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European Joint Programme on Radioactive Waste Management

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EURAD (European Joint Programme on Radioactive Waste Management)

Reporting period: 2019-06-01 to 2020-05-31

The aim is to implement a joint Strategic Programme of research and knowledge management activities at the European level, bringing together and complementing EU Member State programmes in order to ensure cutting-edge knowledge creation and preservation in view of delivering safe, sustainable and publicly acceptable solutions for the management of radioactive waste across Europe now and in the future. EURAD coordinates activities on agreed priorities of common interest between European Waste, Management Organisations, Technical Support Organisations and Research Entities.

EURAD will generate and manage knowledge to support EU Member States with their implementation of the Directive 2011/70/Euratom, taking into account the different magnitudes and stages of advancement of Member State National Programmes. This will encompass:
• Supporting Member-States in developing and implementing their national RD&D programmes for the safe longterm management of their full range of different types of radioactive waste
• Consolidating existing knowledge for the safe start of operation of the first geological disposal facilities for spent fuel, high-level waste, and other long-lived radioactive waste, and supporting optimization linked with the stepwise implementation of geological disposal;
• Enhancing knowledge management and transfer between organisations, Member-States and generations.

From this, these high-level objectives, EURAD has established the following specific objectives:
- Develop, maintain and consolidate the scientific and technical basis of safe radioactive waste management;
- Address important and complex issues and enable expert networking;
- Enhance knowledge management and transfer between organisations, Member-States and generations;
- Engage with Civil Society.
This year has demonstrated that the 3 Colleges, and the organisations within these contributing to the various Work Packages, can work together as envisaged. The Colleges have each been able to influence and steer strategic activities, exemplified with their latest work to obtain consensus view on a short list of future ‘2nd wave’ Work Packages (work which will continue into year 2). The Colleges have each found their voice, through their Bureau representatives and formal position papers, providing important governance and oversight used to drive EURAD strategy.

Working closely with the Bureau, the EURAD Coordinator, supported by the PMO and CSOff, has successfully coordinated the first year programme administration. For the RD&D and Strategic Studies Work Packages, this has been relatively straight forward with progress and deliverables in line with that originally planned (albeit with some understandable impacts due to the Spring/Summer worldwide COVID-19 pandemic). In contrast, there has been a larger variation and adaptation of planned activities in the Knowledge Management Work Packages. As already exchanged with the Commission in February 2020 after the General Assembly, we continue to emphasize and promote the importance of knowledge management, recognizing that we have achieved good progress. So far we have developed a strategic framework, via the developing EURAD Roadmap, the Spent Nuclear Fuel pilot and recruitment of Domain Experts to support capture and codification of State-of-Knowledge, and the launching of a mobility programme and training webpages to sign-post to existing and future training materials. In the area of Knowledge Management, we have had a large learning curve as it has necessitated a cultural change in how we work together within the Joint Programme. Here we have had to really come together as a community and co-develop ideas and understand the needs from the vast ranging levels of advancement of the National Programmes represented in EURAD. In this respect, we have made good progress and hope to be in a much stronger position, with a focused programme of forward Knowledge Management priorities, and a better common understanding of what the outputs of this programme will provide.

Another big part of the Joint Programme first year has been the successful participation of the Civil Society Expert group in a number of the Work Packages and the development of the Civil Society Wider Group. The last workshop of the wider CSO group highlighted a number of technical areas that are obviously of great interest and that which will benefit from mutual discussion between the different Actors’ within EURAD. This initial work will continue and will be a strong foundation upon which we can continue to allow Civil Society to follow our work, provide feedback and influence improvements for the future.
EURAD will generate and manage knowledge to support EU Member-States with their implementation of the Directive 2011/70/Euratom, and more specifically with the development and implementation of their national RD&D programmes for the safe long-term management of their full range of different types of radioactive waste. More specifically, EURAD will:
- Support compliance with European regulations – by supporting Member-States in implementing RD&D, developing skills and providing for transparency in order to develop solutions for their radioactive waste
- Support passive safety of radioactive waste – by contributing to the responsible and safe management of radioactive waste in Europe, including the safe start of operation of the first geological disposal facilities for high-level and long-lived radioactive waste / spent nuclear fuel as well as improvement, innovation and development of science and technology for the management and disposal of other radioactive waste categories;
- Help to gain or maintain public confidence and awareness in radioactive waste management - by fostering transparency, credibility and scientific excellence;
- Support radioactive waste management innovation and optimisation – by supporting the development of solutions for different waste streams and types and continuously improving and optimising waste management routes and disposal solutions, including identifying needs specific to small inventory programmes with their particular challenges with respect to access to critical mass of expertise and developing appropriate disposal options;
- Contribute to addressing scientific/technical challenges and evolving regulatory concerns – by prioritising activities of high common interest, and creating conditions for cross fertilization, interaction and mutual understanding between different Joint Programme contributors and participants;
- Enhance knowledge transfer to early stage programmes – by providing an opportunity for less advanced programmes, and in particular those in an early stage of geological disposal programme implementation, to benefit from the cross-European integration in radioactive waste management;
- Foster efficient use of the RD&D resources at the EU level - by sharing and advancing existing knowledge, facilities and infrastructure rather than repeating and duplicating efforts; and
è Foster a better transfer of knowledge across generations of experts – by helping to bridge the risk of shortage of the skilled, multidisciplinary human resources and critical infrastructure needed to develop, assess, license and operate RWM facilities, in view of the long lead-times and the intergenerational operational time-spans.