IAEA holds forum on management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) held a forum last week on enhancing the back-end management of the nuclear fuel cycle, including spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste, at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria.

The forum, which ended Friday, was attended by 50 representatives from 25 member states.

The forum addressed the issues faced by the more than 50 countries that currently have temporary sites for spent nuclear fuel in need of disposal or reprocessing. The bulk of that spent fuel – 80 percent – lies in the United States and Western Europe, and while Finland, France and Sweden are leading the way in deep geological disposal, many countries are prohibited from following suit due to geography, cost and time limitations.

The forum addressed these impediments and potential solutions. 

“Innovations in the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle can significantly contribute to the growth of nuclear power,” IAEA Deputy Director General and Department of Nuclear Energy Head Mikhail Chudakov said. “Using innovative fuels and fuel cycles can help nuclear energy systems become more sustainable. This is important both for technical reasons and for enhancing public acceptance.”

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International Atomic Energy Agency

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