2015 RWMC/RF Workshop – Challenges to the Regulators in Siting and Licensing the Construction and Operation of Radioactive Waste Repositories

    Helsinki, Finland
    8-9 September 2015

    On 8‑9 September 2015, the NEA organised a workshop on Challenges to the Regulators in Siting and Licensing of Construction and Operations of Waste Repositories in Helsinki, Finland, hosted by the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy (MEE) and the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK).

    A welcome reception was held on the evening of 7 September. On 10 September, an optional site visit to the Loviisa L&ILW repository was arranged for interested participants.


    More radioactive waste management programmes are advancing to a new repository development phase and are preparing for the application of their construction license of a deep geological disposal facility. Such progress brings along new challenges to both implementers and regulators such as industrial feasibility, operational safety and reliability, increased demands on human resources, quality assurance, as well as additional requirements on information management system and management plans for construction work. In particular, the fact that multiple authorities may be involved in the licensing process in order to provide various regulatory oversight (e.g. mining safety, environmental protection, radiological safety, etc), can further complicate the progression.

    Despite available experience from the licensing and constructing disposal facilities for low‑ and intermediate‑level waste, implementing geological repositories for high‑level waste and spent fuel requires more substantial planning and safety measures due to the higher levels of radioactivity of the involved waste. Noting the lessons learnt from the existing nuclear and radioactive waste management facilities, the RWMC Regulators' Forum organised a workshop to further explore challenging issues and best practices in preparing for license application of geological repositories. Finland, as one of the most advanced countries in developing a geological repository, was the featured country with its Ministry of Employment and the Economy (MEE) and the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) co-hosting the workshop with the NEA.


    The primary objective of this workshop was to provide a forum to discuss and exchange experiences and approaches to prepare for license application reviews. The workshop aimed at delivering an overview of the current status of eleven NEA member countries' waste management programmes in developing geological repositories.


    Specific case studies of the implementers and regulators in the following phases were presented in this workshop:

    • siting;
    • pre-licensing and licensing;
    • construction
    • operation;
    • closure and post-closure.

    More in-depth exchanges were carried out in group discussions guided by specific questions focusing on:

    • issues in the siting phase;
    • issues in the pre-licensing and licensing phases;
    • issues in the construction and operation phases.

    On 10 September 2015, an optional site visit to the Loviisa L&ILW repository had been arranged for interested participants.

    Working language

    The working language of the workshop was English.

    Venue and accommodation

    The workshop was be held at the House of the Estates (Säätytalo) in Helsinki, Finland.

    Snellmaninkatu 9-11
    Helsinki, 00170

    Several hotels in Helsinki had been pre-reserved for workshop participants.

    Last reviewed: 10 September 2015