Cross-cutting Topic: Knowledge Management


Knowledge, in general, is both documented information (explicit, using a variety of recording media) and undocumented personal insight (tacit), experience and skills (both implicit and explicit).  Nuclear knowledge is all knowledge specific or relevant to nuclear related activities, including, but not limited to, scientific and technical engineering knowledge.

Nuclear knowledge management (NKM) is defined as an integrated and systematic approach for identifying, acquiring, transforming, developing, disseminating, using, and preserving the nuclear knowledge that is critical to an individual or organisation in achieving specified objectives.

Long-term projects, such as waste management programmes, always involve the risk of knowledge loss, in part or in full, which should be taken into account in implementing a geological disposal programme.  Knowledge can easily lose its usefulness for the future generation, if contextual information (metadata) is not retained, that is, not attached in a way that allows reproducibility, transparency, and traceability.  Therefore, managing nuclear knowledge in implementing a disposal programme includes many challenges:

  • collecting and managing nuclear knowledge over very long timescales;
  • managing issues that arise from the limited experience in building, operating and closing deep geological disposal repositories;
  • creating knowledge from different information sources;
  • managing knowledge transfer and sharing;
  • integration of NKM into an organisation’s culture, management strategy, and operational structures;
  • managing information technology;
  • managing stakeholder relationships;
  • managing education and training issues; and
  • managing knowledge management tools and techniques for use in radioactive waste management.

The management of knowledge in repository development is one of the major challenges over the lifetime of a waste management programme.  It covers all data and information and in particular the basis of the decisions made, which is a major requirement for the creation and preservation of knowledge related to openness, traceability and transparency.

Information must be preserved in such a way that the future stakeholders have sufficient trust in its authenticity and veracity to be able to use it with confidence.


NKM guidance needs to be developed for future IGD-TP’s projects on the methodologies to identify information to be preserved, to determine metadata that are necessary for the keeping of long-term usefulness of this information during the life-cycle of a repository, and to ensure the reproducibility, transparency and traceability of the preserved information.  The guidance needs to be integrated into the working plan of each major IGD-TP activity.