Waste Technology Section

International Network of Laboratories for Nuclear Waste Characterization (LABONET)

The safe management and disposal of radioactive waste is, in part, reliant upon the accurate and quality assured characterization by non-destructive and destructive methods, and determination of the radionuclide inventory. Relevant procedures, standards and laboratory practices have been developed and refined over the years in expert laboratories in those member states with mature nuclear operating facilities and laboratories.

However, a number of Member States with less developed programmes do not have such facilities and laboratories. For these countries, achieving satisfactory characterization programmes is a complex technical challenge requiring both intellectual and financial resources.


The network is being established to increase efficiency in sharing international experience in the application of proven, quality assured practices for the characterization of low and intermediate level radioactive waste and waste packages and to accelerate risk reduction and cleanup of the environmental legacy. In particular the IAEA intends to:

  • To support organizations or Member States with less advanced nuclear programmes for characterization of radioactive waste, by making available the relevant skills, knowledge, management practices and approaches and expertise from Member States with mature operating nuclear facilities and characterization laboratories;

  • To develop an expanded range of training and demonstration activities with a regional or thematic focus providing hands-on, user-oriented experience and disseminating proven analytical procedures;

  • To facilitate sharing and exchange of knowledge and experience amongst organizations with characterization facilities in operation, in pursuit of good practices, identifying and treating improper past practices and assuring the longer term knowledge management in support of a good knowledge of the wastes to be managed; and

  • To create a forum in which experts' advice and technical guidance may be provided on the Agency's programme in the area of waste management.

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