Confidence Building Measures For A Multinational Geological Repository

Neil Chapman - Association for Regional and International Underground Storage
Sean Tyson - U.S. Department of Energy
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a1670.pdf190.61 KB
There exists an international consensus that all countries utilizing nuclear energy have a responsibility to safely dispose of radioactive materials for which there are no further uses. Some processing may take place before disposal, but in the end all highly active and long-lived wastes, be they fission products, radioactive sources or spent nuclear fuel, this implies emplacement in a deep geologic repository (DGR). Due to the financial and technical resources required to construct such a facility, many countries are now considering participation in an international or regional (multinational) disposal services arrangement. In this situation, one party would construct a DGR with the other participants contributing funding and transporting their materials to that facility for disposal. The clear economies of scale in repository implementation imply that many options exist for financing. But other important issues must be addressed before a country will agree to disposal of its radioactive material by a third party, including the confidence held by potential customers and the larger international community that the material to be emplaced in the DGR will not be used for purposes to which the customer has not agreed. The disposal service provider will also need to provide confidence related to environmental protection and to the safety and security of the material in the DGR throughout its operation and even after it is sealed. To address such issues, the paper will identify and address issues involving participants responsibilities within a multinational disposal services framework. Specific issues to be explored will include: international safeguards, assurances to foreign flag owners, domestic and international assurances regarding environmental safety; facility/operations safety; adherence to regulatory guidance, national legislation and international agreements.