Waste Technology Section

Policies and Strategies for Radioactive Waste Management

A prerequisite for sound and safe radioactive waste management is the adoption of clear national policies and development of consistent strategy for implementing these policies. Ideally, each country that generates radioactive waste or has nuclear facilities to be decommissioned or legacy sites to be remediated should develop consistent policies and derive feasible strategies for managing these issues.

The two components are linked — the policy establishes the principles for managing the issue and the strategy contains the approaches for the implementation of the policy. For this reason, their development should be closely coordinated.

A policy for spent fuel and radioactive waste management provides the basis for:

  • Developing and establishing legislative and regulatory frameworks including export/import principles;
  • Developing an adequate radioactive waste management system or improving the existing one;
  • Allocating responsibilities for waste management;
  • Planning and developing the required capabilities, i.e. facilities and human resources;
  • Creating a system for financing waste management; and
  • Involving stakeholders and the public.

The formulation of strategies for radioactive waste management provides the means for achieving the goals and requirements set out in the national policy and enables the development of necessary technical infrastructure.

IAEA Publications on waste management policies and strategies

The IAEA provides guidance to countries on establishing national policies and relevant strategies for managing radioactive waste and spent fuel that is declared waste, decommissioning nuclear facilities, and remediation of radiologically contaminated sites such as:

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