Waste Technology Section

Radioactive Waste Disposal


Photo courtesy: Posiva

Radioactive waste disposal aims at emplacing waste in a facility which ensures long-term safety through a system of multiple natural and artificial barriers working together to prevent radioactivity from escaping.

A number of alternative disposal options have been developed for managing radioactive waste. The options reflect the specifics of national legislation, geological differences and variations in the amount and characteristics of different waste types.


IAEA's Assistance to Member States

With the increasing use of nuclear power generation and the widespread use of radioisotopes for beneficial purposes in research, industry, medicine and agriculture, there is a growing need for sharing information and knowledge on disposal approaches. To support Member States in developing disposal programmes and solutions, the IAEA’s Waste Technology Section assists within the following areas:

  • Establishment of disposal programmes within the framework of an integrated national radioactive waste management infrastructure;
  • Development of near surface and geological disposal facilities, including borehole disposal for disused sealed radioactive sources;
  • Preservation and dissemination of development, operational and post-operational knowledge in waste disposal;
  • Upgrading of near-surface repositories;
  • Provision of training in the application of waste disposal technologies and enhancing communications between professionals in radioactive waste disposal through the use of Networks (DISPONET and URF Network);
  • Addressing scientific, technical, institutional and socio-political issues through stakeholder involvement to support confidence building; and
  • Fostering investigations into the use of regional and globally shared disposal facilities (multi-national solutions).
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