EU-funded project helping keep radioactive waste safely stored
The safe disposal of radioactive waste is a challenge that requires significant research and analysis. With components that still pose significant dangers to humans and the environment even after thousands of years, there is little room for error. Research efforts are ongoing around the world, with various standards and methodologies being developed.
During its three-year run, the EU-funded PAMINA ('Performance assessment methodologies in application to guide the development of the safety case') project investigated the creation of a standardised methodology for one of the most popular methods of radioactive waste disposal - storing it deep underground.
This method is very simple. The waste is placed in repositories located under the surface of the Earth in suitable geological formations. Once full, the site is closed and sealed. In order to be sure of a site's efficacy, a broad range of evidence and arguments, which are of quantitative and qualitative nature, respectively, are compiled and made into a post-closure safety case. Performance assessment (PA) embraces a set of methods serving to analyse numerically the evolution of the repository system. PA results represent a significant part of a safety case.
PAMINA aimed to provide a sound methodological and scientific basis for demonstrating the safety of deep geological disposal of long-lived radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. The results will be of value to all national radioactive waste management programmes, regardless of waste type, disposal concept, repository design or stage that has been reached in PA and safety case development. The project specifically sought to:
- evaluate the state of the art of methodologies and approaches needed for assessing the safety of deep geological disposal;
- establish a framework and methodology for the treatment of uncertainty during PA and safety case development;
- develop methodologies and tools for integrated PA for various geological disposal concepts, including the development of PA scenarios;
- conduct several review exercises on specific processes.
The project has led to a number of results, presented in scientific reports, which are available on the PAMINA internet site.
PAMINA was funded under the Sixth Framework Programme of the European Commission (FP6). The project brought together 27 organisations from ten European countries and the Joint Research Centre¿s Institute for Energy and Transport. From their different roles within their national programmes the project participants brought into the project complementary viewpoints and experiences. In addition, several associated groups extended the reach of the project and brought in expertise from other countries.
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Category: Project results
Data Source Provider: Euratom
Document Reference: Based on information from Euratom
Subject Index: Coordination, Cooperation; Earth Sciences; Nuclear Fission; Nuclear Fusion; Innovation, Technology Transfer; Other Energy Topics; Policies; Radioactive Waste