26–28 Sept. 2016 | Cologne | Gürzenich

Society – Procedures – Safety

Challenges of a Site Selection Process:

Dear colleagues,

There is a broad international consensus that high-level radioactive waste arising from electricity production by nuclear fission has to be safely isolated from the biosphere. Disposal in deep geological formations is considered the best approach to protect human beings and the environment from radiological exposures. However, the design of an appropriate site selection process for a repository still represents a challenge and different strategies are pursued in those countries with advanced geological disposal programs.

A site selection process for a repository for radioactive waste has to consider and to reconcile:

  • Safety related scientific technical principles and knowledge bases,
  • Ideas/concepts how to provide safety by means of an appropriate repository design,
  • Social-science based aspects related to good governance, i.e. a “qualitatively good”, procedural design aiming at the development of a fair process,
  • Land use concepts and regional planning aspects,
  • Legal and political boundary conditions.

The reconciliation of these aspects may differ from country to country but experience shows that “safety first” is the overriding principle.

Considering the time scales of many decades required to implement a repository from initiating the site selection process to the closure and possibly post-closure monitoring, evidently science and technologies related to nuclear waste disposal have to be developed further during the process. Keeping and improving know how and expertise during decades requires strong efforts to support and organize research in all related scientific disciplines with a strong focus on interdisciplinary aspects.

The second international conference Key Topics on Deep Geological Disposal – Challenges of a Site Selection Process: Society – Procedures – Safety set a focus on the following topics:

  • Results and experiences of the German commission on nuclear waste disposal, (“Endlagerkommission”) related to the design of a site selection process,
  • International experiences in designing and implementing siting processes – mastering social and technical challenges,
  • Development and application of science based site selection criteria,
  • Scientific aspects of the nuclear waste disposal safety case.

The conference provided an adequate forum for fruitful scientific exchange and a valuable instrument for further improving multilateral co-operation for mutual benefit.

It was great to see you all at our DAEF 2016 Conference in Cologne. Thank you for all your valuable contributions and hours of fruitful discussion.


The organizers