Research and innovation on the overall management of radioactive waste other than geological disposal
Deep geological disposal has been the subject of research for many decades, including in the Euratom Framework Programmes. However, the interim storage of waste destined for geological disposal, as well as the management and disposal of other, especially non-standard, radioactive waste types and forms present specific challenges. High added value can result from research and innovation actions at EU level through improving or developing knowledge in this area.
This action will address R&I in view of further improving the management of radioactive waste generated by the nuclear industry. This includes all management steps, up to and including disposal, in the case of, for example, unconventional or legacy waste, operational wastes, waste arising from repair or maintenance and decommissioning/dismantling waste, and could also include the interim storage and other pre-disposal management steps in the case of spent fuels and other wastes destined for geological disposal. The action would encompass the characterisation, quality control / checking and treatment of these radioactive wastes, particular attention being paid to the long-term safety of storage, the minimising of volume, chemical complexity and toxicity, the possibilities of recycling and material valorisation and the facilitating of handling and management. This action should be undertaken in close cooperation with the operational stakeholders concerned to facilitate the early uptake of the results in the development of disposal solutions. It should also establish due cooperation or coordination with Waste Management Organisations for the definition of waste acceptance criteria. In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012)497), international cooperation is encouraged.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from Euratom of between EUR 2 and 4 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. Proposals for topics NFRP 6 to 8 will be ranked in a single ranking list.
This action will lead to the further refinement of the EU policy on radioactive waste management. It will help develop new or improved solutions for the management of radioactive waste, including waste destined for geological disposal, whilst further improving safety aspects and possibly realising economy and efficiency gains, for example in the dismantling of nuclear installations. It will strengthen EU integration for addressing an important remaining challenge regarding the use of nuclear energy.