Decommissioning nuclear installations and managing radioactive waste are integral parts of any programme to provide safe, economic and environmentally sound nuclear energy.
The NEA supports its member countries in dealing with these topics and, as part of its activities, the Regulators’ Forum (RF), the Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC) and the Committee on Decommissioning of Nuclear Installations (CDLM) held their annual plenary meetings as well as a joint committee meeting online in March 2022.
The discussions focused on the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle and gathered around 100 participants from 17 countries as well as representatives from the European Commission (EC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Experts from China, Ukraine and the World Nuclear Association (WNA) also attended.
During the two weeks of plenary meetings, the groups reviewed the status of ongoing activities and discussed future work. The joint session of the CDLM and the RWMC included an exchange between NEA committees and updates from the EC and the IAEA. NEA member countries shared key developments in the fields of radioactive waste management, decommissioning and legacy management.
Topics discussed during the meetings included:
- future RF development;
- capacity and skills building and knowledge maintenance for decommissioning and legacy management;
- the challenges in transportation and storage of radioactive waste and spent fuel, including spent fuel from advanced reactors;
- the decision-making process for waste management and decommissioning of accident sites.
Participants also discussed potential co-operation with other NEA initiatives in these areas.