Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Materials

Management of Spent Fuel from Power Reactors

Historical Context

IAEA activities dedicated to spent fuel management can be traced back to the International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Evaluation (INFCE) performed in the late 1970s (STI/PUB/534, 1980). Working Group 6 issued a separate report on spent fuel management (i.e., distinct from the Working Group 4 report on reprocessing). The Working Group 6 report identified interim storage of spent fuel as an important step in the nuclear fuel cycle. An earlier IAEA study on Regional Fuel Cycle Centre (STI/PUB/445, 1977) had already pointed out the importance of spent fuel.

A series of international meetings on spent fuel management were organized during the early 1980s, from which several publications were issued on spent fuel storage. These early activities were followed by the establishment of the Regular Advisory Group on Spent Fuel Management (RAGM-SFM) with a mandate for an advisory role on the IAEA programme on a bi-annual basis. Since its first meeting held in 1984, the RAGM continued until it merged with the International Working Group on Nuclear Fuel Cycle Options (IWG-NFCO) to form the new Technical Working Group on Nuclear Fuel Cycle Options (TWGNFCO) in 2002.

The IAEA activities on spent fuel management have evolved to reflect the changing needs and interests of Member States. A glimpse of such changes in the past two decades can be gleaned from papers published in the IAEA Bulletin, as well as other publications, including those noted below.

IAEA Bulletin Articles Providing Historical Background

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