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Nuclear Law: Decommissioning, Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management

IAEA Topical Webinar Series on Nuclear Law

Date and time

Thursday, 2 December 2021
14:00-15:30 Central European Time (Berlin, GMT+02:00)

Register here →


The operation and decommissioning of nuclear and other facilities and activities using radioactive sources or human made radionuclides in medicine, agriculture, industry and research generate radioactive waste. Additionally, nuclear power and research reactors generate spent fuel, which depending on the management option, may be treated as radioactive waste or a potential future energy resource.

Ensuring safety during decommissioning and the safe and effective management of radioactive waste, spent fuel and disused radioactive sources is of paramount importance for the protection of people and the environment from any associated radiation risks and requires the cradle-to-grave approach to be applied.

Decommissioning of facilities is gaining further importance as an increasing number of reactors and related facilities are being permanently shut down or will be in the near future. The ability to safely manage, including dispose of, lower level radioactive waste exists in many countries in conjunction with medical, industrial and research applications. For higher level radioactive waste (including spent fuel declared as waste), although no geological disposal facility is yet in operation, there has been significant progress in some Member States in recent years; and we can be confident that the first geological disposal facility will be operational in the coming years. Some countries are also showing interest in shared multinational, regional or international repositories, which involve inter alia legal and technical issues.

At the international level, several legally binding and non-binding instruments, as well as IAEA Safety Standards have been adopted. In particular, the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management is the first international legal instrument to address these issues on a global scale. At the national level, the policies and strategies for spent fuel and radioactive waste management, including decommissioning, need to be established, implemented and updated regularly. Robust national legislative and regulatory frameworks provide the basis for ensuring safety during decommissioning and the safe management of radioactive waste, spent fuel and disused radioactive sources.

For officials from IAEA Member States, the IAEA will hold a webinar on Nuclear Law: Decommissioning, Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel which will include an interactive Q&A session.

Topics to be addressed include:

  • policies and strategies for decommissioning, and the management of spent fuel, radioactive waste and disused sealed radioactive sources (cradle-to-grave approach);
  • applicable legal instruments adopted by and under the auspices of the IAEA and IAEA Safety Standards;
  • relevant elements of national legislative and regulatory frameworks, including, on the allocation of responsibilities, on funding arrangements and on import and export of radioactive waste and spent fuel; and
  • challenges which Member States face in these areas and some overarching identified issues.


The Webinar will be held in English.


  • Ms Judit Silye, Legal Officer of Nuclear and Treaty Law Section, Office of Legal Affairs, IAEA
  • Mr Gerard Bruno, Unit Head, Radioactive Waste & Spent Fuel Management Unit, Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, IAEA


Mr Wolfram Tonhauser, Section Head, Nuclear and Treaty Law Section, Office of Legal Affairs, IAEA

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