More background on NEWMDB

Data sources and their relative accuracy are extremely important considerations for the NEWMDB, as for any database. NEWMDB data are considered primary information because they are supplied by designated government representatives who have both access and authorization to the information in their respective countries.

A small amount of data, based on publicly available sources, is supplied directly by the IAEA. A secondary data source for Member States that do not report are the National Reports to the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. The Russian Federation, Republic of Korea and China are contracting members to the Joint Convention and make their information available to the public. These National Reports are considered primary data because they are officially sanctioned by the respective Member State governments.

Waste matrices and translation tables

The NEWMDB is based on a structure that is meant to facilitate flexible reporting. This is necessary because regulation of radioactive waste varies greatly from country to country. Also, the degree of detail provided is a choice of the country. While some Member States provide high levels of detail concerning their waste management programmes, some only provide summary information.

Additionally, because of the variation in radioactive waste regulations, definitions used by one country are usually incompatible with the majority of other countries (see Waste Classification). This leads to a problem when trying to sum or compare the inventories from country to country, from regions, or when attempting to determine the global total.

For this reason, an important part of NEWMDB reporting is the Waste Class Matrix. This Matrix gives each Member State a method of reporting their waste classes along with a translation into the IAEA proposed standard classification scheme. Inventory data are then entered according to each respective country's "native" waste classification scheme and translated into the IAEA standard classes for comparison. A short graphical overview of how this works can be found by clicking the button below.

Framework component

After defining their waste matrix (or multiple matrices), each Member State builds a framework that represents the physical radioactive waste management infrastructure in their respective country. The framework has the following basic structure:

  1. Group
  2. Sites
  3. Facilities


The component "Groups" is necessary as the framework's primary level because each waste matrix is assigned to a group. If there is only one waste matrix, then only one group is required. This component is also a convenient way for a Member State to differentiate between major regulatory or physical divisions, such as between government and commercial, past practices and current, and also for accounting of the waste residing in other countries, such as occurs with reprocessing.


As the name implies, this component is generally used to list the major waste management sites or locations within a country. Although this is the case for most submissions to the NEWMDB, some contributors use "Sites" to define "virtual" agglomerations, such as "All NPPs" or similar, when there are simply too many sites to list, or when waste from each individual site is not tracked at the national level.

Waste data are typically reported and tracked at the site-level, although they may be reported at the individual facility-level instead.


Like "Sites," this component is intended to list the individual waste management facilities at or on a given Site. Facilities are grouped into three categories, according to their function:

  1. Processing
  2. Storage
  3. Disposal

Facilities may have more than one function (such as processing and storage, storage and disposal, or all three). Also, the physical details of the facility, such as the type (building, trench, etc.) are recorded.

Waste data

Waste data are recorded either at the Site-level or at the Facility-level. Reporting at the Site-level is most common. At the discretion of the Country Coordinator, the data are reported based on their physical form (liquids and solids), treatment/conditioning status, and origin. All waste data are reported by volume using the units of cubic meters, except for Disused Sealed Radioactive Sources, which are reported in groups by nuclide and activity level.


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