Information, data and knowledge management (IDKM) of radioactive waste repositories is a particular challenge due to the long timescales – often 100 000 years or more – involved in the development, implementation and operation of geological repositories. The NEA Working Party on Information, Data and Knowledge Management (WP-IDKM) supports member countries in addressing this challenge in the course of the development of national programmes for high-level radioactive waste management.
The working party held a topical session on IDKM timescales on 1-2 September 2021 towards building a common understanding of the timescales involved in radioactive waste disposal, the decisions affecting IDKM and the stakeholders that are active during different time periods.
The session featured thematic presentations on IDKM lessons learned from various geological disposal facilities in the United States, the role of metadata for different repository phases, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) approach to developing knowledge management strategies and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) work on futures literacy.
Session participants then discussed means of populating a timeline for key IDKM actions, decision points and stakeholders across the different phases of a repository. They also considered how the concepts of short term, medium-term and long-term were interpreted for different work areas of IDKM, such as archiving and awareness preservation, as well as for different types of repositories. The participants agreed on the need to implement different IDKM strategies and solutions over these different timescales.