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Specific research and technical development programme (Euratom) in the field of management and storage of radioactive waste, 1990-1994

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).

This fourth shared-cost research programme in the field follows the broad lines of the 1985-1989 programme but with the following modifications:
- The enlargement of the programme to include other waste types;
- The allocation of processes and software to quality assurance and of waste packages for disposal to quality control.

The programme takes account of the complementary activities of the Joint Research Centre (JRC).
To help foster the creation of a complete system of radioactive waste management that will ensure human safety and environmental protection, particularly in the disposal stage, through a reduction in the volume of waste, progress in containment, the development of deep geological storage repositories and an advance in quality assurance and control.
Two parts:

- Waste management and associated R&D actions:
. System studies and harmonization of waste management practices and policies;
. Treatment of radioactive waste;
. Characterization and qualification of waste forms, packages and their environment;
. Radioactive waste disposal, the development of underground repositories;
. Safety assessment;

- Construction and/or operation of underground facilities open to Community joint activities:
. Two pilot underground facilities: at the Asse salt mine, Federal Republic of Germany (HAW project), and in the argillaceous layer under the Mol nuclear site, Belgium (HADES project);
. Two underground validation facilities: in France (ATLAS project) and in the UK.
The Commission is responsible for implementing the programme, assisted by the Management and Coordination Advisory Committee (CGC) on Nuclear fission energy - Fuel cycle / processing and storage of waste.

The programme is implemented mainly through shared-cost contracts with competent public organizations or private firms, including small and medium-sized enterprises, within the Member States. The Community may bear up to 50% of total expenditure or, where universities and research institutes are involved, up to 100% of the marginal costs. In addition to these contracts, the programme may also be carried out by means of study contracts, coordination projects and the award of training and mobility grants. Such contracts and grants, where appropriate, are awarded following a selection procedure based on calls for proposals.

Specific coordinated research projects already launched under the previous programme are continued in order to promote and intensify cooperation between teams in the various Member States. In particular, international cooperation is promoted in connection with underground facilities.

Information resulting from implementation of the shared-cost activities is made accessible on an equal basis to all Member States.

During the third year of implementation, the Commission will review the programme and submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council. It will subsequently submit a final evaluation of the results achieved.