Geological disposal of high-level waste or spent nuclear fuel is a strategic area in the work program of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency Radioactive Waste Management Committee (NEA RWMC). In 2012, the Integration Group for the Safety Case (IGSC), under the mandate of the RWMC, created an Expert Group on Operational Safety (EGOS). The key objective of the EGOS is to identify, evaluate and help define international best practice in safely operating geological repository for radioactive waste.
The EGOS recognises fire as one of the major hazards among various operational risk of both nuclear facilities and underground mines. A key focus of the work programme has thus been dedicated to further explore fire safety and fire protection in geological repositories. In 2013, a fire risk sub-group, consisting of implementers from 8 countries, held two meetings to discuss design options, best available technologies, and good practices for fire safety.
Operational experience from existing mines and nuclear facilities has illustrated the potential occurrence of fire accidents in geological facilities. Various fire hazard management strategies and repository design options for preventing and minimising human and environmental damages are evaluated in this interim report. Design basis accidents as well as fire assessment approaches are also discussed.