20 April 2012 | The International Radioactive Waste Technical Committee (WATEC), a group of international experts appointed by the IAEA Deputy Director General for Nuclear Energy, met recently for its 12th annual meeting, at the IAEA.
To set the stage for the Committee’s discussions and recommendations, the current status of the IAEA's radioactive waste management activities was presented, including activities in both the Department of Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Safety and Security.
“We had very good discussions and presentations on the current and challenging issues that Member States are facing”, explained Ms Irena Mele, Section Head of the IAEA Waste Technology Section and Scientific Secretary of the event. “This included, for example, the management of radioactive waste in the aftermath of a severe nuclear or radiological accident, long-term liabilities related to radioactive waste management and the safe management of disused sealed radioactive sources”, Ms Mele added.
For example, the experts emphasized that it is very important to compile and analyze lessons learned in radioactive waste management, decommissioning and environmental remediation after large nuclear or radiological accidents. It is also crucial to disseminate the resulting information among Member States in an effective way.
Long-term liabilities are an important aspect of radioactive waste management plans and policies, the Committee pointed out. To that end, the experts strongly supported the IAEA's efforts in advising Member States in addressing these issues at an early stage of developing a new nuclear programme.
In addition, the IAEA should continue supporting Member States, who do not have the necessary infrastructure, in implementing borehole disposal of disused sealed radioactive sources.
The Committee recognized the positive development of the five Networks in set up by the Agency in the area of radioactive waste management and the CONNECT platform that provides linkage between all the networks.
“In fact, the Committee encouraged us to put even more emphasis on the Networks in future activities and projects, and use them to an even larger extent when defining and delivering the regular work programme”, Ms Mele stated.
The four day WATEC meeting, held on 27–30 March 2012, was attended by 16 Members from Australia, Brazil, China, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the USA. Four observers from the OECD-NEA, the WNA, Canada and the UK were also present.
Further information about WATEC 2012 meeting is available at the WATEC Meetings and Announcements page.
The International Radioactive Waste Technical Committee (WATEC) is a working group of senior international experts providing advice to the IAEA on radioactive waste management programme activities and directions, and supporting its implementation.
WATEC membership is limited to 20 members who are appointed by the Deputy Director General for Nuclear Energy for a period of four years. Read more...