Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific challenge: Substantial progress has been made over the last decades in RD&D for the management and disposal of radioactive waste in Europe. The EU has established a world-wide leading position in the field. By 2015, three Member States (Finland, Sweden, possibly also France) should have submitted an application for authorisation to build and operate an underground repository, in particular for high level and long-lived radioactive waste and spent fuel. In view of the operation of these facilities planned by 2025, it is essential to address the remaining key technical and scientific issues of common interest. In particular, research should improve the knowledge base for the safety case including the development of monitoring strategies, also taking into account stakeholder's concerns.

Scope: Priority topics of IGD-TP[1] should be considered as well as those of public waste management oriented research programmes. EU funding will be dedicated to topics where national programme priorities converge and where European added value is obvious and maximised. The joint implementation of this research at pan-European level would help develop and maintain the necessary competences. The involvement of non-technical stakeholders and socio-economic experts is required notably in view of extensive communication with and dissemination towards the public and all stakeholders. Interaction with non-EU organisations active in the field could be beneficial.

Expected impact: This research and development work shall contribute to resolve the key remaining technical issues for the actual implementation of the planned geological disposal projects in the EU. Hence it will demonstrate the EU leadership in this domain. The involvement of countries with programmes in their initial state alongside the three most advanced ones should stimulate and foster the cooperation amongst EU Member States at large and facilitate steps towards decision making and implementation of underground repositories, in particular for high level and long-lived radioactive waste and spent fuel in more Member States.

Type of action: Research and innovation actions.

Additional information: The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the Euratom of between EUR 3 and 6 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

[1]     Implementing Geological Disposal Technology Platform

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