EURAD - D9.12 Studies and plans for developing shared solutions for radioactive waste management in Europe
The objective of this report is to summarise studies and plans for developing shared solutions and technologies for radioactive waste management in Europe. The report concentrates on European solutions, but other shared solutions are also identified (e.g., in IAEA studies) where relevant. The materials that were reviewed for this report were questionnaire answers for ROUTES (IRSN, 2020 a ), ROUTES workshop (WS) exercise results (See Appendix A) and discussions, reviews of the newest (2000 onward) EC projects (including SAPIERR, SAPIERR II, CHANCE, THERAMIN), IAEA studies on the topic and national programmes that refer to shared solutions (if they were available in English).
This deliverable summarises the knowledge and approaches regarding the sharing of technology and facilities between countries in different steps of the waste lifecycle. Based on the materials found, geological disposal has been the most investigated step, but shared research and development work and the use of technologies and facilities for characterisation, treatment, storage and disposal have also been explored.
Some collaboration examples from the wider nuclear field that are applicable to waste management purposes are also used.
One of the topics discussed during ROUTES’ 1st workshop in Athens was the classification of the solution types that could be called ‘shared’ solutions. Three sharing methods that were identified from the questionnaire responses and discussed during the WS are described below. One way of describing the methods is on the basis of how commercial they are:
Free of charge transfers;
Shared costs or exchanges of information;
Commercial solutions were not originally in the scope of the project, but a variety of them have been included in the report for future stages of the project, after having been identified by the members.
The content within this report is firstly organised by the sharing type and then by stage of waste management cycle, including also ownership and construction of facilities of waste disposal. Indeed, it was determined in the WS as a topic of interest for later work in this task.
The questionnaire responses (IRSN, 2020 a ) have shown the interest of many countries for shared research projects and information exchange. Many countries acknowledged the benefit from further information exchange and collaboration with other states regarding the various aspects of radioactive waste management, e.g. development and sharing of technologies, methodologies, approaches, education/exchange of personnel etc. Also, some countries have provided information on facilities that could be available for sharing.
Joint research projects in various forms are currently the favoured way for collaboration, but some small inventory countries are also interested in shared facilities. However, in some countries, this option is not feasible due to the legislation in place.
The shared facilities option has been more modest, despite early proposals for major multinational fuel cycle centres and the implementation of large shared facilities for enrichment and reprocessing. The fuel cycle centre initiatives concluded that most of the proposed arrangements were technically feasible and economically attractive, but they all failed for a variety of political, technical and economic reasons.