Working Group on Waste and Decommissioning (WGWD)

The working group on waste and decommissioning (WGWD) is  mandated to analyse the current situation and the different safety approaches, compare individual national regulatory approaches with the IAEA Safety Standards, identify any differences and propose a way forward to possibly eliminate the differences. The proposals are expected to be based on the best practices among the most advanced requirements for nuclear waste facilities.

The WGWD scope of work includes the complete back end activities: decommissioning of facilities, predisposal and disposal of radioactive waste and spent fuel. Three thematic reports have been edited by the WGWD comprising a comprehensive set of Safety Reference Levels (SRL) on:

  • Decommissioning
  • Storage of waste and spent fuel
  • Disposal

A fourth report on waste processing is in preparation, as well as an explanatory document (working title: “umbrella document”) explaining the interrelations between the four reports to form a set of requirements covering any activity in a full scope waste management program. 

Once a set of SRLs in defined, WGWD analyses if the national regulations of the member states cover these SRL (legal benchmarking). If there is a need to revise the national regulations, the WGWD monitors and evaluates the changes done in the member states, which are documented in national action plans (NAP). Results of such exercises are included in the parts III of the reports Ver. 2. The state of progress for each report is indicated in the following chapters.

Storage of waste and spent fuel

The process of regulatory harmonization for waste and spent fuel storage started in 2002. It was completed with the finalisation of the Waste and Spent Fuel Storage Report (v2.2) in April 2014. At this point, 15 of the then 17 WENRA member states had presented successful implementations of the necessary regulatory changes to meet all the requirements defined in the Storage SRL set. Within ten of these 15 member states, the submitted, revised regulations had already formally come into force while legislation in the remaining five states was still pending.  Two member states had begun a comprehensive restructuring of their national nuclear regulatory organisation and the relevant regulatory framework, including the necessary changes defined by the WENRA SRL.  In both cases, the legal implementation has not yet been finalised.

The Storage Report (v2.2) includes a complete list of the changes enacted in the national regulations of the WENRA member states and shows the not (yet or not fully) met SRLs for each country. In case of Storage Report, member states underwent an additional implementation benchmarking for various type of purpose built storage facilities for radioactive waste and/or spent fuel which results are also presented in the report. 

 Decommissioning of nuclear installations

The process for decommissioning was carried out in the similar way as described above for the Waste and Spent Fuel Storage Report. It was completed with the finalisation of the Decommissioning Safety Reference Levels Report (v2.2) in April 2015. The report includes a complete list of the changes enacted in the national regulations of the WENRA member states and shows the not (yet or not fully) met SRLs for each country.

At this point, 14 of the then 18 WENRA member states had presented the national actions taken for the implementation of the necessary regulatory changes to meet the requirements defined in the Decommissioning SRL set showing a significant progress over the last years. Several member states had begun a comprehensive restructuring of their national nuclear regulatory organisation and/or the relevant regulatory framework, including the necessary changes defined by the WENRA SRL. The legal implementation process has not yet been finalised in all of these countries. That is why, i.a., the implementation benchmark of three WENRA members is still pending.

Radioactive waste disposal facilities

The report on “Radioactive Waste Disposal Facilities Safety Reference Levels” was published on the WENRA website in December 2014, defining a set of 108 SRL applicable to waste disposal regulations. The WGWD has started the legal benchmarking process. Evaluating the member states’ national regulations and defining the resulting national action plans is projected to be finished in 2016. 

Radioacitve waste treatment and conditioning Safety Reference Levels

WENRA directors during their fall meeting in Rome approved the most recent SRL-report produced by the WGWD. The report covers safety relevant issues of waste processing from small mobile equipment up to large stationary installations and facilities. As this document is adressing the process of generating the final waste package to be disposed of in a repository, there are strong links to the disposal as well as to the storage report.

The report is now open for stakeholder comments. Any comments received before 30-April-2017 will be discussed and considered in the working group when preparing the final report version.

Please use either the comments-tool of the WENRA-homepage (preferably for shorter / single comments) or send your comments including any appended files directly to the report editor sven.kessen@grs.de , the WGWD-chair stefan.theis@ensi.ch, or the WENRA technical secretariate gisela.stoppa@bmub.bund.de.

WGWD Reports