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Friday, October 22nd, 2021

Groups address nuclear waste, fuel disposal

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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently met with waste management personnel to discuss safe, efficient disposal of high level radioactive waste (HLW) and spent nuclear fuel.

The session at the IAEA in Vienna included a delegation from the International Association for Environmentally Safe Disposal of Radioactive Materials (EDRAM), noting the gathering provided an opportunity to discuss key issues related to implementing comprehensive waste management strategies, including deep geological disposal (DGD).

“This was a great opportunity to build on our ongoing communication and discuss the key topics relevant to radioactive waste and spent fuel management,” Mikhail Chudakov, IAEA deputy director, said. “These matters are at the heart of the sustainable use of nuclear technologies.”

There is still no facility for disposing of HLW or spent nuclear fuel not destined for re-processing or re-use. However, officials said progress is being made, particularly in Finland, Sweden, and France, on developing DGD, which entails permanently placing solid radioactive waste in a facility located underground in a stable geological formation.

“We all need to continually exchange information on these matters between us and with international organizations, and understand very deeply the differences and commonalities among them, including from a technical and industrial point of view, in order to be able to explain them to our stakeholders,” Shunsuke Kondo, EDRAM chairman and head of NUMO, Japan’s waste management organization, said.