Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Framework programme


Previous programme


Successor programme


Programme funding

EUR 48,5 million

Official Journal Reference

L 286 of 1988-10-20

Legislative Reference

88/522/Euratom of 1988-10-14
To examine radioactive waste management strategies and the long-term risks of geological disposal.


Part of the Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (1987-1991) under subactivity 5.1.: "Fission: Nuclear safety".

The implementation of a Community plan of action (1980-1992) in the field of radioactive waste ensured the continuity of the R&D programmes in this sphere during the plan (Council Resolution of 18 February 1980). The Joint Research Centre (JRC) continues studies of alternative waste management strategies and conducts advanced studies related to the long-term risks of geological disposal. These are performed in close collaboration with national laboratories and industries and with reference to the JRC's PETRA installation (Plant for Evaluating and Testing of Radioactive waste management Alternatives).

The PETRA installation, completed in 1989, reproduces, on a fully active pre-industrial scale, the chemical operations related to spent fuel reprocessing, including vitrification of highly radioactive waste. The facility was expected to begin operating at the end of 1989.

The European PAGIS (Performance Assessment of Geological Isolation Systems) project, involving all major national laboratories of the EC under the joint coordination of the shared-cost programme and the JRC, was completed at the end of 1988. The safety assessment codes developed by JRC Ispra have been integrated in PAGIS.


Four areas:

- Operation of the PETRA facility:
Study of the treatment and solidification processes of wastes from PUREX reprocessing with a view to optimizing the successive operations of storage and disposal;

- Actinide monitoring:
Development of an instrument for non- destructive disposal of plutonium in waste drums for a final decision before terminal disposal (shallow- land burial or deep geological formations);

- Waste characterization:
Characterization of vitrified high-level waste and spent fuel performed in the hot cell installations of the Karlsruhe Establishment;

- Safety of geological waste disposal:
Activities which are part of larger projects (namely PAGIS and MIRAGE) implemented by national laboratories which are jointly coordinated by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the 1985-1989 shared-cost action programme on Radioactive waste storage and management (RADWASTOM 3C). Continuing activities will be more specifically directed to real nuclear waste disposal projects supported by shared-cost actions.


The Commission, assisted by the board of governors of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) is responsible for implementing this programme, which is executed by the JRC's Environmental Institute at Ispra.

The Commission ensures, in cooperation with the board of governors, that periodic consultation is maintained with the relevant Management and Coordination Advisory Committees (CGCs) or equivalent committees with a view to ensuring coordination and consistency between shared-cost actions and JRC activities in the same areas.

Before 31 March each year the Commission submits a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of the Decision. It will subsequently submit a final report on the research carried out, as evaluated by a panel of external experts.
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