Strategic studies

Waste Management routes in Europe from cradle to grave (ROUTES)

Share experience and knowledge on RWM routes between WMOS, TSOs and REs from different countries, with programmes at different stages of development, with different amounts and types of radioactive waste to manage

Major highlights (June 2022 - May 2023)

•    Publication of several deliverables (D9.5, D9.7, D9.10, D9.11) to cope with the existing delays and several deliverables under internal reviews (D9.9, D9.14 & D9.17).
•    Organisation of a workshop on R&D, knowledge management and strategic studies recommendations (December 2022) which constituted a basis to ROUTES input to the EURAD SRA.

Forward look 

•    ROUTES Work Package Meeting 5 in September 2023 in the Netherlands at COVRA’s premises.
•    Task 8 workshop on SIMS/LIMS interactions open to EURAD and non-EURAD participants to be taking place in Portugal in Autumn 2023.


This WP will describe and compare the different approaches to characterisation, treatment and conditioning and to long-term waste management routes between MS (member states). The interested organisations are from different countries, with programmes at different stages of development, with different amounts and types of radioactive waste to manage. In this WP, will be Identified the safety-relevant issues and their R&D needs associated with the waste management routes (cradle to grave), including the management routes of legacy and historical waste. The WP will consider past and present EU projects on the topics of interest and other initiatives carried out at international level such as IAEA, NEA in order not to duplicate the work. The aim of this WP is to identify relevant R&D topics which could be collaboratively launched in the second wave of EURAD.


As noted under the EURAD Roadmap Theme 2 - Radioactive waste characterisation, processing and storage (Pre-disposal activities), and source term understanding for disposal - the pre-disposal activities including radioactive waste characterization, treatment and conditioning as well as storage are considered as high priorities. Moreover, as highlighted in the Roadmap, a sufficient knowledge of the radionuclide and chemical content of the waste is a prerequisite for the development of the complete waste management route. 

The common interests addressed in the ROUTES strategic studies are identified in the Roadmap and related to the Theme 2: Inventory collation and forecasting (3.5), the Methodology to define radionuclides inventories (3.6), understanding of the potential for Long-term storage as a management option for disused sealed radioactive sources (3.10), the Management of damaged waste packages and methods for reprocessing aged waste (1.2.4), the Waste acceptance criteria (2.1.6). All these subtopics are related to Roadmap Phase 0 (Policy, Framework & Programme Establishment), except the subtopic WAC which is related to Phase 2 (Site Characterisation) and Phase 3 (Facility Construction). 

Consequently, the raison d’être of this WP is to provide an opportunity to the organisations of the Member-States to share their experience and to identify common R&D interest on such topics. To this aim, safety-relevant issues and R&D needs associated with the waste management routes (cradle to grave) will be identified, considering waste characterisation, the development of waste acceptance criteria (WAC) prior to the availability of disposal facilities, options for disposal of small waste inventories. In addition to providing an overview of good practices for different steps in radioactive waste management and guidance for research activities, the work package will provide an opportunity to consider sharing of technology and facilities.