Over the past five years, major developments have taken place in a number of national programmes for the geological disposal of radioactive waste. Significant experience has been obtained both in preparing and reviewing safety cases for the operational and long‑term safety of deep geological repositories (DGRs). Some countries are approaching the industrial implementation of a geological disposal and are, therefore, increasingly focusing on the feasibility of constructing and operating a repository that is safe and secure in the short and long term. New insights are also available concerning the basis for regulations and the challenge of communicating highly technical information to a wide range of stakeholders.
The NEA Integration Group for the Safety Case (IGSC) has been organising a series of symposia focusing on the development of a competent and robust safety case since 2007, in co‑operation with other international organisations. The first symposium, "Safety Cases for the Deep Disposal of Radioactive Waste: Where Do We Stand?", and the second, "State of the Art", took place in 2007 and 2013, respectively. The purpose of the 2018 symposium was to determine and document achievements since 2013, to share good practices and consider future direction.
The symposium focused on the technical aspects of the safety case for the post‑closure phase of DGRs. The interplay of technical feasibility, engineering design issues, operational and post‑closure safety and non‑technical challenges such as safety case communication were explored.
The main aim was to share practical experiences on preparing, developing, documenting and reviewing a safety case from both the implementers' and reviewers' perspectives. Others included:
The symposium was open to individuals concerned with the geological disposal of radioactive waste, including implementers, regulators, technical and social science researchers, and interested stakeholders.
Papers from the 2018 IGSC Symposium 2018 are now available online where authors have signed a grant of rights agreement. Where no link has been provided, it is because the lead author did not sign a grant of rights agreement, even if co-authors did, or because no authors signed a grant of rights agreement. Proceedings of this symposium are in preparation and will be published by the NEA in 2020. Lead authors are encouraged to submit grant of rights agreements by 31 April for their papers to be included in the proceedings.