International Conference on Geological Repositories

    Continued Engagement and Safe Implementation

    OECD Conference Centre
    Paris, France

    6-9 December 2016

    11/18/2016 to 11/24/2016

    Time is running out. Register by 25 November to secure your place.

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    Watch the sessions from 7-8 December: English | Français.


    The fifth International Conference on Geological Repositories (ICGR) took place from 6 to 9 December 2016 in Paris, France. The conference, entitled Continued Engagement and Safe Implementation of Geological Repositories, brought together senior-level decision-makers from countries advancing programmes for deep geological repositories.

    The conference provided a forum to explore how various stakeholders managed the implementation of repository programmes in their countries. It was an opportunity for local community hosts to share experiences alongside international and national perspectives.

    Two separate site visits were also offered to Bure or Centre de l'Aube.


    The objectives of the conference were to

    • take stock of progress, since 2012, in developing and implementing geological repositories for long-lived radioactive waste, and to advance mutual learning through exchanges of international perspectives and experiences;
    • examine the latest issues and challenges encountered by various stakeholders in different developmental stages;
    • consider social, political, scientific and economic aspects in order to advance understanding of the complexity of implementing geological repositories.


    Long-lived radioactive waste must be isolated from the human environment over long time scales. There is worldwide consensus that geological repositories provide the necessary long-term safety and security and are feasible to construct using current technologies. However, proving the technical merits and safety of repositories, along with satisfying societal and political requirements, has been particularly challenging in many countries.

    Building upon the success of previous conferences held in Denver (1999), Stockholm (2003), Berne (2007) and Toronto (2012), ICGR 2016 brought together high-level decision-makers from regulatory / local government bodies, waste management organisations and public stakeholder communities to reveal current perspectives of geological repository development. The 2016 conference, Continued Engagement and Safe Implementation of Geological Repositories, was designed to promote information and experience sharing particularly in policy development, regulatory frameworks (particularly in addressing repository safety, planning and implementation of repository programmes with societal involvement) and ongoing work within different international organisations.

    In 2008, the Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC) of the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) issued a collective statement regarding the suitability and the feasibility of geological disposal for radioactive waste. In recent years, there have been important further developments within national programmes, led by international organisations. To read the collective statements from 2008 and 2011, please visit and

    Proceedings of the last ICGR conference held in 2012 are available at the following URL:

    As many countries have undertaken significant steps forward with implementing national geological repository programmes, the ICGR 2016 was a prime opportunity for collective stocktaking of recent developments along with sharing expertise and experiences with a wider audience.

    After reviewing the international context, a series of sessions focused on the relationships among various stakeholders, and covered the following issues:

    • safety of geological repositories;
    • meeting societal expectations and adapting to change;
    • approaches of regulation and implementing organisations;
    • the experience of local communities and regions;
    • added value of international cooperation.

    The conference provided an oppotunity to learn about how countries are advancing programmes for the safe long-term management of long-lived high-level radioactive waste in deep geological repositories.

    Conference schedule

    The conference officially opened on Tuesday, 6 December 2016 at 18:00 with a reception in the OECD Conference Centre. It adjourned on Thursday, 8 December 2016 at 17:30, followed by a technical site visit.

    Programme outline

    Download the full programme.

    Tuesday, 6 December 2016

    Registration and badge pickup

    Welcome reception at the OECD Conference Centre, Salon du Parc

    Wednesday, 7 December 2016

    Registration and badge pickup

    Opening session

    Welcome address and introductory remarks from NEA Director-General Mr William Magwood, IV and Director of Energy from the French Ministry of Environment, Sustainable Development and Energy, Ms Virginie Schwarz.

    Session 1: National geological disposal projects

    1A. Status of national geological repository projects

    This session invited speakers from countries that are in different phases of development to give an overview of their current situation and of progress achieved since the last ICGR in 2012, showcasing countries at different developmental stages, covering various processes from siting to licensing.


    1B. Panel debate on progress achieved

    This panel session brought together representatives from countries at various stages of progress. With different programme statuses and backgrounds, panellists highlighted the conditions for progressing, from siting to commissioning, revealing relevant social, political, scientific, technical and economic aspects. This session aimed to illustrate the complexity of the cases, and show how rigorous treatment and management can lead to relevant results when structured in a stepwise approach, which needed to be supported at all stakeholder levels. General lessons learnt in achieving success could be drawn from the case presentations. 


    Session 2: Cigéo, the French geological disposal

    This session revealed the latest details of the Cigéo Project, including its history, current status, key components of the management programme and disposal system, as well as host territory development.

    End of day remarks


    The conference dinner took place on Wednesday, 7 December at the Musée des Arts Forains in the Bercy neighbourhood of Paris.

    Thursday, 8 December 2016

    Session 3: Dialogue between stakeholders in carrying out a geological repository project

    3A. Role and involvement of various stakeholders at each stage of projects, from siting to licensing

    The long timeframes over which geological repository programmes are implemented imply involvement of stakeholders at different stages. Their role is progressively evolving from information receiver to engaged participants in the siting process for the area where the project is located. There is also a long path of learning and experience not only technically, but also in the management of the relationship with other stakeholders. The inter-generational aspect associated with such a long-term initiative also presents a challenge for building and sustaining societal support to proceed.

    This conference session invited speakers to share their experiences and learning from different perspectives. It addressed how dialogue is organised between different categories of stakeholders, with the aim of illustrating how overall confidence can be reached and maintained.


    3B. Panel discussion on the relations between stakeholders during the development of geological repository projects

    Implementation of national repository programmes involves stakeholders at many levels. This panel session invited perspectives from the viewpoint of the waste producer, local state representative, implementer, regulator and local community representative. Through short presentations, each speaker had the opportunity to present their perspectives regarding the development of a geological repository project. Each speaker expressed their objectives and expectations at different stages of advancing a deep geological repository project. These presentations were built according to a set of questions prepared by the session coordinator. Successive questions and presentations were structured to tell the audience a comprehendible and comprehensive story.


    Session 4: The added value of international cooperation (through international initiatives and organisations) for the safe implementation of geological repository projects

    This session invited speakers from international organisations to share their perspectives and observations on advances realised in recent years with plans for geological repositories and the outlook for continued progress. It explored the role and added value of co-operating through international initiatives and organisations.


    Session 5: Stocktaking

    The conference rapporteur reported the key messages of the conference.

    Session 6: Summary and closing session

    Closing address from NEA Director-General Mr William Magwood, IV and CEO of Andra, Mr Pierre-Marie Abadie

    Friday 9 December 2016

    Site visit to Bure or Centre de l'Aube

    Practical information


    The conference was held at the OECD Conference Centre in Paris. For more information, please visit


    The 2016 International Conference on Geological Repositories provided international colleagues with an unparalleled opportunity for networking with prospective business partners, as well as preserved a current awareness of the issues faced by radioactive waste management stakeholders. During the conference, the organisers of ICGR 2016 also made an opportunity available for a small number of partners to exhibit the expertise and services of their organisations.

    Site visit information

    On 9 December, two separate site visits were offered to Bure or Centre de l'Aube.


    The local hosts and co-organisers of the fifth International Conference on Geological Repositories (ICGR) were the NEA and ANDRA, the French national radioactive waste management agency. For more information about these organisations, please visit and, respectively.

    The conference was held in co-operation with the


    Download the 2016 proceedings.


    Please send an e-mail to  for any enquiries about the conference.

    Last reviewed: 4 April 2017