, 64 pages, published: 03/01/13
NEA#6988
Available online at: http://www.oecd-nea.org/rwm/docs/2013/6988-fsc-glossary.pdf
The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) Forum on Stakeholder Confidence (FSC) Annotated Glossary is a review of concepts central to societal decision making about radioactive waste management. It records the evolution in understanding that has taken place in the group as the FSC has worked with these concepts over time. This should be a useful resource not only for new FSC participants but also for others: this annotated glossary forms a good reference handbook for future texts regarding societal aspects of radioactive waste management and its governance.

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Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste: National Commitment, Local and Regional Involvement
A Collective Statement of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency Radioactive Waste Management Committee Adopted March 2012
English, 24 pages, published: 07/18/12
NEA#7082, ISBN: 978-92-64-99183-5
Available online at: http://www.oecd-nea.org/rwm/reports/2012/7082-geo-disposal-statement.pdf

Other language(s):
- Français: Stockage géologique des déchets radioactifs : Engagement national, participation locale et régionale 
Disposal in engineered facilities built in stable, deep geological formations is the reference solution for permanently isolating long-lived radioactive waste from the human biosphere. This management method is designed to be intrinsically safe and final, meaning that it is not dependent on human presence or intervention in order to fulfil its safety goal. Selecting the site of a waste repository brings up a range of issues involving scientific knowledge, technical capacity, ethical values, territorial planning, community well-being and more. Bringing to fruition the multi-decade task of siting and developing a repository demands a strong national commitment and significant regional and local involvement.
This collective statement by the Radioactive Waste Management Committee of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency recognises the advances made towards greater transparency and dialogue among the diverse stakeholders concerned and identifies the fundamental elements needed to support national commitment and to foster territorial involvement. It concludes that technical and societal partners can develop shared confidence in the safety of geological repositories and jointly carry these projects forward.
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International Structure for Decommissioning Costing (ISDC) of Nuclear Installations
English, 192 pages, published: 03/02/12
NEA#7088, ISBN: 978-92-64-99173-6
Available online at: http://www.oecd-nea.org/rwm/reports/2012/ISDC-nuclear-installations.pdf
Cost estimation for the decommissioning of nuclear facilities can vary considerably in format, content and practice both within and across countries. These differences may have legitimate reasons but make the process of reviewing estimates complicated and the estimates themselves difficult to defend. Hence, the joint initiative of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European Commission (EC) was undertaken to propose a standard itemisation of decommissioning costs either directly for the production of cost estimates or for mapping estimates onto a standard, common structure for purposes of comparison. This report updates the earlier itemisation published in 1999 and takes into account experience accumulated thus far. The revised cost itemisation structure has sought to ensure that all costs within the planned scope of a decommissioning project may be reflected. The report also provides general guidance on developing a decommissioning cost estimate, including detailed advice on using the structure.
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Methods for Safety Assessment of Geological Disposal Facilities for Radioactive Waste
Outcomes of the NEA MeSA Initiative
English, 240 pages, published: 06/21/12
NEA#6923, ISBN: 978-92-64-99190-3
Available online at: http://www.oecd-nea.org/rwm/reports/2012/nea6923-MESA-initiative.pdf
Safety assessment is an interdisciplinary approach that focuses on the scientific understanding and performance assessment of safety functions as well as the hazards associated with a geological disposal facility. It forms a central part of the safety case, and the results of the safety assessments provide evidence to support decision making. The goals of the NEA project on “Methods for Safety Assessment for Geological Disposal Facilities for Radioactive Waste” (MeSA) were to examine and document methods used in safety assessment for radioactive waste disposal facilities, to generate collective views based on the methods’ similarities and differences, and to identify future work. The project reviewed a number of approaches used by various national and international organisations. Following the comprehensive review, a generic safety case with a safety assessment flowchart was developed and is presented herein. The elaboration of the safety concept, the use of safety functions, the implication of uncertainties and the formulation of scenarios are also discussed.
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Reversibility and Retrievability in Planning for Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste
Proceedings of the "R&R" International Conference and Dialogue, 14-17 December 2010, Reims, France
English, 236 pages, published: 12/31/12
NEA#6993, ISBN: 978-92-64-99185-9
Available online at: http://www.oecd-nea.org/rwm/docs/2012/6993-proceedings-rr-reims.pdf
Deep geological repositories of radioactive waste are designed and licensed based on a model of long-term safety which does not require the active presence of man. During the period of stepwise development of such repositories, reversibility of decisions and retrievability of the waste are widely thought to be beneficial. Reversibility and retrievability are not requirements for long-term safety. They are instead about implementing a process that responds to ethical and precautionary obligations without compromising safety. How are the concepts of reversibility and retrievability understood in the various nuclear countries? How do they appear in national waste management legislation, regulation and operational programmes, and how can they be implemented?
The “R&R” project of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) culminated in an International Conference and Dialogue on Reversibility and Retrievability in December 2010. This open meeting brought together regulators, policy makers, elected officials, experts in social sciences, and representatives of civil society and stakeholder groups in addition to waste management professionals. These proceedings include the texts of 50 presentations and the “International Retrievability Scale” – a tool to support dialogue with stakeholders and to help establish a common international framework.
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Reversibility of Decisions and Retrievability of Radioactive Waste
Considerations for National Geological Disposal Programmes
English, 28 pages, published: 03/09/12
NEA#7085, ISBN: 978-92-64-99169-9
Available online at: http://www.oecd-nea.org/rwm/reports/2012/7085-reversibility.pdf

Other language(s):
- Français: Réversibilité des décisions et récupérabilité des déchets radioactifs 
The most widely adopted solution for the definitive management of high-level radioactive waste involves its emplacement in deep geological repositories whose safety should not depend on the active presence of man. In this context, national programmes are considering whether and how to incorporate the concepts of reversibility of decisions and retrievability of waste, including to what extent retrieval can or should be facilitated at the design stage of a repository, and if so over what timescales.
This brochure delivers the key findings and observations of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) project on reversibility and retrievability conducted from 2007 to 2011 with the participation of 15 countries and 2 international organisations. It outlines the activities undertaken and points to further resources. While focused on deep geological disposal, the pragmatic and precise information provided may also be pertinent to sub-surface disposal and to decision-making processes more generally. This brochure, and related project documents, will be of interest to technical and policy professionals and civil society stakeholders concerned with radioactive waste disposal.
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The Evolving Role and Image of the Regulator in Radioactive Waste Management
Trends over Two Decades
English, 28 pages, published: 12/31/12
NEA#7083, ISBN: 978-92-64-99186-6
Available online at: http://www.oecd-nea.org/rwm/docs/2012/7083-evolving-role-and-image.pdf

Other language(s):
- Français: Image et rôle de l'autorité de sûreté nucléaire dans la gestion des déchets radioactifs 
In the area of radioactive waste management, the regulator or safety authority has emerged in recent years as a principal actor in the eyes of civil society. This study shows how regulators are increasing their interaction with society while still retaining – or ­reinforcing – their independence and how they play their role within the stepwise ­licensing and decision-making processes now adopted in most countries. Safety is ensured by a “regulatory system”, in which a host of players, including local ­stakeholders, have a vital role to play. The technical regulator has come to be considered as the “people’s expert”, concentrating knowledge useful to local communities as they deliberate the hosting of a waste storage or disposal facility.
This report provides a useful update on the changing role of the regulator as well as insights that will be helpful to the many countries that are considering, or are preparing for, storage or disposal of radioactive waste either in near-surface facilities or deeper underground. While it focuses on the developments in waste management and disposal, the trends it describes are probably relevant throughout the nuclear field.
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The Long-term Radiological Safety of a Surface Disposal Facility for Low-level Waste in Belgium
An International Peer Review of Key Aspects of ONDRAF/NIRAS' Safety Report of November 2011 in Preparation for the License Application
English, 100 pages, published: 10/08/12
NEA#7086, ISBN: 978-92-64-99196-5
Available online at: http://www.oecd-nea.org/rwm/reports/2012/7086-Belgian-peer-review.pdf
An important activity of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) in the field of radioactive waste management is the organisation of independent, international peer reviews of national studies and projects. This report provides an international peer review of the long-term safety strategy and assessment being developed by the Belgian Agency for Radioactive Waste and Enriched Fissile Materials, ONDRAF/NIRAS, as part of the licence application for the construction and operation of a surface disposal facility for short-lived, low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste in the municipality of Dessel, Belgium. The review was carried out by an International Review Team comprised of seven international specialists, all of whom were free of conflict of interest and chosen to bring complementary expertise to the review. To be accessible to both specialist and non-specialist readers, the review findings are provided at several levels of detail.
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The Post-closure Radiological Safety Case for a Spent Fuel Repository in Sweden
An International Peer Review of the SKB License-application Study of March 2011
English, 156 pages, published: 07/05/12
NEA#7084, ISBN: 978-92-64-99191-0
Available online at: http://www.oecd-nea.org/rwm/docs/2012/nea7084-peer-review-sweden.pdf
Sweden is at the forefront among countries developing plans for a deep geological repository of highly radioactive waste. There is no such repository in operation yet worldwide, but Sweden, Finland and France are approaching the licensing stage. At the request of the Swedish government, the NEA organised an international peer review of the post-closure radiological safety case produced by the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB) in support of the application for a general licence to construct and operate a spent nuclear fuel geological repository in the municipality of Östhammar. The purpose of the review was to help the Swedish government, the public and relevant organisations by providing an international reference regarding the maturity of SKB’s spent fuel disposal programme vis-à-vis best practices in long-term disposal safety and radiological protection. The International Review Team (IRT) consisted of ten international specialists, who were free of conflict of interest with the SKB and brought complementary expertise to the review. This report provides the background and findings of the international peer review. The review’s findings are presented at several levels of detail in order to be accessible to both specialist and non-specialist readers.
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Thermodynamic Sorption Modelling in Support of Radioactive Waste Disposal Safety Cases
NEA Sorption Project Phase III
English, 152 pages, published: 05/04/12
NEA#6914, ISBN: 978-92-64-17781-9
Available online at: http://www.oecd-nea.org/rwm/docs/2013/6914-sorption-III.pdf
A central safety function of radioactive waste disposal repositories is the prevention or sufficient retardation of radionuclide migration to the biosphere. Performance assessment exercises in various countries, and for a range of disposal scenarios, have demonstrated that one of the most important processes providing this safety function is the sorption of radionuclides along potential migration paths beyond the engineered barriers. Thermodynamic sorption models (TSMs) are key for improving confidence in assumptions made about such radionuclide sorption when preparing a repository's safety case. This report presents guidelines for TSM development as well as their application in repository performance assessments. They will be of particular interest to the sorption modelling community and radionuclide migration modellers in developing safety cases for radioactive waste disposal.

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Cost Estimation for Decommissioning
An International Overview of Cost Elements, Estimation Practices and Reporting Requirements
English, 80 pages, published: 05/17/10
NEA#6831, ISBN: 978-92-64-99133-0
Available online at: http://www.oecd-nea.org/rwm/reports/2010/nea6831-cost-estimation-decommissioning.pdf
This report is based on a study carried out by the NEA Decommissioning Cost Estimation Group (DCEG) on decommissioning cost elements, estimation practices and reporting requirements. Its findings indicate that cost methodologies need to be updated continuously using cost data from actual decommissioning projects and hence, systematic approaches need to be implemented to collect these data. The study also concludes that changes in project scope may have the greatest impact on project costs. Such changes must therefore be identified immediately and incorporated into the estimate. Finally, the report notes that more needs to be done to facilitate the comparison of estimates, for example by providing a reporting template for national estimates.
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Decommissioning Considerations for New Nuclear Power Plants
English, 16 pages, published: 06/07/10
NEA#6833, ISBN: 978-92-64-99132-3
Available online at: http://www.oecd-nea.org/rwm/reports/2010/nea6833-decommissioning-considerations.pdf
Experience from decommissioning projects suggests that the decommissioning of nuclear power plants could be made easier if this aspect received greater consideration at the design stage and during operation of the plants. Better forward planning for decommissioning results in lower worker doses and reduced costs. When appropriate design measures are not taken at an early stage, their introduction later in the project becomes increasingly difficult. Hence, their early consideration may lead to smoother and more effective decommissioning operations. This report provides an overview of key decommissioning issues which are useful to consider when designing new nuclear power plants.
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Geoscientific Information in the Radioactive Waste Management Safety Case
Main Messages from the AMIGO Project
English, 56 pages, published: 09/24/10
NEA#6395, ISBN: 978-92-64-99138-5
Available online at: http://www.oecd-nea.org/rwm/reports/2010/nea6395-AMIGO.pdf

Other language(s):
- Français: Rôle des informations géoscientifiques dans le dossier de sûreté pour la gestion des déchets radioactifs 
Radioactive waste is associated with all phases of the nuclear fuel cycle as well as the use of radioactive materials in medicine, research and industry. For the most hazardous and long-lived waste, the solution being investigated worldwide is disposal in engineered repositories deep underground. The importance of geoscientific information in selecting a site for geological disposal has long been recognised, but there has been growing acknowledgement of the broader role of this information in assessing and documenting the safety of disposal. The OECD/NEA Approaches and Methods for Integrating Geological Information in the Safety Case (AMIGO) project has demonstrated that geological data and understanding serve numerous roles in safety cases. The project, which ran from 2002 to 2008, underscored the importance of integrating geoscientific information in the development of a disposal safety case and increasingly in the overall process of repository development, including, for example, siting decisions and ensuring the practical feasibility of repository layout and engineering.
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Self-sealing of Fractures in Argillaceous Formations in the Context of Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste
Review and Synthesis
English, 312 pages, published: 06/01/10
NEA#6184, ISBN: 978-92-64-99095-1
Available online at: http://www.oecd-nea.org/rwm/reports/2010/nea6184-self-sealing.pdf
Disposal of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel in engineered facilities, or repositories, located deep underground in suitable geological formations is being developed worldwide as the reference solution to protect humans and the environment both now and in the future. Assessing the long-term safety of geological disposal requires developing a comprehensive understanding of the geological environment. The transport pathways are key to this understanding. Of particular interest are fractures in the host rock, which may be either naturally occurring or induced, for example, during the construction of engineered portions of a repository. Such fractures could provide pathways for migration of contaminants.

In argillaceous (clay) formations, there is evidence that, over time, fractures can become less conductive and eventually hydraulically insignificant. This process is commonly termed “self-sealing”. The capacity for self-sealing relates directly to the function of clay host rocks as migration barriers and, consequently, to the safety of deep repositories in those geological settings.

This report – conducted under the auspices of the NEA Clay Club – reviews the evidence and mechanisms for self-sealing properties of clays and evaluates their relevance to geological disposal. Results from laboratory tests, field investigations and geological analogues are considered. The evidence shows that, for many types of argillaceous formations, the understanding of self-sealing has progressed to a level that could justify its inclusion in performance assessments for geological repositories.