All NEA member countries, whether or not they have nuclear power plants, are faced with appropriately managing non-nuclear radioactive waste produced through industrial, research and medical activities. Sources of such waste can include national laboratory and university research activities, used and lost industrial gauges and radiography sources, hospital nuclear medicine activities and in some circumstances, naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) activities. Although many of these wastes are not long-lived, the shear variety of sources makes it difficult to generically assess their physical (e.g. volume, chemical form, mixed waste) or radiological (e.g. activity, half-life, concentration) characteristics. Additionally, the source-specific nature of these wastes poses questions and challenges to their regulatory and practical management at a national level.
This has generated interest from both the radiological protection and radioactive waste management communities, and prompted the Committee on Radiological Protection and Public Health (CRPPH) to organise, in collaboration with the Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC), a workshop tackling some of the key issues of this challenging topic.
The key objectives of the NEA Workshop on the Management of Non-Nuclear Radioactive Waste are to address the particularities of managing non-nuclear waste in all its sources and forms and to share and exchange national experiences.
Presentations and discussions will address both technical aspects and national frameworks. Technical aspects will include:
- the range of non-nuclear waste sources, activities, volumes and other relevant characteristics;
- waste storage and repository capacities and life cycles;
- safety considerations for mixed wastes management;
- human resources and knowledge management;
- legal, regulatory and financial assurance, and liability issues.
Taking into account the entire non-nuclear waste lifecycle, the workshop will cover planning and preparatory approaches for considering wastes at the very earliest stages, prior to or at the time of storage and disposal facility licencing. National framework aspects will include:
- national sources of non-nuclear radioactive waste;
- national approaches to the characterisation of non-nuclear radioactive waste;
- non-nuclear radioactive waste installation regulatory frameworks;
- experience with non-nuclear radioactive waste disposal installation siting processes.
Participants will discuss challenges and opportunities in these important areas, including cross-border collaborative approaches for non-nuclear waste.