EURAD: European Joint Programme on Radioactive Waste Managment
EURAD aims to implement a joint Strategic Programme of research and knowledge management activities at the European level, bringing together and complementing EU Member State programmes in order to ensure cutting-edge knowledge creation and preservation in view of delivering safe, sustainable and publicly acceptable solutions for the management of radioactive waste across Europe now and in the future. It promotes more effective and efficient public RD&D funding in Europe, and a deepening of research-cooperation between Member States.
Project Status: Ongoing
Project Website: www.ejp-eurad.eu
EURAD supports the implementation of the Waste Directive in EU Member-States, taking into account the various stages of advancement of national programmes. National radioactive waste management (RWM) programmes across Europe cover a broad spectrum of stages of development and stages of advancement, particularly with respect to their plans and national policy towards implementing geological disposal. Programmes differ significantly depending on the national waste inventory, with some member states only responsible for relatively small volumes of medical and research reactor wastes, compared to others that have comparatively large and/or complex waste inventories from large nuclear power (and fuel reprocessing) and defence programmes. Programmes also differ significantly in the way in which they are managed, particularly with respect to the national policy and socio-political landscape with respect to longer-term storage and geological disposal.
EURAD gathers Waste Management Organisations (WMOs), Technical Support Organisations (TSOs) and Research Entities (REs) from Member-States
- with no nuclear power programme operating, but with research, training or demonstration reactors, and/or other sources of radioactive waste;
- with a nuclear programme;
- with different amounts of radioactive waste to manage;
- at different stages of advancement in the implementation of their national radioactive waste management programme; and
- with plans for geological disposal for spent fuel, high-level waste and long-lived intermediate level waste, with different host rocks and different disposal concepts and at different stages of implementation.
EURAD has published a Vision Document, in which it sets out its goals, governing principles, scope and objectives, and its vision, which is:
A step change in European collaboration towards safe radioactive waste management (RWM), including disposal, through the development of a robust and sustained science, technology and knowledge management programme that supports timely implementation of RWM activities and serves to foster mutual understanding and trust between Joint Programme participants.
EURAD envisages the transition to a new era, featuring more effective and efficient public RD&D funding in Europe, and a deepening of research-cooperation between Member States. The aim is to implement a joint Strategic Programme of research and knowledge management activities at the European level, bringing together and complementing EU Member State programmes in order to ensure cutting edge knowledge creation and preservation in view of delivering safe, sustainable and publicly acceptable solutions for the management of radioactive waste across Europe now and in the future.
The EURAD Vision, Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) and Roadmap will be delivered through a 5-year implementation phase broken down into a set of Work Packages, Tasks and Sub-Tasks. The following four types of activities shall contribute to the delivery of EURAD objectives.
The main activities of EURAD will consist of RD&D activities aimed at developing and consolidating science and technology knowledge identified in the EURAD Strategic Research Agenda and Roadmap. There shall be a balance between operational RD&D in direct link with implementation of repository concepts, as well as safety concerns and prospective RD&D. This includes short and long-term experiments and/or modelling work to demonstrate the robustness of the waste management concepts, to increase understanding and predictability of the impact of fundamental processes and their couplings, or to maintain scientific excellence and competences throughout the stepwise long-term management of radioactive waste.
- HITEC: Influence of temperature on clay-based material behaviour
- SFC: Spent fuel characterisation and evolution until disposal
- GAS: Mechanistic understanding of gas transport in clay materials
- FUTURE: Fundamental understanding of radionuclide retention
- DONUT: Development and improvement of numerical methods and tools for modelling coupled processes
- CORI: Cement-organic-radionuclide interactions
- ACED: Assessment of chemical evolution of ILW and HLW disposal cells
Complementary to RD&D and in support of the implementation of the Member States’ national programmes, Strategic Studies give the opportunity for participants and expert contributors to network on methodological and strategic challenging issues that are common to various national programmes and in close link with scientific, technical and issues.
Beyond RD&D and Strategic Studies, EURAD includes activities to consolidate efforts across Member-States on Knowledge Management – this includes access to existing Knowledge (State-of-Knowledge), guiding the planning and implementation of a RD&D plan of national RWM programme, and developing/delivering training/mobility in line with core competencies.
Knowledge Management is enables by three permanent WPs:
- State of knowledge: Activities under this WP consist of developing a systematic approach of establishing the state-of-knowledge in the field of RWM research. This shall be done on a stepwise basis: i) establishing of procedures to document the state of knowledge (SoK); ii) testing and improving these procedures on a few demonstration topics/sub-topics (of the Roadmap); iii) performing a review on existing tools/platforms and evaluating the added-value of establishing such a platform dedicated to provide access to SoK developed in EURAD.
- Methodological guidance: Activities under this WP consist of developing a comprehensive suite of instructional guidance documents that can be used by Member-States with RWM programmes that are at an early stage of development with respect to their national RWM programme. Such WP shall pursue and complement the work initiated with the PLANDIS Guide.
- Training/mobility: Activities under this WP consist of developing a diverse portfolio of tailored basic and specialised training courses under the umbrella of a “School of Radioactive Waste Management”, taking stock of and building upon already existing initiatives (i.e. IAEA and NEA) and creating new initiatives to bridge the identified gaps. The end-users are defined as professionals and potential new professionals at graduated and post-graduated level from EU and non-EU countries (via the IAEA and NEA programmes), and in particular the next generation of experts. This WP will also organise a mobility programme to provide access to dedicated infrastructures associated with the Mandated Actors/Linked Third Parties within EURAD. This work will be carried out in close interaction with European networks having a recognised experience in training/mobility in the field of RWM.
The successful implementation of RWM National Programmes relies on both scientific and technical aspects for a sound safety strategy and scientific and engineering excellence and societal (social, legal, ethical, political) aspects.
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are not research organisations but have a specific concern regarding RWM safety. They are involved in the implementation of the UNECE Aarhus Convention, which reinforces the requirements relating to information accessibility, public participation in decision-making, and access to justice in environmental matters. European programmes therefore undertake work to address these requirements through local and national stakeholder engagement activities to enable Civil Society (via representative organisations, e.g. Non-Government Organizations, Local Community Partnerships, etc.) to participate in defining their national RD&D programmes and the evaluation of RD&D results in the perspective of safety.
Interacting with Civil Society is important in this perspective and therefore one objective of EURAD is to allow interactions between WMOs, TSOs, REs and Civil Society Organisations. These interactions will facilitate the translation of scientific/technical results and create the conditions for Civil Society Organisations to express their expectations and views. Such interactions will improve the mutual understanding of RD&D performed to support the development of safe solutions in the processing and disposal of radioactive waste. It will also contribute to the development of ideas, propositions and methodologies on how to interact with Civil Society to successfully convey scientific and technical results and uncertainties (inherently linked to the long timeframes and numerous processes considered for geological disposal), and on how to interact with Civil Society stakeholders in order to promote mutual benefit of the available knowledge, based on cooperation and sharing.