A step change in European collaboration towards safe 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.
By step-change we mean a new era via a 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.
EURAD shall support the implementation of the Waste Directive in EU Member-States, taking into account the various stages of advancement of national programmes. National RWM programmes across Europe cover a broad spectrum of stages of development and level 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.
- Waste Management Organisations (WMOs) having the ultimate responsibility for the implementation of geological disposal (which includes the management of a supporting RD&D programme), and for some other topics of RWM (e.g. waste characterisation, treatment and packaging, interim storage, etc.). WMOs from across Europe form a core part of the Joint Programme and provide a driving force for what is needed for successful and practical implementation from an industrial perspective. WMOs have established a network and coordination framework for RD&D needs of the implementers of geological disposal at the European level via the Implementing Geological Disposal Technology Platform (IGD-TP);
- Technical Support Organisations (TSOs) carrying out activities aimed at providing the technical and scientific basis for supporting the work and decisions made by a national regulatory body. As safety cases for waste processing, storage and disposal develop, so too do the safety case reviews and independent scrutiny responsibility by regulatory organisations in the framework of the decision-making process. This requires specific skills (such as safety case review methodology) from the regulatory expertise function undertaken by safety authorities, regulators, and their TSOs. Several TSOs, together with other organisations fulfilling a regulatory expertise function and Civil Society Organisations have established the SITEX network to support independent technical expertise in the field of safety of geological disposal of radioactive waste; and
- Research Entities (REs) working to different degrees on the challenges of RWM including disposal (and sometime in direct support to implementers or WMOs or TSOs), under the responsibility of Member States. This includes national research centres, some research organisations and some universities that could also be funded by other sources. RE’s provide scientific excellence and leading-edge research on basic components and generic processes in relation to the management of radioactive waste, and therefore represent an important proportion of the contributions to the Joint Programme.
- 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 RWM 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.