Forum on the Safety of Near Surface Disposal

The IAEA launched the Forum on the Safety of Near Surface Disposal in 2017 to improve the safety of near surface disposal facilities by developing guidance, methods and tools, exchanging information on good practices, conducting informal peer reviews of facility safety cases, and facilitating education and staff training.

All countries that use radioactive materials also have radioactive waste that requires disposal, and having sufficient capacity to do so is essential. Many countries have near surface disposal facilities - some have several decades of experience of their development, licensing and safe operation, particularly for low level radioactive waste. Other countries are still planning or developing disposal facilities.

The Forum targets policy-makers, regulators, operators and safety case developers and assessors. Its four working groups focus on:

  • Use of the Safety Case in Decision Making on Near Surface Disposal
  • Regulatory Experiences and Processes
  • Post-closure Safety Assessment
  • Communication of the Safety Case

The Forum was created following several IAEA meetings on the safety of radioactive waste disposal and multi-year projects on near surface disposal. As part of the projects, Member States:

  • Benchmarked near surface safety assessment models (NSARS);
  • Developed improved safety assessment methods (ISAM);
  • Applied improved safety assessment methods to proposed and existing near surface disposal facilities, and considered approaches to regulatory review and confidence building (ASAM);
  • Explored the practical use of the safety case as a tool for aiding the siting, development; and management of near surface disposal facilities (PRISM/PRISMA).

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