Our Vision is for industrialisation of radioactive waste disposal in Europe by 2040, via three pillars: (1) safe operation of the first geological disposal facilities in Europe; (2) optimisation and industrialisation of the planning, construction and disposal operations; and (3) development of tailored solutions for disposal of the diverse waste inventories in Europe.
Our commitment is to:
- build confidence in the safety of geological disposal solutions among European citizens and decision-makers;
- encourage the establishment of waste management programmes that integrate geological disposal as the accepted option for the safe long-term management of long-lived and/or high-level waste;
- facilitate access to expertise and technology and maintain competences in the field of geological disposal for the benefit of European Member States.
There is a growing consensus, both in Europe and in other parts of the world, that deep geological disposal is the most appropriate solution for long-term management of spent fuel, high-level waste, and other long-lived radioactive wastes. This consensus is based on work over several decades, comprising extensive Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) programmes to develop the technical solutions for deep geological repositories and to assess their long-term safety over the long time periods that the wastes need isolation from the biosphere. International co-operation has been a key feature of the RD&D-work undertaken, including exchange of information and experience, assessment of progress, comparison of scientific and technical approaches, and harmonisation of safety principles.
National waste management organisations agree that it is time to proceed to licence the construction of deep geological repositories. Despite public and political debate related to the siting of such facilities, a number of examples show that it is possible to site facilities for deep geological disposal through a process that involves broad societal participation. European waste management organisations also agree that existing successful co-operations can be further developed and strengthened.
During 2006-2007 European waste management organisations and other bodies concerned with implementation of deep geological disposal carried out, with the financial support of the European Commission, a feasibility study called Co-ordination Action on Research, Development and Demonstration Priorities and Strategies for Geological Disposal (CARD) on establishing a technology platform for final disposal in deep geological formations. Based on the discussion following the results of the CARD project, preparations to develop a technology platform continued among the main organisations developing deep geological disposal concepts and facilities in Europe.
The 2009 Vision Report was prepared by an Interim Executive Group with members from SKB (Sweden), Posiva (Finland), Andra (France) and the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi, Germany). Active support in the preparations, and endorsement of the Vision Report, was also received from ONDRAF (Belgium), Enresa (Spain), Nagra (Switzerland) and from the NDA (United Kingdom). The 2009 Vision Report provided the starting point for the launch of the Implementing Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste Technology Platform (IGD-TP).
The main objectives of the IGD-TP are to initiate and carry out European strategic initiatives to facilitate the stepwise implementation of safe, deep geological disposal of spent fuel, high-level waste, and other long-lived radioactive waste by solving the scientific, technological and social challenges, and to support the waste management programmes of members. The IGD-TP intends to constitute means to further build confidence in the solutions, to reduce overlapping work, to produce savings in total costs of research and implementation, and to make better use of existing competence and research infrastructures.
Initially established with the financial support of the European Commission, the IGD-TP is now funded by the 12 European organisations that form the Executive Group.
A key document that guides ongoing activities of the group is the IGD-TP Strategic Research Agenda (SRA), published in 2011.
The IGD-TP welcomes participation from all interested parties committed to our vision of implementing deep geological repositories, i.e. waste management organisations, industry, research and academia, technical safety organisations, non-governmental organisations, SMEs, … The IGD-TP provides opportunities to take part in the planning of RD&D activities, to efficiently participate in focused implementation work, and to participate in important information exchange and knowledge transfer. The IGD-TP aims to offer benefits to all of its participants irrespective of the timescale differences in European waste management programmes – for small waste management programmes and programmes in their initial stage, the IGD-TP offers possibilities to build up knowledge and experience.
The Executive Group organises the IGD-TP, supported by the Secretariat. Specific tasks and activities are undertaken by Working Groups. Other parties, such as regulators and technical safety organisations may also be involved in our activities from time to time. Specific responsibilities are set out in the IGD-TP Terms of Reference.
The Executive Group (EG) is the decision and management forum of the platform. The technology platform is implementer-driven. Members of the EG are organisations either responsible for implementing a waste management programme or are formally responsible for the RD&D programme needed for implementation.
The EG members’ responsibilities are:
- to take decisions and steer the different tasks of the group
- to prioritise activities and projects (to be funded jointly) for deployment
- to initiate, monitor, and evaluate activities
- to fund the secretariat (equal division)
- to approve the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA)
- to establish working groups
- to encourage information exchange with “Mirror groups” including regulators
- to develop reports and information to the Exchange Forum
The current chair of the IGD-TP Executive Group is Irina Gaus (Nagra).
The Executive Group appoints the Secretariat, whose responsibilities are:
- to organise and co-ordinate the activities of the IGD-TP
- to support the finalisation and publication of IGD-TP documents
- to contribute to and ensure that the IGD-TP is organised in an appropriate manner to achieve the committed Vision and activities
- to act as an information and communication centre about the activities of the IGD-TP and on developments in the waste management community.
- maintains a public website where information and documents about progress, future and past events are published
- supports the exchange of information among the committed members and other exchange fora
- fosters consultation and cooperation on projects.
The Secretariat reports to the Executive Group. The current General Secretary is Ingo Blechschmidt (Nagra), supported by Tamara Baldwin and Sonja McCullough.
Working Groups are established within the work programme. These groups have specified mandates, such as development of the SRA, and development of supporting activities such as Competence Maintenance, Education and Training (CMET), Interface Working Group (IWG) and Nuclear Knowledge Management (NKM). Co-operative projects and other forms of joint activities carried out in the Working Groups follow the Executive Group’s decisions.
Regulators and Technical Safety Organisations are also invited to participate in the technology platform by forming, for example, mirror group(s) as decided by them. The regulator’s interaction with the IGD-TP shall not compromise their independence or prejudice their decisions.