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Strategic cooperation sets the scene for geological disposal of nuclear waste in Europe
Date:2/19/2010

ment (R&D) priorities, timeframes and action plans. In the case of IGD-TP, the eight founding organisations belong to countries where nuclear is a well-established part of the energy mix: Belgium (ONDRAF/NIRAS), Finland (Posiva Oy), France (ANDRA), Germany (BMWi), Spain (ENRESA), Sweden (SKB), Switzerland (Nagra) and United Kingdom (NDA). Since the formal launch of IGD-TP, some 30 other European industrial and R&D bodies have endorsed the platform's vision document and applied for membership. There is also interest from bodies outside Europe.

These organisations have committed themselves to build confidence in the safety of geological disposal, encourage the establishment of waste management programmes that integrate it as the accepted option, facilitate access to expertise and technology, and maintain competences in this field. The objective is to facilitate the stepwise implementation of geological disposal by resolving any remaining scientific, technological and social challenges.

Current situation

In the world, each year, nuclear power reactors create enough spent fuel to fill a football field to a depth of 1.5 metres, with a weight of about 10,500 tons.

In Europe, France and UK use the spent fuel reprocessing option and Belgium, Switzerland and Germany have used it until recently. Finland and Sweden are actively pursuing the option of direct disposal of spent fuel. In the majority of countries with nuclear power plants, a definitive spent fuel policy does not exist, other than arrangements to ensure a safe extended period of storage either at the nuclear reactor sites or in a centralised facility (50-100 years).

Is geological disposal the only option?

In 2008, the Radioactive Waste Management Committee of the Nuclear Energy Agency published a collective statement entitled "Moving Forward with Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste" , urging progress towards implementing geological disposal a
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Contact: Elena Gonzlez Verdesoto
Elena.gonzalez-verdesoto@ec.europa.eu
32-498-986-482
European Commission Joint Research Centre
Source:Eurekalert

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