Waste and Environmental Safety Section

The Section develops the IAEA Safety Standards regarding radioactive waste management, decommissioning, remediation and environmental releases.  It also provides the Secretariat for the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management for establishing a global waste safety framework.

Following the requirements and recommendations embodied in the IAEA Safety Standards, the Section assists the Agency’s Member States in implementing policies and strategies governing the safety of radioactive waste during storage and disposal, as well as during decommissioning and remediation activities. It also supports them in cases of environmental releases of radioactive pollutants. 

The Section supports the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management as the legal instrument to incentivize a consistent approach to achieving a high level of safety in spent fuel and radioactive waste management among all contracting parties to the Convention.

The Joint Convention obligates contracting parties to establish a legislative and regulatory framework to govern the safety of spent fuel and radioactive waste management, to ensure that individuals, society and the environment are adequately protected against radiological hazards associated with these activities. The Joint Convention is one means by which the IAEA provides for the application of the Safety Standards. The Section organizes meetings of the contracting parties to review their implementation of the Joint Convention.   

The Section also organizes several international collaborative projects and working groups to further harmonize approaches across the spectrum of radioactive waste management and environmental safety. This includes, for example, the safety of predisposal facilities (International Project on Complementary Safety Reports, or CRAFT), disposal safety cases and facilities (Practical Illustration and Use of the Safety Case Concept in the Management of Near-Surface Disposal, or PRISM, and International Project on Demonstrating the Safety of Geological Disposal, or GEOSAF), decommissioning of accident-damaged facilities (International Project on Decommissioning and Remediation of Damaged Nuclear Facilities, or DAROD), and radiological impact assessments (Modelling and Data for Radiological Impact Assessments, or MODARIA II).

To further assist Member States, the Section supports peer review services in the practice and safety of radioactive waste management, decommissioning and environmental releases. Building on many years of experience in this area, the Section specifically organizes the ARTEMIS peer review service that gives Member States access to a range of international experts in the field, assisting them in improving their organizational performance and increasing the national and international confidence in their activities.

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