Sustainable network of Independent Technical EXpertise for radioactive waste disposal
- allowing mutual understanding between regulatory bodies, TSOs and waste management organisations (WMOs) on (i) the regulatory expectations at decision holdpoints and (ii) how the scientific and technical elements carried out by the WMOs comply with these expectations. In that perspective, the needs in clarification of existing regulatory guidance or in developing new guidance will be addressed. Exchanges with IGD-TP on that issues is favoured. In complement, role of expertise function and the needs for improving it will be discussed;
- in coordination with or in complement to WMO's research program, defining TSO's R&D program that would ensure independent capabilities development for reviewing the Safety Case and assessing the scientific arguments provided by WMOs. TSO's R&D program and priorities will be adressed by favouring close interaction with IGD-TP and seeking for joined research activities with the WMOs in order to foster common understanding of technical key points for safety and avoiding undue duplication;
- ensuring competence building of experts in charge of technical review and transfer of knowledge on waste safety and radiation protection; the needs in guidance development for harmonising the technical review activity and in dedicated training and tutoring for spreading the expertise culture and practices will be addressed;
- sharing, where needed, expertise approach with various stakeholders, in a manner more integrated than when only communication or dissemination are envisaged. Compilation of past actions and learning of ways of implication of stakeholders in the process of technical review will be discussed.
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Responsible and safe management of radioactive waste
Grant agreement ID: 295889
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Final Report Summary - SITEX (Sustainable network of Independent Technical EXpertise for radioactive waste disposal)
The primary objective of the SITEX project (EURATOM - FP7) was to characterize the scientific and technical expertise needed to support an independent regulatory review of the geological disposal safety at national level. This support was described as an “expertise function” in interaction with 3 other functions, carried out by actors in the decision making process: Regulatory function; Implementation function and Civil Society function. Once this objective was achieved the second objective was to identify the conditions and means in order to establish an international network for harmonizing European approaches to implement the expertise function of geological disposal for radioactive waste at a national level, as a support to national nuclear authorities. The SITEX Project brought together 15 organisations representing Technical Support Organisations (TSOs) and safety authorities, as well as Civil Society outreach specialists during a Concerted Action lasting 24 months. Eleven Technical reports have been produced.
An important challenge for SITEX was to propose approaches for closer interactions with Civil Society and implementers necessary to enhance mutual understanding of key safety concerns, without jeopardizing the conditions required for developing and maintaining independent skills, competencies and analytical tools, independently from the implementers, and other stakeholders.
SITEX highlighted the different needs and missions of the national expertise function along the Decision Making Process (DMP), in relation to: Safety Case Regulatory Review; Implementation of Research in Safety; Training of Experts in charge of regulatory review and Interaction with Civil Society. Regarding these different tasks, SITEX identified the potential areas of cooperation, exchanges or resources sharing that could be developed by a future SITEX network. These opportunities were further developed as “Terms of Reference of the SITEX Network”.
These terms of reference of the future SITEX network present a framework for programming, implementing and harmonising at international level the tasks required by national expertise function to support regulatory review. SITEX described the functions, modes of interactions and operating opportunities of the potential network could provide to its members.
The three graded modes of interaction of the SITEX network are the following: the first mode of interactions (“Programming”) aims at identifying specific needs and developing diagnostic and specific programmes and products by sharing national experiences, practices and prospective views and by auditing appropriate stakeholders. The second mode of interaction (“Implementing”) aims at implementing in practice within the SITEX network the programmes and products identified in the first mode of interaction by developing joint work and sharing resources. The third mode of interaction (“Harmonizing, linking with external entities”) aims at promoting and disseminating the SITEX outputs as well as building the collective opinions of the network with the view to reach harmonization, where appropriate, and at developing interactions and partnerships with external entities.
The different services of the SITEX network to the SITEX members relate to Training and Tutoring, Reviewing the Safety Case (SC), Developing a research strategy and workforce at national and international level and Interacting with the Civil Society (CS).
Project Context and Objectives:
The long-term management of high-level and long-lived radioactive waste is one of the safety issues faced by the nuclear sector. Disposal in deep geological formations is considered by the international community as an appropriate solution to manage these wastes. Most of the European countries with nuclear power launched studies or more consolidated programmes to study the feasibility of geological disposal. Finland, France and Sweden are the most advanced nations regarding this issue and enter now or within a few years in the licensing process of deep geological disposal facilities.
In consistency with international standards issued by IAEA and international approaches developed within the NEA and EC projects, waste management organisations (WMOs) in those countries are developing a Safety Case for presenting the technical and organizational arguments that support the development of the geological repository concept. For that purpose, the structure, content and level of information presented by the Safety Case should match the set of regulatory expectations relating to safety issues that will provide the basis for the assessment by the regulator. In order to reach a harmonised level of safety, the European Commission issued the Directive 2011/70/EURATOM which sets safety standards for disposing spent fuel and radioactive waste from nuclear power plants as well as from medicine or research. With the proposed Directive, European countries agreed safety standards become legally binding and enforceable in the European Union but also reinforce commitment of civil society in the decision-making process of waste and spent fuel management.
Under the leadership of more advanced geological disposal programs, waste management organisations (WMOs) in Europe decided to coordinate their efforts to be able, at horizon 2025, to implement first geological disposal (IGD-TP). This coordination is established through a common vision and strategic research agenda that foster exchanges and joint works about the scientific challenges that remain to be addressed before 2025. This knowledge aims at developing the future safety cases. As far as safety cases develop, the safety case review by regulatory bodies in the framework of the decision making process develops as well, and increased coordination amongst European countries is expected. In that perspective, SITEX lays the foundation for the Expertise Function in the context of the safety case review of Radioactive Waste Geological Disposal, as a support to national nuclear authorities.
This function plays in interaction with the other existing functions such as that developed by WMOs (Implementing Function devoted to the conception and safety demonstration of a geological disposal) and by regulators or nuclear safety authorities (Regulatory Function devoted to licensing activities and decision making). In addition, SITEX intends to define the operating ways of the expertise function in interaction with the missions played by the civil society, named in the project by Society Function.
In order to identify the conditions and means of a sustainable harmonised expertise function in the concerned countries as well as the needs of international cooperation between organizations carrying expertise function, the sources and issues listed below were considered by SITEX:
• International and national standards and guides (defining the expectations of regulators),
• An inventory of the expertise function in SITEX partner countries and an overview of the needs of harmonization of expertise as part of technical support and inspection for national regulators,
• An overview of the methodologies used in the context of a Safety Case Review (SCR) and an inventory of the needs of harmonization of these methodologies and of specific training required to implement the SCR,
• An inventory of Research & Development (R&D) programs, facilities implemented and modelling carried out by organisations involved in SITEX, with the view to paving the way to develop and implement a strategic research agenda (SRA) specific to the expertise function,
• An overview of expectations of other stakeholders in terms of interaction with the expertise function (notably on the basis of the results of a Workshop organised with civil society representatives), and the exchanges organised with Waste Management Organisations (WMOs) in the framework of IGD-TP.
A specific attention was paid to the conditions required for developing a sustainable network of technical safety experts who have their own skills and analytical tools, independently of the implementers, and who are capable of conducting their own research programs. As a matter of fact, experts in charge of reviewing the safety case must in particular evaluate whether the elements of safety, and in particular that supported by scientific and technological results, are sufficiently convincing to be accepted by the regulator as a basis for proceeding with the decision making process. The assessment of the scientific and technical issues developed by the WMOs requires specific skills from the assessor in order to evaluate whether they allow compliance with the safety requirements issued by the regulator.
Major outcomes of SITEX
The identification of the conditions and means to ensure the existence of a sustainable expertise function (expressed in SITEX project by “Conditions for establishing a sustainable expertise network”), at national level, in the countries concerned by the SITEX project, relies first on a common understanding (shared by the SITEX participants) of the function of expertise and its missions, based on a review of the various institutional settings of expertise functions in the different national contexts. It also relies on the requirements of the other stakeholders (Civil Society, implementers) regarding their interactions with the national expertise function. The different needs and missions of the national expertise function along the Decision Making Process (DMP), have been identified in respect with and are related to: Safety Case Regulatory Review, Implementation of Research in Safety, Training of Experts in charge of regulatory review and Interaction with Civil Society. Regarding these different activities, SITEX identified the potential areas of cooperation, exchanges or sharing of resources that could be developed by the experts through the creation of a formal SITEX network. These opportunities are developed by SITEX under the terminology of “Terms of Reference of the SITEX Network”.
The SITEX Project brought together 15 organisations representing technical safety organisations (TSOs) and safety authorities, as well as Civil Society outreach specialists during a 24 month Concerted Action (2012-2013).
In order to identify the conditions for establishing a sustainable expertise network and to establish the Terms of Reference of the SITEX Network that would be in charge of the coordination of the expertise function at international level, SITEX project was organised into four technical work-packages that addressed: :
- The needs for mutual understanding between regulatory bodies, TSOs and waste management organisations (WMOs) on (i) the regulatory expectations at decision endpoints and (ii) how the scientific and technical elements carried out by the WMOs comply with these expectations. In that perspective, the needs for better developing some requirements or new regulatory guidance is addressed, taking into account exchanges with IGD-TP;
- The definition of TSO's R&D program that would ensure independent scientific and technical capabilities for reviewing the Safety Case and assessing the scientific arguments provided by WMOs. TSO’s R&D program and priorities are defined, adressing as well available resources (scientists, experimental labs, numerical codes) within the different partners, in order to be able to propose mutualisation where possible;
- The needs in guidance development for harmonising the technical review method and in dedicated training and tutoring for spreading the expertise function culture and practices;
- The interaction with the civil society involved in the decision making process, in a manner more integrated than only through communication or dissemination. The challenge for SITEX project was to create the conditions for a safe forum where different stakeholders from the civil society would engage a dialogue as early as possible with experts along the decision making process in order to enhance trust in the process.
SITEX issued 11 technical reports addressing in detail the challenges of the Expertise Function in the national context and at European level where increased and formalised collaboration between different organisations is proposed to develop when appropriate harmonization of practices.
SITEX identified and developed the rationales and the missions of the national expertise function, the requirements that govern the implementation of these missions and the skills and knowledge that are necessary to perform them. It describes in particular the interactions of the expertise function with the specific roles played by the other stakeholders (national safety authorities (regulators), civil society (CS) and waste management organisations (WMO)) involved in the decision making process (DMP)of the implementation of a deep geological disposal (DGD).
1. Definition of the national expertise function in the governance of radiological waste management (RWM)
The expertise function contributes in activities carried out in the context of the regulatory review of Safety Case in order to provide the technical and scientific basis of safety for decisions by the national regulatory body, ensuring that regulatory expectations are clearly communicated to and interpreted by the implementer and improving the quality of the interactions with CS in the DMP in order to contribute to build a robust review of the Safety Case. These activities include conducting safety review and developing the capacities to understand and assess the Safety Case, contributing to inspections, implementing R&D in safety and interacting with CS along the review process (and developing appropriate governance patterns to conduct this interaction).
The expertise function interacts with the implementing function through technical dialogue with WMOs. A major issue of SITEX was to investigate the opportunities and ways of interactions between the expertise function and the “society function” played by CS, regarding its role of vigilance in the DMP. It is indeed requested from the CS to interact on the definition of the R&D programme carried out by expert’s bodies and on Safety Case review with a specific emphasis on the assessment of the safety strategy and safety concept adopted by the implementer.
SITEX finally identified three key conditions that are required in order to implement expertise and ensure the required level of quality of the expertise function: competence, experience and knowledge notably provided by resources and skills independent from implementers (regarding safety, scientific and technical knowledge) in order to avoid conflicts of interests, transparency and proximity to the public, involving public release of its assessments and reports and interactions with CS, impartiality when delivering a technical opinion mainly afforded by the above requirements. The implementation of these three key conditions contributes to allow the independence of the expertise function (see deliverable D6.1).
1.1. Competence, experience and knowledge
The main required expert profiles needed for evaluating the safety case for geological disposal are:
- the environmental scientists and specialists of hazards linked to natural features, events and processes, who can carry out R&D and are able to use their scientific knowledge in environmental science to argue their expertise;
- the specialists in construction and operational safety, as material & civil engineers and scientists as well as conventional underground experts and radiation protection specialists in charge of assessing hazards due to materials and waste (these experts may also carry out R&D and use it to argue their expertise in the different hazards possibly to occur during construction and operation) ;
- the numerical modellers, mathematicians and experts in computer code development, who have a transversal role, carrying out scientific calculations and implementing software programs well-suited with the needs for expertise (these experts generally carry out R&D in order to develop computational methods);
- the generalist experts and experts in safety who both have a central role in the expert team: they have a global view and understanding of the different aspects of the Safety Case and coordinate the review team; they are in charge of integrating inputs in the review provided by the other experts of the team.
Because of time constraints, it is of crucial importance to be able to anticipate the development of knowledge and resources required to assess risks posed by nuclear facilities in the future, and in particular by waste management safety. It is therefore recommended to identify very early the scientific issues that have to be addressed in priority enables optimisation of the resources allocated to R&D that supports the development and maintenance of high level scientific skills necessary to perform the regulatory review. These resources should be periodically assessed with respect of the progress made in studies, of the new issues to be taken into account. They should be duly planned, according to needs of regulatory review agenda.
Thus, the needs for financial and human resources should be commensurate with the level of required expertise. This topic is already developed in several guides, although what is meant by the existence of “required financial and human resources” for the expertise function is not detailed. It can be understood that this requested level of resource is expected to allow performing both research in safety and review at the same time so as to maintain the scientific competences. Where limited resources are available at national level, the existence of a sustainable expertise function network at European (or wider) level could represent a useful tool to reinforce occasionally the existing resources in order to provide national regulators with an appropriate expertise function where needed.
1.2. Transparency and proximity with the public
In the perspective of SITEX, transparency towards stakeholders may include several requirements such as to inform the public by publishing the results of expertise that support decisions of the regulatory body, to make explicit and public the “rules of the game” and to maintain over time, consultations with interested parties in the decision process and in particular with the Civil Society at national and local levels.
The SITEX participants agree with the fact that the implementer has a primary responsibility of demonstrating the public that the Safety Case is appropriate. However, the experts have also an important role in dialoguing with the public. The main expectation from the Civil Society is not only information, but is also to receive appropriate answers to their questions to institutional actors. In this perspective, the views and concerns of the public are to be duly taken into account along the DMP by Public authorities and their expertise function. They also have to provide the public with detailed explanations on the way the results of public participation have been taken into account in the decisions. However, the implementation of transparency depends on each country. A minimal requirement appears to be the dissemination of neutral and objective information (for example by publishing approved documents).
Impartiality is a fundamental requirement in order to be able to deliver neutral technical opinion to decision makers and ensure trust in the scientific arguments and confidence in the overall review process. Impartiality relies on competence as stated above and on the capability to avoid conflict of interest of the expertise function with implementing function. Absence of conflict of interest is mainly provided by the availability of independent means from the implementers and its subcontractors, provided by sufficient resources support, i.e. independent means and tools necessary to carry out the review process, including the results of R&D implemented in safety used for the purpose of assessing the safety demonstration. However, insuring independence of experts in the facts remains a continuous challenge for several participating organisations especially in small countries, due to the fact that the best experts in very specialized fields of research are sought after at the same time by the implementer and for the independent review.
2. Tasks and activities of the expertise function
2.1. Reviewing the Safety Case
This section investigates the types of activities performed by the regulatory function along the progress of the DMP that would require close interactions with the expertise function in order to implement the regulatory review. These activities relate to the review of a safety case and of the implementer’s R&D program and to inspection. Needs for further clarification or development of requirements and guidance for practical application of safety principles are investigated (see deliverables D2.1 and D2.2).
This section identifies the support needed by regulatory function from expertise function at the different repository development stages. The safety issues that must be assessed by the regulatory body at the different stages of repository development determine the expertise and technical support needed to perform this independent appraisal.
Six areas of expertise needed to support the regulatory function have been defined:
• Safety strategy and policy
• Operational safety
They cover the safety issues to be considered when reviewing documents from the implementer and during inspections.
Expertise in the characterization, processes, phenomenology and modelling associated with the waste to be disposed of, is needed to verify compliance with safety requirements related to the following issues:
• Prevention of the risks of criticality and possible disturbances, etc.,
• Development of waste acceptance criteria and their respect by conditioned waste,
• Characterisation, knowledge and system understanding: waste-related FEPs, etc.,
• Uncertainties: identification of waste-related uncertainties and the needs for further research if needed (characterisation, behaviour, etc.),
• Scenario development for assessing ageing of waste packages,
• Models used in the Safety Assessment: how basic knowledge is used to derive the process evolution with time of the conditioned waste (source term modelling), the modelling of interactions between the waste form and other repository components, etc.
Expertise in site characterization, phenomenology and modelling is needed to verify compliance with safety requirements related to the following issues:
• Site selection: favourable and not favourable properties of site for selecting location for disposal,
• Design: compatibility with the host environment, design basis external events, etc.,
• Construction: preservation of the safety functions of the host environment, etc.,
• Monitoring: baseline, confirmation of host rock behaviour and assumed site conditions, strengthening of system understanding, confidence building in models, verification of compliance with conditions of authorization, etc.,
• Characterisation, knowledge and system understanding: Site-related FEPs, characterization programme, etc.,
• Uncertainties: identification of site-related uncertainties, their management and further needs for R&D programmes,
• Scenario development for assessing possible behaviour and evolution of site,
• Safety assessment models: modelling of host rock behaviour, radionuclide transport in the geosphere, biosphere, external events and processes (earthquakes, glaciation, etc.).
Expertise in EBS characterization, phenomenology, modelling, design and construction is needed to verify compliance with safety requirements related to engineering issues:
• Site selection: consideration of the adequacy of design with site characteristics,
• Design: assets and drawbacks with respect to operational safety and safety after closure,
• Construction: adequacy of methods and strategy with respect to possible damage of host rock, concomitant activities during operation, etc.,
• Operation: investigations and feedback of information on operating experience, assessment of operational limits and conditions, management of modifications, etc.,
• Monitoring: baseline, confirmation of assumed EBS behaviour, strengthening of system understanding, confidence building in models, verification of compliance with conditions of authorization, etc.,
• Characterisation, knowledge and system understanding: EBS-related FEPs, etc.
• Uncertainties: identification of EBS-related uncertainties and their management (R&D, etc.),
• Scenario development for assessing interactions and global evolution of EBS,
• Safety assessment models: modelling of EBS behaviour, radionuclide transport in the EBS, internal events and processes (gas migration, alkaline plume, etc.).
Expertise in the different aspects associated with operational safety is needed to verify compliance with safety requirements related to the following issues:
• Design: design of the handling equipment, design basis accidents, etc.
• Operation: investigations and feedback of information on operating experience; operational limits and conditions, occupational and public exposure; handling and emplacement of waste, etc.,
• Waste acceptance: what are the criteria ensuring operational safety? , etc.,
• Monitoring: monitoring of occupational exposures, etc.,
• Characterisation, knowledge and system understanding: use of operating experience, etc.,
• Operational safety assessment.
Existing regulatory guidance presenting the safety requirements were analysed with the aim of understanding commonalities or potential differences between guidance. Needs for clarification or additional requirements were discussed. A total of 90 issues were identified from which 33 were considered with a high interest. The topics with the highest priority are:
• The interpretation of ICRP 122 (related to radioactive waste) regarding the radiation protection principles applied to geological disposal and the weighting of criteria when applying optimization to site selection,
• Programme for site characterisation,
• Possible Features Events & Processes that have to be considered in scenarios,
• Development of the “design basis”:
o Characteristics of radioactive waste and site,
o Normal and anticipated operational conditions, possible accidents,
o Disturbing FEPs during operation whose consequences may affect post-closure safety,
o Hazards linked to concurrent activities (handling of radioactive waste and building of disposal areas)
The priorities are therefore given to the first phases of the development of a repository: the site selection and the concept development.
In interaction with the regulatory function, the expertise function aims at assessing in particular the following specific aspects of the safety case demonstration:
• the capability of the implementer to properly justify the methods used to obtain data and the confidence in the data,
• the capability of the implementer to explain the processes that govern the performance of the components and their ability to achieve the safety functions,
• the capability of the implementer to perform the long term evolution of the disposal taking into account the influence of the uncertainties on the different potential evolutions,
• the due consideration of potential hazards that could impair safe operation of the waste emplacement, considering the influence of accidents during operational phase on the long term safety
In order to address and develop the review along the above statements, the SITEX project developed a preliminary grid of analysis that synthesises the structure and the scientific and technical issues of interest that should be considered (see deliverable D4.1). This grid was tested for the specific stage of the Safety Case corresponding to the so-called “site investigation and selection phase” leading to decision to enter the “reference design phase”. The purpose of this grid is to try to standardize the approach that could be followed to assess the relevance of scientific and technical arguments of the safety demonstration. This grid of analysis is divided in 8 main sections. The first one presents the main expected outcomes of the Safety Case at the phase under consideration. The focus of the technical review is described in the second section that frames the content of the other sections related to the review of the: safety strategy, assessment basis, safety assessment, optimization and management of uncertainties, as well as the integration of the safety arguments. “Limits, controls and conditions” may be also considered where relevant. For each section, the grid describes what to check in priority in the Safety Case. The sections dedicated to the assessment basis and to the safety assessment present development of some key questions that structure the review. Finally, the Safety assessment is split with aspects corresponding to site and engineering assessment and to radiological and non-radiological impact assessment.
2.2. Implementing R&D activities in safety
R&D work in safety is essential for the experts’ scientific and technical ability, because it maintains or improves their competence, it contributes to their independence and it helps to reinforce the reliability of the expertise system in the eyes of the public.
The R&D objectives set by the expertise function usually differ from the R&D objectives set by the implementer. The expertise function will mostly investigate issues directly related to safety with the objective to check the adequacy of the approaches followed by the implementer to reach the safety objective. The expertise function may decide to initiate R&D work where it considers that there is a need for additional studies beyond those undertaken by the operator. There may be also situations in which the expertise function requires redundant and independent R&D work so that it can apply suitable critical considerations in its review and assessment. Special attention will be usually given to the detection of possible inadequate choices, hypothesis or assumptions, knowledge gaps, incompleteness, inconsistencies, mistakes (of reasoning or of implementation), etc. The R&D carried out by the expertise function is therefore more a “complement to” and “a verification of” than a “duplication of” the R&D activities performed by the implementer (see deliverables D3.1 D3.2 and D3.3).
More specifically, regulatory R&D activities carried out in support of reviews and inspections may contribute to one or several of the following objectives:
• To develop skills,
• To identify key safety issues,
• To develop its own tools for independent review of e.g. assumptions, models and approaches,
• To verify whether a logical and justified path has been followed to optimise protection,
• To verify safety (performance & radiological impact),
• To check technical feasibility,
• To develop inspection strategies and techniques.
In concordance with the areas of expertise identified by the regulatory function as mentioned above, the technical and scientific knowledge needed for reviewing the safety case is classified along the main concerns for the review:
• the quality of the data on which rest the safety demonstration;
• the understanding of the complex processes which may potentially influence the long term safety of the DGD;
• the assessment of the future evolution (in spatial extent and intensity) of these potential processes, as well as the assessment of their impact on the DGD safety;
• the identification and characterisation of the potential hazards to occur during the construction and operation of the DGD and their influence after closure
Quality of input data
The relevance and quality of the long-term and operational safety demonstrations that will be provided by the operator for the DGD facility notably rests on the relevance and accuracy of the data, as well as on their representativeness of the in situ properties of the GD system.
The accuracy and the relevance of the data used for the safety demonstration of the GD facility principally depend on the methodology followed by the operator to evaluate these data. Where necessary, TSOs and safety authorities undertake R&D actions to develop a better knowledge in the capacity and accuracy of these methods to provide accurate and relevant input data for the safety demonstration. On the basis of such R&D, assessors are able to identify the domain of validity of the methods used with respect to the type of data measured and the conditions of the experiment, and the uncertainties linked to the measurements.
Representativeness of the evaluated data
Data can suffer from both simplification of complex system, processes and time scales and from size reduction, namely due to laboratory research. Therefore the data may not be fully representative of the whole DGD system and its future evolution. Consequently, TSOs and safety authorities should develop sufficient scientific knowledge in order to be able to appraise the upscaling approaches for the data evaluated at small scale in order they can be representative for the whole DGD system, the methods for data extrapolation in time (e.g. for the long-term safety demonstration) and the methods dealing with system heterogeneity.
Understanding of Complex processes
In order to design the DGD facility and to demonstrate its long-term and operational safety, operators have to develop understanding of the key processes (i.e. Thermal, Hydrological, Mechanical, Chemical and Radiological processes and their related couplings) which govern the evolution of the DGD system. TSOs and safety authorities have to build confidence in the understanding developed by the operator. This may be achieved notably by undertaking independent R&D actions devoted to the understanding of:
- the processes on which rest the performances of the four main components of the disposal system (waste forms, canister and overpacks, Engineered Barrier System (EBS) and geosphere);
- the processes resulting from potential internal and external perturbations of the disposal system during operational phase and after closure. In particular, potential interactions between the four main repository components (waste/host-rock; waste/EBS interactions; EBS/host-rock interactions), perturbations due to construction and operation of the disposal are of major concern;
- the monitoring issue. Monitoring should able to know the state of the system (normal/expected evolution) and methods have to be designed in order to detect deviations from the expected domain of behaviour: what process to measure? Which components? Which parameter? What is the specified (safe) domain of functioning (the reference state) ?...;
In parallel to the work developed by reviewers to increase knowledge and implement review methods of long term safety, the assessment of operational phase safety is an increasing challenge as far as disposal programmes progress. As example, the IAEA GEOSAF project on international harmonization of approaches in the evaluation of the safety case for a geological disposal launched in 2010 a pilot study on fire hazard and the GEOSAF 2 project was subsequently initiated in 2012 on the integration of operational phase and post-closure phase into the safety case.
In terms of methodology of regulatory review, existing methods already used for various nuclear facilities remains valid and serve as basis for reviewing safety of the operation of geological disposal. But some specific risks or situations need to be addressed without any substantial feedback experience from the operation of existing nuclear facilities (management of concomitant activities, management of fire…). Parameters associated to the characterization of the considered risks (fire, flood…) needs to take into account the peculiarities of such a facility. Finally, the identification of Limits, Controls and Conditions for the operational phase remains a challenge, since it has to integrate the dimension of long term safety: the numerous links between pre- and post-closure arguments of the safety case call for a methodology to verify continuously that the operator is always on the right track to achieving its target, namely the conditions of the repository at the time of closure which form the basis of the demonstration that the facility is sure in the long term.
The regulatory review should address :
1. The analysis of the design, the maintenance, the coherence between the provisions adopted and the considered risks (especially those that are specific to a geological disposal) should be deepened. This underlines the questions related to the technologies used in the facility, the architecture, the components’ robustness and easy maintenance, as well as a deep understanding of the mechanisms associated to the ageing of the abovementioned components.
2. The analysis of the scenarios used by the licensee, especially those that are envelope, should be carried out with a good understanding of the peculiar characteristics of a geological disposal.
3. Risks associated to activities running in parallel over extensive periods of time should be considered as essential.
4. The analysis of the adequacy of a monitoring and surveillance programme during the operational phase, which would consider several objectives, should be performed as well.
5. As stated above, a deeper knowledge of the various situations and parameters that influence the “initial state” of the closed repository (namely the characterization of the set of parameters that control the post-closure safety assessment) should be sought as well.
Technical and scientific knowledge required to review the conventional and nuclear hazardous processes in underground should in particular concern :
• fire hazard
o characterization of fires in underground spaces
o thermal response of ILW emplacement cells on temperature rise aggressions
o quantification of effects of fire on specific target in confined environment
o integration of different confined environment in IRSN’s simulation tools
• handling hazard
o characterization of situations of stopping the transfer of canisters and emplacement
o consequences of these situation on the components relevant for safety and on the general level of risks in the facility
• hazard due to activities performed in parallel (co-activity)
o methods (including in other industries) for organizing safely activities performed in parallel
o definition of situations (such as evacuation in the case of a fire in the underground area) that should be taken into account in the analysis of these risks
Safety assessment of extent, intensity and impact of processes
The review of the safety assessment performed by WMOs relies first on the appraisal of the hypothesis selected and in particular the set of data used to feed the models. The reliability of the physical and numerical models developed by the operators, the comprehensiveness of scenarios modelled and the methodology followed to manage the uncertainties are key parts of the review, where expertise function must develop sufficient skills allowing performing an independent review. For that purpose, besides the activities mentioned above, the use of computational models allow assessing the orders of magnitude of phenomena modelled by the WMO and test the robustness of the demonstration. The influence of the uncertainties associated to models, data and code can be tested with respect to the confinement properties procured by the disposal.
Cartography of R&D programs and available resources
Each SITEX participating organization has determined:
• The key safety issues which characterize their national radioactive waste disposal program,
• The associated R&D actions that are or should be undertaken in order to ensure a high level technical review of the Safety Case developed by the operator,
• The tools used to implement experiments or perform scientific calculations
Along the technical and scientific issues to be assessed when performing the regulatory review listed above, organisations have developed scientific capabilities to carry out their own research program and scientific activities where they consider that:
• Knowledge developed by WMOs must be completed,
• An independent view must be developed in order to be able to develop contradictory exchanges between implementer and reviewer.
In both cases, the scientific activities carried out by the expertise function are focused on key safety issues and related scientific concerns and especially on main phenomena where related uncertainties must be assessed.
Two main scientific activities are performed by the organizations for the development of independent skills: implementation of experimental works and computational simulations. They represent a potential pool for mutualisation of competencies and share of tools, with the view to ensure availability of as large as possible set of scientific and technical tools allowing covering the potential needs of expertise function at European level.
The scientific installations available for the expertise function comprise labs, preferentially focused on radiochemistry, and underground research laboratories.
The modelling codes are used namely for radiation protection activities, inventory calculations, heat transfer modelling, geochemistry, geomechanics, transport & migration for the purpose of independent calculations in order to review the safety assessment developed by the WMOs and assess the role of uncertainties (see deliverable D3.2).
2.3. Training and Tutoring
The review of a Safety Case of geological disposal requires a large panel of competences, specific knowledge, as well as specific attitudes and skills. The scientific knowledge required for experts is part of the initial knowledge offered by academic learning and is periodically updated through professional instruments outside SITEX. In complement, the skills for reviewing the Safety Case are progressively developed through daily work but it is considered that a programme of specific training courses, tutoring and companionship should be developed in order to better support the development of the required professional competences. This programme of training and tutoring aims at developing:
• A common culture of safety (support for exchange of experience and best practices),
• Awareness on key safety issues,
• Common methods for reviewing the Safety Case (support for harmonization of practises),
• Awareness of complexity of safety governance considering key social and ethical aspects.
In the framework of SITEX project, reflexion on Training and Tutoring was limited to the different categories of expert profiles involved in the review process as potential users: environmental scientists and risk experts in long-term safety, risk experts in construction and operational safety, numerical modellers, mathematicians and experts in code development, generalist experts (or “general engineers”) and experts in safety assessment (see deliverable D4.2).
The function of Training and Tutoring proposes a common core module for all experts engaged in the licensing review process, dedicated to the “beginners” in expertise or for experts on other nuclear installations; a specialisation modules for each “expert profile” as defined above. It would provide to trainees the opportunity to work in another national expertise body, together with one or several inspiring tutors who agreed to share their expertise and experience and who will assist them to complete their specific learning needs. In addition, SITEX members raised the possibility of providing training services for interested civil society representatives, where appropriate.
The “SITEX Training Programme” would correspond to a core curriculum-training module on licensing geological disposal and to different training and tutoring periods that enable the transfer of know-how all along a carrier development. It is split into the “Basic Training Programme” and the “Advanced Training Programme” , using the model proposed by various national and international institutions (IAEA, NEA, ENSTTI…). As an example, ENSTTI’s training programme entitled “Induction to nuclear safety” is a 4 week-long programme that could be considered as a “basic training programme”. ENSTTI’s induction course includes nuclear safety infrastructure, reactor safety, incident & accident and finally, fuel cycle.
The complete “SITEX training programme” is composed of 3 successive steps, including:
I. A “basic module” (“A”),
II. Four training “specialization modules” (“B” to “E”) dedicated to the different experts’ profiles (B- “environmental experts”; C- “numerical modellers”; D- “operational risk experts”; E- “generalist experts”),
III. A tutoring module (“F”) in another team of experts of the SITEX partners.
As an example, the module “A” for all experts engaged in the licensing review process of a geological disposal, may comprise 3 main sessions:
• The definition of the « expertise function », including developments on the notions of independence from WMOs, impartiality, transparency and openness to Civil Society, as well as competences and profiles of experts,
• The content of the Safety Case, with detail of each part and phases of development of the Safety Case,
• The different steps of the technical review, and the types of exchanges it may require, with various entities such as implementer, safety authority or the public.
Each of the four specialization modules have common objectives, such as supporting exchanges of experience and best practices, how to use the results of this R&D programme in the technical review…A specific attention will be focused on the anticipation of scientific knowledge needed to perform review in due time and with sufficient relevance. Iterative review process and close interaction between identification of key safety issues and specific R&D programme definition is recommended to ensure this anticipation.
2.4. Interacting with Civil Society
This task of SITEX constitutes a major advancement in the aim of developing sustainable involvement of the CS in the regulatory review of DGD (see D5.1 D5.2 D6.1). For the purpose of SITEX project, the public was considered as the “end user” of the decision-making process. In that context, the mission of expertise function is to enhance nuclear safety in the public interest. This mission is linked with the capacity of the expertise function to identify the priorities and concerns of the public and therefore necessitates regular interactions with the public. It also entails the expertise function to provide the public with its expertise and to make itself available to answer the questions of the public and to provide it with information and explanations on the technical review conclusions.
SITEX issued review of international initiatives on stakeholders involvement and collected relevant experiences from various national initiatives to associate civil stakeholders in the process of developing a geological disposal project. Several case studies have been selected according to their ability to illustrate practical implementation of interactions between experts, in particular TSOs, and stakeholders in Europe in the last 15 years. They have been analyzed according to a systematic grid of assessment enabling comparative analysis and drawing of general lessons about the conditions and means of interactions between experts and civil society.
The selected case studies are mainly situated in the field of RWM but also include a case study related to innovative processes of interaction in the field of management of mining residues resulting of past mining activities as well as an example of development of TSO’s strategy of openness to society in the nuclear field. The choice of these case studies has also been guided by the possibility to access information in French or English language.
The nine case studies are :
• ARGONA focused science shop on impact of radioactive waste disposal (Czech Republic, 2008)
• ARGONA consensus panel on spent nuclear fuel management alternatives (Czech Republic, 2008)
• ARGONA Interaction Panel on “Siting and safety case” (Czech Republic, 2009)
• COWAM In Practice (CIP) National Stakeholder Groups (Europe, 2007-2009)
• CoRWM citizen panels (United Kingdom, 2005)
• The strategy of openness to society of the French Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (France, 2003-…)
• Cooperation between the IRSN and the Local Information Commissions in the framework of the preparation of the public debate in France related to the future application for creation of a geological disposal (2012-2013)
• Citizen and expert groups for the closure of repository Asse II (Germany, 2007-…)
• Pluralistic expert group on radioecology in Nord-Cotentin (France, 1997-2010)
Information on the selected cases was gathered through desk study on the basis of the available documentation on the cases in French and English language (with additional exploitation of documents in German language in the case of the citizen and expert groups for the closure of the repository of Asse II). This information has been complemented by two interviews of stakeholders engaged in the ARGONA European research project and the Asse II case.
The grid of analysis was structured as follow:
1. Origins and justification of interactions between TSOs and civil society
2. Organization of the interaction process
3. Characterization of the co-expertise process
4. Access of civil society actors to information
5. Outcomes of the process
Four different types of outcomes have been identified as a result of those interactions: the improvement of expertise, the improvement of decision-making, the competence building and the access of Civil Society actors to reliable and relevant information.
Improvement of expertise
As regards the improvement of expertise, the interaction processes have led in different cases to some kind of improvement of the quality of the expertise process and its results (e.g. better definition of reference groups of exposure scenario taking into account local ways of life). This includes development of new processes and methods for performing expertise with local actors and Civil Society taking on board the priority and concerns of the Civil Society. Interactions between experts and Civil Society also improved reliability of the results of the expertise process, in particular in the cases where experts with various backgrounds (and different views vis-à-vis the considered technologies) are involved in the expertise process.
Improvement of decision-making
As regards improvement of decision-making, the interaction between experts, decision-takers and Civil Society has led in different cases to improve the quality and reliability of the decision-making process. This includes identification of commonly agreed solution between Civil Society, local actors and decision-makers but also adaptation of the decision-making process to allow the different stakeholders to contribute to the quality of decisions. This also includes the development of mutual understanding between experts and decision-makers on the one hand and local actors and Civil Society actors on the other hand, notably the development of a common language between the different involved categories of stakeholders.
The considered interactions between experts and Civil Society have also contributed to reinforce the skills of the considered actors. On the one hand, local actors and Civil Society actors have developed their capacity to address technical issues according to their priorities, in the perspective of a continuous involvement along the decision making process. On the other hand, TSOs and experts have developed their capacity to interact in a relevant and fruitful way with local actors and Civil Society and to take advantage of those interactions to improve the quality and relevance of their expertise (and for instance introduce new issues in the scope of the expertise or reframe certain issues according to the concerns of the Civil Society (e.g. for instance while implementing the concept of reversibility as a result of societal influence on the decision-making process). It is also noted that the Civil Society can contribute to maintain on the R&D agenda issues related to geological disposal safety that would not otherwise be addressed by the institutional players.
Access of Civil Society actors to information
These interaction processes have most often resulted in a better access of local actors and Civil Society actors to relevant information according to their questions and needs. In particular, the work of “technical mediation” (mediation between Civil Society and institutional experts) carried out by non-institutional experts (from NGOs or other institutions having some proximity with the Civil Society) appears as a key factor for fostering effective access of Civil Society to information on issues involving a high degree of technicality, such as radioactive waste management.
Taking a step back and looking beyond the strict scope of the various complex interaction processes, we can see that they almost all fit in a longer-term process of evolution of the governance of radioactive waste management (and also of nuclear activities in general) towards a greater openness to different stakeholders, especially Civil Society. This process is a long-term process of co-evolution between expert bodies and Civil Society.
In this process of co-evolution over a long time, the interaction processes between experts and Civil Society, limited in time, space and in the scope of considered issues, can be considered as "change incubators". Indeed, they open, usually off the usual system of governance, a bounded space where the different actors (especially Civil Society actors and TSO) can safely experiment with new types of interactions and enter in a process of collective learning. Should favourable conditions be met, the improved mutual understanding of actors, the experimentation of new roles and the new formulation of issues resulting from the interactions may contribute to changes in longer-term relationships and mutual positions of the actors. These contribute to a process of longer-term evolution of the radioactive waste management governance (and, more generally, nuclear activities).
The expertise function contributes to this process of co-evolution in different ways. This includes the support of the engagement of civil society actors and the strengthening of their skills in the framework of interaction processes (foreseen in the legal or regulatory framework), or initiating themselves such (pilot) processes:
• Adapting its culture and practices to accommodate the active contributions of Civil Society as an added value to the relevance of safety, expertise and decisions
• Directly supporting an autonomous, continuous and long-term process in which Civil Society develops skills, capacity to engage in issues of public interest, networking capacities
In complement to this review study, a workshop has been organized in September 2013 with SITEX partners and members of civil society. The goal of this workshop was to map the needs for the public to engage in the radioactive waste management decision making process and to identify opportunities for civil society and technical experts to interact in the framework of SITEX areas (review activities, definition and implementation of R&D, exchanges with nuclear safety authorities and possibly WMOs). This meeting with representatives from the civil society came to the conclusion that expertise function could provide with the required conditions for allowing a “safe forum” where civil society could participate in the expertise process at different levels. These conditions rely mainly on the openness of the organizations involved, and on a set of prerequisite values to be shared such as transparency and independency. Transparency and independency of experts should make explicit:
• the scientific uncertainties,
• the criteria for assessing and selecting the solution,
• the background documentation of expertise.
• the terms of its expertise while it is elaborated for the need of safety authorities
• a genuine intellectually independent perspective. More specifically, it should be able to voice its concerns (as a whistleblower), as soon as not properly taken into account by the decision-making process.
• the traceability of the collective expert opinion that should be provided in order to enable the public to identify the various views of the expert before achieving the trade-offs
Society is expecting experts to adopt a broader vision, not limiting their scope to a narrow perspective (e.g. linkage between radioactive waste management and energy strategy, to question the so-called need for transmutation reactors as a solution for radioactive waste management).
The workshop has identified several concrete research & experimentation goals in order to structure the public engagement along the decision making and safety case review and to organise appropriate interactions with the expertise function: assessment of the application in practice of the EC directive 70/2011, assessment of strategic research agendas of WMOs and TSOs and the definition of the long term engagement of public during the operating phase of the geological disposal.
2.5. Interacting with waste management organisations
Besides the formal review process, SITEX is of the opinion that periodic exchanges should be considered between expertise function and implementing function to share mutual information on scientific, technical and safety advances and strategies. This information contributes, on the one hand to anticipate the needs in specific skills for reviewing the future safety case, on the other hand to allow the implementer anticipating difficulties in the dialogue with the regulator and the reviewer in case of misunderstanding of safety requirements and expectations.
It is the reason why SITEX and IGD-TP engaged early in 2012 in closer dialogue with the view of better sharing safety and research challenges that would be worth debating at international level considering the progress of national programmes and the implementation of the strategic research agenda driven by IGD-TP. From a practical point of view, this has been initiated during the Exchange Forum 3 held in Paris 30th November 2012. In the follow up of this first interaction, a special session with SITEX was organised during the IGD-TP Exchange Forum 4 (see D3.3 and D6.1). The participants discussed the possible interactions between IGD-TP and SITEX, preserving the independence of both parties. Following questions were addressed:
1. Interaction with civil society
SITEX was questioned about the role of TSOs in interacting with public. SITEX considered that TSOs can potentially act in complement to WMOs where public expects an independent view on its scientific and safety concerns and expectations, allowing to enlarge its understanding and knowledge of geological disposal.
2. Collaborative research and exchange
It was agreed that collaborative research could be possible on fundamental issues that deserve international community involvement. Generally, as far as the research is focused on scientific gaps, and on acquisition of basic science that allows better understanding processes involved in the evolution of the disposal, there is a benefit to share as far as possible research programmes. This avoids undue duplication of resources and provides access to all stakeholders to the best level of knowledge. But the results should be used independently for the purpose of the safety case building and the safety case review. Beside research cooperation, other topics related to strategic issues on safety approach and governance open possibility for potential cooperation, e.g. reversibility/retrievability, passive safety, long term safety, stability of geological system, impact on future generations, Partitioning & Transmutation etc.
3. Governance for joint research
SITEX and IGD-TP agreed about the importance to elaborate a transparent and approved governance of possible joint research between WMOs and TSOs. A key issue is the way of implementing part of the research carried out by expertise function in the international context of EURATOM joint programming, in particular with WMOs without any prejudice of respective missions and roles in the decision making process. Maintaining the independence of expertise function research with respect to WMOs is a major point.
3. Functions, modes of operation and operating opportunities for creating SITEX network at international level
In concordance with the above description of expertise function missions, SITEX proposes to group these missions into 4 main functions: training and tutoring, review of the safety case, implementing R&D and interacting with civil society (interaction with the WMOs is integrated with the review mission and R&D activities). This section describes how these functions can be implemented along three modes of interactions that provide a set of operating opportunities for the SITEX network. The general objective of the SITEX network aims at supporting national expertise, initiating international cooperation and seeking potential opportunities for harmonization, when relevant (see deliverable D6.2).
SITEX identified three graded potential modes of interactions:
The first mode of interaction (“Programming”) aims at identifying specific needs and developing diagnostic and specific programmes and products (training modules, safety guides, review guidance, SITEX SRA, strategy for interacting with Civil Society) by sharing national experiences, practices and prospective views and by auditing appropriate stakeholders.
The second mode of interaction (“Implementing”) aims at implementing in practice within the SITEX network the programmes and products identified in the first mode of interaction by developing joint work and sharing resources (human resources, tools, funding, etc.).
The third mode of interaction (“Harmonizing, linking with external entities”) aims, on the one hand, at promoting and diffusing the SITEX products as well as the collective opinions of the network with the view to reach harmonization, where appropriate. On the other hand, it aims at developing interactions and partnerships with external entities such as: European Institutions, international organisations (IAEA, NEA, ICRP), networks and platforms (ETSON, WENRA, IGD-TP), and civil society organisations and other partners (e.g. ENSTTI).
3.1. Programming by sharing national experiences, practices and prospective views
The first mode of interaction includes basic exchanges of experiences and practices of the national expertise function. This type of interaction has already been developed in the past on a bilateral basis by some of the SITEX partners. It has been extensively developed within the SITEX project along the various categories of activities that are currently undertaken by the national expertise functions (see D6.1). This work has resulted in a shared understanding of the rationales of the expertise function. Further needs in order to improve the expertise function have been identified as well as more sensitive issues that deserve specific attention. For instance, specific needs of national expertise functions have been identified according to their institutional setting that have been found to be different across in the considered countries. In this perspective, opportunities for future improvement of the expertise function have been identified as a result of “sharing national experiences, practices and prospective views“ in the SITEX network, such as:
• Building specific trainings (development of modules) aiming at developing competences for reviewing the Safety Case,
• Discussing existing guidance on radioactive waste safety and interpretation of existing recommendation or for new recommendation,
• Discussing methodologies to review safety cases in function of the different phases of development of a repository,
• Developing a Strategic Research Agenda as a result of a common view on the key safety issues and associated R&D actions that may be undertaken by a future network,
• Studying ways for engaging civil society at decision hold points in order to take into account their contributions in the review process.
In order to implement in practice this first mode of interaction, it is suggested to organize a SITEX exchange forum on a yearly basis.
3.2. Implementing by developing joint work & sharing resources
The second mode of interaction is defined as the set of bilateral and multilateral cooperation established between SITEX members that aim implementing the programmes and products developed in the first mode of interaction. These international partnerships aim at achieving joint works and programs and at sharing, where appropriate, facilities and financial, human and technical resources. This cooperation will rely on case-by-case initiatives, for which members will find an added value in:
• Exchanging staff or students that allows disseminating knowledge and know-how and within the network (tutoring for instance) and increasing the overall competences of members by testing the training modules defined in the first mode of interaction,
• Contributing to national review process, where appropriate, with the view to complete the national review team with external skills available in SITEX and implementing pilot study to test grid of analysis developed in the first mode of interaction,
• Sharing research facilities that would allow to implement experimental programmes of interest for all the parties with the possibility to share the costs and the data obtained (e.g. the Tournemire URL),
• Sharing modelling capabilities for performing numerical calculations and increasing the experience feedback in using computer codes, in defining scenarios, in interpreting results with respect to the safety issues,
• Implementing the SITEX SRA developed in the first mode of interaction,
• Mobilizing resources from SITEX on requests of Civil Society organizations in order to support these organisations at national level in the framework of specific national cases, and to develop joint and pilot actions.
3.3. Harmonizing, linking with external entities
The third mode of interaction aims on the one hand, at promoting and diffusing the SITEX products as well as the collective opinions of the network with the view to reach harmonization, where appropriate. On the other hand, it aims at developing a strategy of interactions and partnerships with external entities such as: European Institutions, international organisations (IAEA, NEA, ICRP), networks and platforms (ETSON, WENRA, IGD-TP), and Civil Society organisations and other partners (e.g. ENSTTI). This third mode of interaction aims at going beyond the national models towards European (and possibly international) harmonized practices of expertise and promoting a SITEX label in the different components of the expertise function: training, review, R&D implementation, interactions with Civil Society. Such work towards harmonization should cover:
• The valorisation of the modules of the SITEX training programme by working with ENSTTI and IAEA,
• Producing guidance on radioactive waste safety to support the implementation of existing international recommendations,
• Producing practical guidance for reviewing the Safety Case with grid of analysis for the different phases of the review,
• The development of SITEX collective opinions,
• The publication of strategic positions on key safety issues (position papers),
• The development of peer review activities,
• The development of international joint programming in R&D in the frame of Horizon 2020 or with ETSON,
• The establishment of a sustainable process of interactions with Civil Society at European level by developing partnerships with Civil Society Organizations, in particular in the framework of European joint programming tools,
• The establishment of a sustainable process of interactions with WMOs in the framework of the European platforms context (IGD-TP) and with regulators networks (WENRA, ENSREG for instance).
3.4. Overview of activities and services provided by the SITEX network
Considering those three modes of cooperation, the operating opportunities related to the four identified functions of the network have been developed; these operating opportunities are detailed in the SITEX deliverable D6.2. In this report, the different procedures and actions that the network could implement to fulfil needs for each SITEX function are proposed in relation to:
3.4.1. The services of the SITEX network regarding Training and Tutoring like
o performing a “common core module” for all experts engaged in the licensing review process of a Safety Case for geological disposal;
o performing specialisation modules for each “expert profile” identified during the SITEX project and providing to tutored the opportunity to work in another national expertise bodies involved in the SITEX network, together with one or several inspiring tutors who agreed to share their expertise and experience and who will assist them to complete their specific learning needs;
3.4.2. The services of the SITEX network regarding the review of the Safety Case like
o allowing mutual understanding on the regulatory expectations;
o sharing experience feedback on a type of review, a phase of development of safety case or a specific concept;
o developing detailed review guidance for seeking harmonization of safety review activities;
o developing procedures for engaging civil society at decision hold points in order to contribute to the review of the extent to which the scientific and technical elements carried out by the Waste Management Organisations (WMOs) comply with these expectations;
o developing procedures and offer services for peer review activities of network members, to EU and international institutions
o providing human resources (e.g. if an expert team searches for an expert in a specific field for a limited time, or a temporarily exchange of experts between two different teams, etc);
3.4.3. The services of the SITEX network to the SITEX members regarding the R&D implementation, like
o developing and implementing the SITEX Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) along the following considerations :
The identification of scientific areas where expertise function should implement its own R&D activities. Implementation of research is in particular justified when there is a need for investigating specific safety issues that deserve an independent view from the reviewer to perform a contradictory review and check assumptions taken by the implementer with respect to safety. It may concern the analysis of uncertainties and sensitivity of processes to containment capabilities, or issues that are not considered (or not sufficiently) by the implementer, and require a particular attention;
The identification of issues of common interest and priorities according to the above purpose;
The identification of available human skills, experimental installations and computer tools as well as funding provided by national research program owners;
The identification of expectations from the civil society by auditing organisations capable to provide scientific concerns in relation with the protection of the human and the environment; such concerns may influence the orientation of R&D program.
o sharing national programmes, resources as well as R&D results within the SITEX partners;
o interacting with other research platforms: the identification of potential cooperation with WMOs on the basis of the SRA developed by IGD-TP, paying attention to the governance of joint programmes and use of results, in order to maintain independence of reviewers from the development of the safety case;
o interacting with European Commission for joint programming (Horizon 2020), without prejudice to independence of missions, in order to enhance the scientific level of SITEX members through these potential interactions;
o interacting with ETSON on Radioactive Waste Management;
o improving the quality of interaction between Civil Society and WMOs by enabling both-way discussion at an appropriate scientific level;
3.4.4. The crosscutting services of the SITEX network to the SITEX members regarding interaction with the Civil Society (CS), like
o initiating joint projects/activities with CS and notably research programmes on specific topics raised by CS
o answering to specific requests of CS organisations necessitating the support of the expertise function at local, national or European level;
o contributing to the development of the mutual understanding of CS and expertise functions on safety culture
This issue is developed in the section devoted to “Potential and Societal impact, dissemination”.
According to the perspective developed by the SITEX project, transparency of the decision-making process includes several requirements such as:
• To make explicit and public, at the early beginning of the decision making process, the “rules of the game” (requirements and way to verify that they are applied, through technical review and inspections),
• To maintain over time, consultations and interactions with interested parties in the decision process, in particular with the CS at national and local levels.
As underlined by the Aarhus Convention, the sustainable presence and engagement of the public along the decision-making is expected to reinforce the quality of the decision-making of RWM and the review of the extent to which the scientific and technical elements carried out by the WMOs comply with the regulatory expectations. Public engagement is therefore expected to contribute to the reliability of the democratic decision-making in the context of RWM at local, national and international levels.
According to the common definition of the SITEX members, one of the tasks of the expertise function is to improve the quality of the interactions between experts and Civil Society (CS) in the Decision Making Process (DMP). The expertise function has therefore a key role to play in the development of appropriate governance patterns to conduct these interactions that should constitute an opportunity for CS:
• To have access to different sources of expertise in order to enhance its technical knowledge & capacities,
• To raise its capacity and knowledge in order:
o To engage in a meaningful way along the RWM decision-making process at local, national or international levels,
o To voice its concerns and values,
o To duly influence the framing of the issues at stake in the expertise process (including R&D), and to contribute to the quality of expertise.
The SITEX network is expected to support the development of the national expertise function interactions with CS at different levels of governance and at different steps of the decision-making process. The possible multi-level contributions of CS along the decision-making steps of RW disposal offers many opportunities of interactions with experts according to considered phase of the decision making process (conceptualization, siting, reference design, construction, operation, post-closure).
In this perspective, the SITEX function “Interaction with CS” proposes crosscutting activities related to the interactions of the expertise function with CS. It includes:
o Identifying the opportunities and possibilities for CS to engage in the RW decision-making process at the local, national and international levels, along the RWM decision-making processes,
o Determining the need for the expertise function to interact with CS (notably along the Safety Case development and review), and to inform the public on the results of the expertise supporting the decisions of the regulatory body,
o Identifying the needs for the SITEX network to interact with CS in the context of its activities such as training and tutoring activities, Safety Case review activities and R&D implementation.
Several types of actions could be implemented, such as notably:
• Initiating joint projects/activities with CS and notably research programmes on specific topics raised by CS,
• Answering to specific requests of CS organisations necessitating the support of the expertise function at local, national or European level,
• Contributing to the development of the mutual understanding of CS and expertise functions on safety culture
The disseminations activities concern the presentation of SITEX work and perspective for the close future in terms of Expertise Function networking to different events organised by IGD-TP (exchange Forum, Geodisposal conference), Eurosafe forum, Euradwaste conference, Insotec project; IAEA GEOSAF plenary meeting, NEA/RWMC/IGSC geological disposal conference. In addition, SITEX organised a special seminar with representatives of civil society (NGOs) in SENEC in order to present the aim of experise function networking and propose modes of sustainable interactions with civil society in the framework of the decision making process (see above).
The capability of SITEX in fostering exchanges and initiating long term networking on the missions of expertise function at european level allowed to propose a follow up in the framewok H2020 EURATOM Work Programme aiming at implementing in pratice the modes of interactions and set of activities listed in SITEX. The added value is the strong commitment of civil society organisations in the preparation of the follow up of SITEX project.
Efforts made by SITEX to characterize the R&D activities performed in support to regulatory review with the view to defining the SRA to be implemented, allow to initiate a fruitfull dialogue with WMOs in order to learn the possibility to go towards the definition of a joint programming in the framework of Euratom H2020 program. this opprotunity was not possible before SITEX project. in that perpspective, organisations from SITEX would be in charge of liaising with the other organisations from SITEX in order to collect their views regarding the construction of a potential JP. SITEX will identify the scientific and technical areas that could be shared within programmes in the framework of a potential JP. These areas will be derived from the SITEX Strategic Research Agenda which is yet to be drafted and which will consider expectations from the Civil Society. In that perspective, organisations from SITEX will interact with representatives of Civil Society at national and international level in order to prepare the rules and procedures for the involvement of Civil Society at various levels of future research programs.
List of Websites:
Grant agreement ID: 295889
1 January 2012
31 December 2013
€ 1 363 512,80
€ 950 080
INSTITUT DE RADIOPROTECTION ET DE SURETE NUCLEAIRE
Deliverables not available
Publications not available
Grant agreement ID: 295889
1 January 2012
31 December 2013
€ 1 363 512,80
€ 950 080
INSTITUT DE RADIOPROTECTION ET DE SURETE NUCLEAIRE
Grant agreement ID: 295889
1 January 2012
31 December 2013
€ 1 363 512,80
€ 950 080
INSTITUT DE RADIOPROTECTION ET DE SURETE NUCLEAIRE