IAEA director general touts advances in managing nuclear waste

Courtesy of iaea.org

Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said on Monday that there have been crucial advances in managing radioactive waste in recent years, even though the general public remains unaware of these developments. Amano was speaking at the opening of an international conference on spent-fuel management in Vienna, Austria.

Amano said several nations have made significant progress in creating deep geological disposal facilities dedicated to high-level radioactive waste, including Finland, Sweden and France. These facilities enable users to store intermediate- and low-level waste that was previously used around the world in nuclear operations.

“It will still be some years before the first deep geological repositories for nuclear spent fuel become operational, but the progress being made in this area deserves to be better known," Amano said.

“Since your last conference, the IAEA has launched a program to demonstrate the long-term performance of dry-stored spent fuel and related storage-system components,” Amano said. “We are also finalizing a new guidance document on the use of dual-purpose casks for both transport and storage.

“I strongly encourage countries with existing nuclear power programs, and experience with the back end of the fuel cycle, to share their experience with newcomer countries to ensure that best practices are implemented everywhere,” Amano said.

Amano spoke on day one of the five-day "International Conference on Management of Spent Fuel from Nuclear Power Reactors: An Integrated Approach to the Back End of the Fuel Cycle."

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