2009 Report to Government on National Research and

2009 Report to Government on National Research and

2009 Report to Government on National Research and


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Committee <strong>on</strong> Radioactive Waste Management<br />







OCTOBER <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>


INTRODUCTION BY THE CHAIR .................................................................................... 6<br />

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY .................................................................................................. 7<br />

1. INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................... 12<br />

Scope of the <str<strong>on</strong>g>Report</str<strong>on</strong>g> ............................................................................................... 12<br />

C<strong>on</strong>text .................................................................................................................. 14<br />

Approach <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the Work ............................................................................................ 15<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>Report</str<strong>on</strong>g> Layout ........................................................................................................ 15<br />

2. ESTABLISHING R&D REQUIREMENTS ............................................................. 17<br />

What is meant by R&D?......................................................................................... 17<br />

Scope of R&D Required ........................................................................................ 18<br />

The C<strong>on</strong>text for R&D – UK Higher Activity Wastes ................................................ 19<br />

Waste C<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> Packaging R&D Requirements ....................................... 20<br />

Waste S<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage System R&D Requirements .......................................................... 21<br />

Geological Disposal R&D Requirements ............................................................... 21<br />

Knowledge Management ....................................................................................... 22<br />

Timescales <strong>and</strong> Priorities for R&D ......................................................................... 23<br />

Key Points <strong>on</strong> Establishing <strong>Research</strong> Requirements ............................................. 24<br />

3. UK R&D FOR MANAGEMENT OF HIGHER ACTIVITY WASTES ...................... 26<br />

Overview of Organisati<strong>on</strong>s Resp<strong>on</strong>sible for Providing R&D .................................. 26<br />

NDA ....................................................................................................................... 26<br />

R&D <strong>on</strong> Waste C<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing, Packaging <strong>and</strong> Interim S<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage ..................... 26<br />

R&D in the Letter of Compliance Process .................................................... 30<br />

NDA R&D for Geological Disposal ............................................................... 31<br />

R&D in the NDA’s Strategy Management System ........................................ 31<br />

Other Nuclear Industry Organisati<strong>on</strong>s .................................................................... 32<br />

Role of the Nati<strong>on</strong>al Nuclear Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry ................................................................ 32<br />

Nuclear Safety <strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong> the Role of HSE ..................................................... 33<br />

The Envir<strong>on</strong>ment Agencies .................................................................................... 35<br />

The <strong>Research</strong> Councils ......................................................................................... 35<br />

EPSRC ......................................................................................................... 37<br />

NERC ........................................................................................................... 38<br />

Other <strong>Research</strong> Councils ............................................................................. 41<br />

EU <strong>Research</strong> Funding............................................................................................ 42<br />

The Learned Societies ........................................................................................... 44<br />

Past UK Co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> of Provisi<strong>on</strong> of R&D ........................................................... 44<br />

1970s ............................................................................................................ 44<br />

1980s ............................................................................................................ 45<br />

1990s ............................................................................................................ 47<br />

Public <strong>and</strong> Stakeholder Engagement for R&D Programmes ................................. 48<br />

Internati<strong>on</strong>al Experience in Defining R&D Programmes ........................................ 49<br />

USA – Yucca Mountain ................................................................................ 49<br />

Japan ............................................................................................................ 51<br />

Sweden ......................................................................................................... 52<br />

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Finl<strong>and</strong> .......................................................................................................... 53<br />

Canada ......................................................................................................... 54<br />

France .......................................................................................................... 55<br />

Role of Internati<strong>on</strong>al Organisati<strong>on</strong>s .............................................................. 57<br />

C<strong>on</strong>clusi<strong>on</strong>s <strong>on</strong> UK R&D Programme .................................................................... 59<br />

NDA <strong>and</strong> Other Nuclear Industry Organisati<strong>on</strong>s ........................................... 59<br />

Regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs .................................................................................................... 59<br />

<strong>Research</strong> Councils ....................................................................................... 60<br />

EU <strong>Research</strong> Funding .................................................................................. 60<br />

Learned Societies ......................................................................................... 61<br />

Past UK Co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> of R&D ..................................................................... 61<br />

Public <strong>and</strong> Stakeholder Engagement ........................................................... 61<br />

Internati<strong>on</strong>al Experience ............................................................................... 62<br />

4. R&D SKILLS TO SUPPORT THE MRWS PROGRAMME ................................... 63<br />

Skills Requirements ............................................................................................... 63<br />

Nuclear Skills – Current UK Situati<strong>on</strong> .................................................................... 63<br />

Nuclear Skills - Training ......................................................................................... 64<br />

Cogent .......................................................................................................... 66<br />

Nati<strong>on</strong>al Skills Academy for Nuclear ............................................................ 66<br />

Nuclear Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing Authority ............................................................. 67<br />

Universities ................................................................................................... 68<br />

Nuclear Skills – Higher Level Skills for R&D .......................................................... 69<br />

Universities ................................................................................................... 69<br />

NDA High Level Skills Training for R&D ....................................................... 70<br />

The Nati<strong>on</strong>al Nuclear Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry .................................................................. 73<br />

Relevant N<strong>on</strong>-Nuclear Skills .................................................................................. 73<br />

NDA Skills Requirements for Implementati<strong>on</strong> of Geological Disposal ................... 74<br />

C<strong>on</strong>sultant <strong>and</strong> C<strong>on</strong>trac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r based R&D Skills ........................................................ 75<br />

Retenti<strong>on</strong> of Skills .................................................................................................. 77<br />

C<strong>on</strong>clusi<strong>on</strong>s <strong>on</strong> Skills ............................................................................................. 77<br />

5. INFRASTRUCTURE REQUIRED FOR R&D ........................................................ 79<br />

UK Active Facilities ................................................................................................ 79<br />

Universities ................................................................................................... 79<br />

Nati<strong>on</strong>al Nuclear Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry Facilities .......................................................... 79<br />

Other Facilities .............................................................................................. 81<br />

Internati<strong>on</strong>al Examples of Active Facilities ............................................................. 81<br />

France .......................................................................................................... 81<br />

Germany ....................................................................................................... 82<br />

USA .............................................................................................................. 82<br />

Accessibility <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the UK of Active Facilities in Other Countries ............................... 83<br />

Underground Facilities ........................................................................................... 84<br />

C<strong>on</strong>clusi<strong>on</strong>s <strong>on</strong> Infrastructure for R&D .................................................................. 87<br />

Active Facilities ............................................................................................. 87<br />

Underground <strong>Research</strong> Facilities ................................................................. 87<br />

6. SOME R&D ISSUES ............................................................................................. 89<br />

Key Points <strong>on</strong> Waste C<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing, Packaging <strong>and</strong> S<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage R&D ......................... 89<br />

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ILW Product Lifetimes .................................................................................. 89<br />

Graphite ........................................................................................................ 89<br />

Management of Spent Fuels ........................................................................ 89<br />

Key Points <strong>on</strong> Geological Disposal R&D ............................................................... 90<br />

Radi<strong>on</strong>uclide Migrati<strong>on</strong> with Groundwater from a Closed GDF .................... 90<br />

Gas Generati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> Migrati<strong>on</strong> in a Closed GDF .......................................... 90<br />

Criticality in a Closed GDF ........................................................................... 90<br />

Co-Locati<strong>on</strong> of Various Types of Waste in a GDF ........................................ 90<br />

GDF Design .................................................................................................. 91<br />

Geosphere Characterisati<strong>on</strong> ......................................................................... 91<br />

Microbiology ................................................................................................. 91<br />

Geosphere Evoluti<strong>on</strong> .................................................................................... 91<br />

7. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ..................................................... 93<br />

Strategic Co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> of UK Radioactive Waste Management R&D ................... 93<br />

Regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry <strong>Research</strong> ............................................................................................. 94<br />

R&D Skills <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> Support the MRWS Programme ...................................................... 94<br />

Infrastructure Required for R&D – Facilities for <strong>Research</strong> with Highly Radioactive<br />

Materials ................................................................................................................ 95<br />

Infrastructure Required for R&D – Underground <strong>Research</strong> Facility ....................... 95<br />

Public <strong>and</strong> Stakeholder Engagement for R&D ....................................................... 96<br />

Specific R&D Issues .............................................................................................. 96<br />

APPENDIX A EXAMPLES OF R&D ISSUES .......................................................... 98<br />

Waste Package Specificati<strong>on</strong>s, Post-Closure Safety <strong>and</strong> Retrievability ................ 98<br />

Current <strong>and</strong> Planned R&D for ILW ......................................................................... 99<br />

ILW C<strong>on</strong>taining Reactive Metals .................................................................. 99<br />

Graphite .......................................................................................................100<br />

Other Planned ILW R&D .............................................................................100<br />

Steel Corrosi<strong>on</strong> ............................................................................................101<br />

High Temperature C<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing Processes .................................................101<br />

S<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage Systems ..................................................................................................101<br />

Management of Spent Fuels .................................................................................102<br />

Magnox Fuel ................................................................................................103<br />

AGR Fuel .....................................................................................................104<br />

PWR Fuel ....................................................................................................105<br />

Exotic Fuels .................................................................................................105<br />

MoD Used Fuel ............................................................................................106<br />

Dry S<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage of Spent Fuels .........................................................................106<br />

Management of Plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium ....................................................................................107<br />

Management of Uranium ......................................................................................108<br />

Management of Thorium .......................................................................................109<br />

Some Specific R&D Issues for Geological Disposal .............................................109<br />

Migrati<strong>on</strong> (Sorpti<strong>on</strong>, Colloids <strong>and</strong> Water Flow) ............................................110<br />

Gas ..............................................................................................................114<br />

Criticality ......................................................................................................116<br />

Multiphase Fluid-Solid Interacti<strong>on</strong>s in Perturbed Geochemical Envir<strong>on</strong>ments<br />

.....................................................................................................................117<br />

Co-locati<strong>on</strong> of ILW, HLW <strong>and</strong> Other HAW in One GDF...............................118<br />

GDF Design .................................................................................................120<br />

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Geosphere Characterisati<strong>on</strong> ........................................................................121<br />

Microbiology ................................................................................................123<br />

Temporal Evoluti<strong>on</strong> of Geosphere ...............................................................124<br />

Radi<strong>on</strong>uclide Movement in the Biosphere ...................................................124<br />

APPENDIX B REFERENCES .................................................................................126<br />

CoRWM Documents .............................................................................................126<br />

Other Documents ..................................................................................................128<br />

APPENDIX C GLOSSARY AND ACRONYMS ......................................................134<br />

Glossary of Terms.................................................................................................134<br />

List of Acr<strong>on</strong>yms ...................................................................................................142<br />

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ..............................................................................................151<br />

TABLES<br />

Table 1. Approximate annual levels of funding for R&D <strong>on</strong> management of higher activity<br />

wastes ...................................................................................................................... 27<br />

Table 2. UK Radioactive Waste Management R&D Expenditure in 1989-90 ................ 47<br />


Figure 1. Structure of UK R&D provisi<strong>on</strong> for management of higher activity wastes ...... 29<br />

Figure 2. Co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> of Geological Disposal Issues in Sweden ................................ 52<br />

Figure 3. UK Nuclear Skills Map .................................................................................... 65<br />

Figure 4. Skills Pyramid ................................................................................................. 66<br />

Figure 5. Illustrative decline in manpower employed in nuclear fissi<strong>on</strong> related R&D ..... 69<br />

Figure 6. Adsorpti<strong>on</strong> Processes .................................................................................... 112<br />

BOXES<br />

Box 1. <strong>Research</strong> Council Funded University <strong>Research</strong> C<strong>on</strong>sortia .................................. 39<br />

Box 2. USDOE 2006 Workshop R&D Issues .................................................................. 51<br />

Box 3. Nuclear-related Undergraduate Courses ............................................................. 68<br />

Box 4. Postgraduate University Provisi<strong>on</strong> ....................................................................... 71<br />

Box 5. Skills <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> Support the Geological Disposal Programme ........................................ 76<br />

Box 6. Examples of Topics <strong>on</strong> which Underground R&D is needed for GDF Design <strong>and</strong><br />

Safety Case Development ....................................................................................... 86<br />

Box 7. Radi<strong>on</strong>uclide Speciati<strong>on</strong> ..................................................................................... 113<br />

Box 8. Mineral Surface Reactivity .................................................................................. 113<br />

Box 9. Modelling ............................................................................................................. 114<br />

CoRWM Document 2543, Oc<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ber <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g> Page 5 of 151


This is <strong>on</strong>e of three CoRWM reports <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> in <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>. The reports are about:<br />

• interim s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage of higher activity wastes (including waste c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing, packaging<br />

<strong>and</strong> transport, <strong>and</strong> the management of materials that may be declared <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

wastes)<br />

• the implementati<strong>on</strong> of geological disposal of higher activity wastes<br />

• research <strong>and</strong> development for interim s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> geological disposal (this<br />

report).<br />

The reports cover the three str<strong>and</strong>s of the UK <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g>’s Managing Radioactive<br />

Waste Safely programme. They c<strong>on</strong>tain the results of CoRWM’s scrutiny, during 2008<br />

<strong>and</strong> much of <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>, of the work of the <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g>, the Nuclear Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing<br />

Authority, other nuclear industry organisati<strong>on</strong>s, the regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs, local authorities <strong>and</strong><br />

various organisati<strong>on</strong>s that carry out research. The recommendati<strong>on</strong>s in the reports are <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> but also affect others.<br />

Robert Pickard<br />

30 Oc<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ber <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

CoRWM Document 2543, Oc<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ber <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g> Page 6 of 151


1. CoRWM’s remit is <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> provide independent scrutiny <strong>and</strong> advice <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> <strong>on</strong><br />

the l<strong>on</strong>g-term management, including s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> disposal, of higher activity<br />

radioactive wastes <strong>and</strong> materials that may be declared <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be wastes. This is the<br />

last of three reports produced in <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g> that describe the results of the<br />

Committee’s scrutiny <strong>and</strong> provide advice <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g>.<br />

Scope of <str<strong>on</strong>g>Report</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

2. This report is about CoRWM’s work during 2008 <strong>and</strong> much of <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g> <strong>on</strong>:<br />

• the UK’s process for providing research <strong>and</strong> development (R&D) in the<br />

management of higher activity wastes<br />

• the skills requirements <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support R&D in the Managing Radioactive Waste<br />

Safely (MRWS) programme, in particular those R&D skills <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> enable<br />

implementati<strong>on</strong> of geological disposal<br />

• the infrastructure requirements, in particular those facilities supporting R&D<br />

<strong>on</strong> highly radioactive materials <strong>and</strong> R&D that will need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be carried out<br />

underground<br />

• public <strong>and</strong> stakeholder engagement <strong>on</strong> the above <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics.<br />

3. For each <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pic, the current positi<strong>on</strong> is summarised <strong>and</strong> advice is given for use in<br />

making plans for the R&D <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be carried out over several decades <strong>and</strong> bey<strong>on</strong>d.<br />

CoRWM intends <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> m<strong>on</strong>i<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r whether <strong>and</strong> how this advice has been acted <strong>on</strong> by<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> <strong>and</strong> others.<br />

How CoRWM Worked<br />

4. CoRWM worked by gathering informati<strong>on</strong> from the Nuclear Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing<br />

Authority (NDA), its Site Licence Companies (SLCs), other nuclear site licensees,<br />

the <strong>Research</strong> Councils, Learned Societies <strong>and</strong> other organisati<strong>on</strong>s in the UK<br />

involved in R&D of relevance <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the MRWS programme. It looked at the<br />

processes used <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> define R&D strategies in other countries. It held meetings with<br />

all the major organisati<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong> it helped <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> organise meetings <strong>on</strong> the current<br />

state of nati<strong>on</strong>al R&D in s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> geological disposal with the Radioactive<br />

Waste Immobilisati<strong>on</strong> Network. It also sought the views of stakeholders <strong>and</strong> the<br />

public via its website <strong>and</strong> at CoRWM stakeholder events in Oc<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ber 2008,<br />

February <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g> <strong>and</strong> September <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>. A draft of this report (without c<strong>on</strong>clusi<strong>on</strong>s<br />

<strong>and</strong> recommendati<strong>on</strong>s) was sent <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> key stakeholders for comment <strong>and</strong> a full draft<br />

placed <strong>on</strong> the CoRWM website for public comment. Resp<strong>on</strong>ses <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> all the<br />

requests for comments were taken in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> account in preparing the final versi<strong>on</strong> of<br />

the report.<br />

Overall C<strong>on</strong>clusi<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong> Recommendati<strong>on</strong>s<br />

5. This report sets out the informati<strong>on</strong> CoRWM gathered <strong>on</strong> each <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pic, references<br />

CoRWM <strong>and</strong> other documents for more details, <strong>and</strong> gives CoRWM’s c<strong>on</strong>clusi<strong>on</strong>s<br />

<strong>on</strong> each <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pic. The overall c<strong>on</strong>clusi<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong> recommendati<strong>on</strong>s are as follows.<br />

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Strategic Co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> of UK Radioactive Waste Management R&D<br />

6. CoRWM c<strong>on</strong>siders that there is a need for more strategic co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> of R&D<br />

for the management of higher activity wastes throughout the UK. This strategic<br />

co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> is required within NDA (including its SLCs), between NDA <strong>and</strong><br />

other parts of the nuclear industry (including the Ministry of Defence), am<strong>on</strong>gst<br />

the <strong>Research</strong> Councils, <strong>and</strong> between the nuclear industry, its regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs <strong>and</strong> the<br />

<strong>Research</strong> Councils.<br />

7. Within NDA, the need is for more strategic co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> of R&D carried out by its<br />

SLCs, its Radioactive Waste Management Direc<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rate (RWMD) <strong>and</strong> within its<br />

Direct <strong>Research</strong> Portfolio (DRP). It is particularly important <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> co-ordinate<br />

RWMD’s R&D for implementati<strong>on</strong> of geological disposal with SLC <strong>and</strong> DRP R&D<br />

for waste c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing, packaging <strong>and</strong> s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> for the management of spent<br />

fuels, plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium <strong>and</strong> uranium that may be declared <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be wastes. The lack of<br />

such co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> would lead <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a poor use of NDA’s resources (effort, time <strong>and</strong><br />

m<strong>on</strong>ey).<br />

8. Between NDA <strong>and</strong> the nuclear industry there is a need for strategic co-ordinati<strong>on</strong><br />

of R&D <strong>and</strong> agreement <strong>on</strong> nati<strong>on</strong>al priorities. As well as enabling better use <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

made of resources, this would ensure that key issues are tackled in a timely way.<br />

9. Of the five <strong>Research</strong> Councils that could potentially fund research relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

management of higher activity radioactive wastes, <strong>on</strong>ly two are doing so at<br />

present <strong>and</strong> <strong>on</strong>ly <strong>on</strong>e at a substantial level. <strong>Research</strong> Councils do not seem <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

have recognised the need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> come <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>gether <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> identify the fundamental research<br />

required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> underpin the MRWS programme. They should work <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>gether in an<br />

open <strong>and</strong> transparent way <strong>and</strong> involve prospective researchers in all the relevant<br />

fields, as well as the nuclear industry <strong>and</strong> its regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs. All these stakeholders<br />

should agree nati<strong>on</strong>al priorities for the research <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be funded by the Councils.<br />

This will maximise the benefits of the <strong>Research</strong> Councils’ resources <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

MRWS programme.<br />

10. CoRWM does not wish <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be prescriptive about the co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> mechanisms <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

be used in any of these cases. However, it has identified a number of attributes it<br />

thinks that the mechanisms should have in all cases. The mechanisms should:<br />

• cover the R&D needs of all the relevant UK organisati<strong>on</strong>s<br />

• be open <strong>and</strong> transparent<br />

• involve researchers, the nuclear industry, its regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs <strong>and</strong> other<br />

stakeholders<br />

• agree nati<strong>on</strong>al priorities for R&D<br />

• encourage innovati<strong>on</strong><br />

• foster collaborati<strong>on</strong> with other countries<br />

• ensure R&D is carried out in a timely manner<br />

• involve independent nati<strong>on</strong>al <strong>and</strong> internati<strong>on</strong>al review<br />

• ensure R&D results are disseminated <strong>and</strong> acted up<strong>on</strong>.<br />

11. In CoRWM’s view no single existing body, as presently c<strong>on</strong>stituted, is capable of<br />

overseeing the necessary strategic co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> mechanisms. Either several<br />

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odies would need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> work <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>gether or an existing body would need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

augmented in order <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> fulfil the oversight role.<br />

12. It is essential that future UK R&D programmes for the management of higher<br />

activity wastes c<strong>on</strong>tain sufficient fundamental research, as well as applied<br />

research <strong>and</strong> development. In deciding which R&D <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> fund <strong>and</strong> when, account<br />

should be taken of the needs of the overall programme for the management of<br />

higher activity wastes, the needs for safety case development <strong>and</strong> the lead times<br />

<strong>and</strong> durati<strong>on</strong>s of R&D projects.<br />

Recommendati<strong>on</strong> 1<br />

CoRWM recommends <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> that it ensures that there is strategic coordinati<strong>on</strong><br />

of UK R&D for the management of higher activity wastes. Such coordinati<strong>on</strong><br />

is required within the NDA, between the NDA <strong>and</strong> the rest of the nuclear<br />

industry, am<strong>on</strong>gst the <strong>Research</strong> Councils <strong>and</strong> between the whole of the nuclear<br />

industry, its regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs <strong>and</strong> the <strong>Research</strong> Councils.<br />

Regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry <strong>Research</strong><br />

13. The Health <strong>and</strong> Safety Executive (HSE) has a resp<strong>on</strong>sibility <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensure that<br />

appropriate nuclear safety research programmes are carried out, including<br />

nuclear safety research related <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the management of higher activity waste. It has<br />

a well-established mechanism for fulfilling this resp<strong>on</strong>sibility. HSE commissi<strong>on</strong>s<br />

its own research <strong>and</strong> sets out the research <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics that nuclear site licensees<br />

should address.<br />

14. The Envir<strong>on</strong>ment Agency (EA) <strong>and</strong> the Scottish Envir<strong>on</strong>ment Protecti<strong>on</strong> Agency<br />

(SEPA) have relatively modest research programmes <strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics of regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry<br />

interest in the areas of radioactive waste management <strong>and</strong> related health <strong>and</strong><br />

envir<strong>on</strong>mental protecti<strong>on</strong> issues. CoRWM believes that EA will need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

commissi<strong>on</strong> more independent research as the MRWS programme proceeds in<br />

order <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> carry out its role as a regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r of geological disposal of higher activity<br />

wastes. CoRWM also expects that SEPA will need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> commissi<strong>on</strong> research <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

assist it in the regulati<strong>on</strong> of the management of higher activity wastes in Scotl<strong>and</strong>.<br />

Recommendati<strong>on</strong> 2<br />

CoRWM recommends <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> that it ensures that the Envir<strong>on</strong>ment Agency<br />

<strong>and</strong> the Scottish Envir<strong>on</strong>ment Protecti<strong>on</strong> Agency obtain the resources that they need<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> access <strong>and</strong> commissi<strong>on</strong> the additi<strong>on</strong>al independent research required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support<br />

them fully in their regulati<strong>on</strong> of the management of higher activity wastes.<br />

R&D Skills <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> Support the MRWS Programme<br />

15. The importance of maintaining nuclear skills in the UK was recognised some<br />

years ago <strong>and</strong> steps have been taken <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> reverse the decline that was occurring.<br />

In recent years there has been a significant improvement but there is some way<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> go, particularly for R&D skills.<br />

16. CoRWM has found that resp<strong>on</strong>sibility for the provisi<strong>on</strong> of R&D skills is split<br />

between many organisati<strong>on</strong>s. Although each organisati<strong>on</strong> is playing its part, there<br />

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seems <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be a lack of nati<strong>on</strong>al leadership <strong>and</strong> strategic directi<strong>on</strong>. CoRWM thinks<br />

that this would be best rectified by assigning a single organisati<strong>on</strong> the<br />

resp<strong>on</strong>sibility for providing this leadership <strong>and</strong> directi<strong>on</strong>. This organisati<strong>on</strong> should<br />

be capable of taking a clear overview of the R&D skills needs of the whole of the<br />

nuclear industry, existing <strong>and</strong> new, civil <strong>and</strong> defence. CoRWM believes that the<br />

Cogent Sec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r Skills Council, with additi<strong>on</strong>al expertise, could fulfil this role.<br />

Recommendati<strong>on</strong> 3<br />

CoRWM recommends <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> that it assigns <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a single organisati<strong>on</strong> the<br />

resp<strong>on</strong>sibility for providing nati<strong>on</strong>al leadership <strong>and</strong> strategic directi<strong>on</strong> for provisi<strong>on</strong> of<br />

R&D skills relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the l<strong>on</strong>g-term management of radioactive wastes.<br />

Infrastructure Required for R&D – Facilities for <strong>Research</strong> with Highly Radioactive<br />

Materials<br />

17. CoRWM c<strong>on</strong>siders that the UK’s existing civil facilities for research with highly<br />

radioactive materials are inadequate <strong>and</strong> in need of improvement. In additi<strong>on</strong>,<br />

new facilities need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be established in order <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support the full spectrum of<br />

research relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the management of higher activity wastes, including<br />

geological disposal.<br />

18. Almost all of the existing facilities for research with highly radioactive materials<br />

are operated by the Nati<strong>on</strong>al Nuclear Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry (NNL). There are plans <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> widen<br />

access but at present the <strong>on</strong>ly R&D that can be performed in these facilities is<br />

that funded by NNL cus<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>mers, primarily the NDA <strong>and</strong> other nuclear industry<br />

organisati<strong>on</strong>s. It is essential that funders <strong>and</strong> providers of fundamental research<br />

can access the facilities they need in order <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> c<strong>on</strong>tribute <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> R&D for the<br />

management of higher activity wastes, both now <strong>and</strong> in the future.<br />

Recommendati<strong>on</strong> 4<br />

CoRWM recommends <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> that it ensures that facilities for research with<br />

highly radioactive materials are improved <strong>and</strong> their capability enhanced so that they<br />

can be used for the full spectrum of research relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the l<strong>on</strong>g-term management<br />

of higher activity wastes. These facilities should be accessible <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> all researchers who<br />

need them.<br />

Infrastructure Required for R&D – Underground <strong>Research</strong> Facility<br />

19. Underground investigati<strong>on</strong>s will be needed at the site of any proposed geological<br />

disposal facility (GDF) in the UK. These investigati<strong>on</strong>s need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> include both<br />

underground site characterisati<strong>on</strong> work <strong>and</strong> underground R&D if they are <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

provide sufficient input <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> GDF design <strong>and</strong> safety case development. CoRWM is<br />

of the view that this R&D should be carried out in an underground research<br />

facility (URF) at any site where it is proposed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> c<strong>on</strong>struct a GDF.<br />

20. An R&D programme should be carried out in the URF prior <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the decisi<strong>on</strong> as <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

whether or not <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> proceed with GDF c<strong>on</strong>structi<strong>on</strong>. This programme should be<br />

discussed with a range of stakeholders, including the community local <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the site<br />

<strong>and</strong> independent scientists, <strong>and</strong> agreed with regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs. The geological disposal<br />

programme should allow time <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> carry out the required underground R&D <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

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disseminate <strong>and</strong> assimilate its results. It should be recognised that this<br />

underground R&D may take decades. The URF should c<strong>on</strong>tinue <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be used for<br />

as l<strong>on</strong>g as is necessary while the GDF is open.<br />

21. Until a URF is available in the UK, generic R&D should be carried out in<br />

underground facilities in other countries. This would allow UK researchers <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> gain<br />

the necessary experience, as well as providing informati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> techniques <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

used in the UK geological disposal programme.<br />

Recommendati<strong>on</strong> 5<br />

CoRWM recommends <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> that an underground research facility be<br />

c<strong>on</strong>structed at any site where it is proposed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> c<strong>on</strong>struct a geological disposal facility.<br />

Public <strong>and</strong> Stakeholder Engagement for R&D<br />

22. At present, as in the past, stakeholders who are outside the organisati<strong>on</strong>s that<br />

fund <strong>and</strong> carry out R&D have little opportunity <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> influence UK R&D programmes<br />

<strong>on</strong> radioactive waste management. There is a general lack of transparency in<br />

establishing R&D requirements <strong>and</strong> commercial reas<strong>on</strong>s are often cited as a<br />

reas<strong>on</strong> for not publishing results.<br />

23. CoRWM believes that this situati<strong>on</strong> must change. As implied in Recommendati<strong>on</strong><br />

1, a wider range of stakeholders should be involved in establishing R&D<br />

requirements. It is also necessary <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> make accessible informati<strong>on</strong> available <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

public about R&D needs, progress <strong>and</strong> plans.<br />

Recommendati<strong>on</strong> 6<br />

CoRWM recommends <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> that mechanisms are put in place <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensure<br />

that a wider range of stakeholders than <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> date will be involved in establishing R&D<br />

requirements for the l<strong>on</strong>g-term management of higher activity wastes <strong>and</strong> that<br />

accessible informati<strong>on</strong> will be made available <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the public about R&D needs, plans<br />

<strong>and</strong> progress.<br />

Specific R&D Issues<br />

24. In additi<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> arrangements for providing R&D <strong>and</strong> the skills <strong>and</strong> infrastructure<br />

needed for it, CoRWM also c<strong>on</strong>sidered some of the <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics <strong>on</strong> which further R&D<br />

is likely <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be required for the l<strong>on</strong>g-term management of the UK’s higher activity<br />

wastes. In doing so, it recognised that future R&D programmes will need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> build<br />

<strong>on</strong> the substantial body of knowledge that already exists as a result of past R&D<br />

in the UK <strong>and</strong> other countries. This current knowledge base is sufficient <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

c<strong>on</strong>fident that geological disposal is the right way forward. In future R&D it will be<br />

necessary <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> focus <strong>on</strong> knowledge gaps <strong>and</strong> uncertainties that are important for<br />

UK wastes <strong>and</strong>, in the case of geological disposal, for the types of rocks in which<br />

a GDF may be located. The results of CoRWM’s c<strong>on</strong>siderati<strong>on</strong> of specific <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics<br />

are in Secti<strong>on</strong> 6 <strong>and</strong> Appendix A of this report. CoRWM did not attempt <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

identify, c<strong>on</strong>sider or prioritise every <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pic <strong>on</strong> which R&D may be needed. The<br />

material in Secti<strong>on</strong> 6 <strong>and</strong> this appendix is <strong>on</strong>ly intended <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> illustrate the range of<br />

R&D that could be required over the next few decades.<br />

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Scope of the <str<strong>on</strong>g>Report</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

1.1 This report describes CoRWM’s scrutiny of current provisi<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> future research<br />

<strong>and</strong> development (R&D) needs for interim s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> geological disposal of<br />

higher activity radioactive wastes, <strong>and</strong> management of nuclear materials that may<br />

be declared <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be wastes. It covers a number of tasks in CoRWM’s work<br />

programme for 2008-09 (CoRWM doc. 2266) <strong>and</strong> much of <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>-10 (CoRWM<br />

doc. 2515.2). These tasks can be grouped in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the following areas.<br />

Development of a UK R&D programme<br />

• Advising <strong>on</strong> mechanisms for developing a UK R&D programme <strong>on</strong><br />

interim s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> geological disposal.<br />

• Scrutinising mechanisms for oversight, review <strong>and</strong> peer review of R&D.<br />

• C<strong>on</strong>tributing directly <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the identificati<strong>on</strong> of key technical areas that<br />

have fundamental research requirements.<br />

Provisi<strong>on</strong> of the skills <strong>and</strong> infrastructure required for R&D<br />

• Scrutinising current proposals for acquiring <strong>and</strong> maintaining the skills<br />

needed for R&D <strong>on</strong> s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> geological disposal, over decades.<br />

• Evaluating existing capabilities for R&D, including facilities for work <strong>on</strong><br />

radioactive materials <strong>and</strong> capability for investigati<strong>on</strong> of potential sites<br />

for a disposal facility.<br />

1.2 In June 2008, as part of the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS)<br />

programme, the <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> published a White Paper <strong>on</strong> the framework for<br />

implementing geological disposal <strong>and</strong> an invitati<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> communities <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> participate<br />

in discussi<strong>on</strong>s <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> host a geological disposal facility (GDF) (Defra et al., 2008). The<br />

White Paper highlights the need for more R&D <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support both s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong><br />

implementati<strong>on</strong> of geological disposal <strong>and</strong> describes the role of the Nuclear<br />

Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing Authority (NDA) in carrying out R&D:<br />

“The NDA has statu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry resp<strong>on</strong>sibility under the Energy Act 2004 for carrying<br />

out research <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support the activities for which it is resp<strong>on</strong>sible. The UK<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> believes, in the light of CoRWM’s work <strong>and</strong> wider internati<strong>on</strong>al<br />

experience, that there is already sufficient research work available <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

c<strong>on</strong>fident that geological disposal is technically achievable. In line with<br />

CoRWM’s recommendati<strong>on</strong> 4 (CoRWM doc. 700) <strong>and</strong> resp<strong>on</strong>ses <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

MRWS c<strong>on</strong>sultati<strong>on</strong>, the NDA will undertake further research during the<br />

geological disposal facility development process in order <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> refine c<strong>on</strong>cepts,<br />

improve underst<strong>and</strong>ing of chemical <strong>and</strong> physical interacti<strong>on</strong>s in a disposal<br />

facility, address specific issues raised by regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs, support development of<br />

site-specific safety cases <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> optimise facility design <strong>and</strong> delivery.<br />

Whilst <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> policy is <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> pursue the geological disposal of higher<br />

activity radioactive waste, <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> recognises the need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> take account<br />

of developments in s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> disposal opti<strong>on</strong>s, as well as possible new<br />

technologies <strong>and</strong> soluti<strong>on</strong>s. Future R&D may identify new opti<strong>on</strong>s for dealing<br />

with some wastes, which under applicati<strong>on</strong> of the waste hierarchy could<br />

reduce the amounts of waste requiring disposal….”.<br />

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1.3 CoRWM’s Work Programme for 2008-09 (CoRWM doc. 2266) <strong>and</strong> the R&D<br />

Working Group’s work plan (CoRWM doc. 2323), stated that CoRWM would be<br />

seeking <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> reassure itself that the R&D carried out would be:<br />

• of appropriate scope <strong>and</strong> breadth <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> underpin the MRWS programme<br />

• at the forefr<strong>on</strong>t of innovati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> internati<strong>on</strong>al developments in the field<br />

• performed by the most appropriate people <strong>and</strong> instituti<strong>on</strong>s<br />

• cost-effective<br />

• aligned with the needs of the MRWS programme<br />

• able <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> access the specialised infrastructure needed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> work safely with<br />

radioactive materials<br />

• of quality at least comparable <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> that in countries with similar waste<br />

inven<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ries <strong>and</strong> dem<strong>on</strong>strated through a well-defined independent peer<br />

review process<br />

• integrated in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> skills development activities as an essential comp<strong>on</strong>ent in<br />

developing high level skills<br />

• funded openly <strong>and</strong> transparently, <strong>and</strong> performance m<strong>on</strong>i<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red objectively<br />

• appropriately resourced<br />

• an appropriate mix of applicati<strong>on</strong>s-focused applied <strong>and</strong> underpinning<br />

fundamental science programmes<br />

• c<strong>on</strong>ducted in a manner that ensures effective co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> between different<br />

funding bodies (e.g. NDA, nuclear site licensees, <strong>Research</strong> Councils) <strong>and</strong><br />

activities (waste c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing, packaging, s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage, disposal).<br />

1.4 CoRWM’s 2006 report also stated (CoRWM doc. 700):<br />

"If the public is <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> have c<strong>on</strong>fidence in the proposals for the l<strong>on</strong>g-term<br />

management of radioactive waste, it is essential that the areas of uncertainty<br />

<strong>and</strong> the plans for addressing them are clearly identified from the outset.<br />

Wherever possible, uncertainties should be reduced through further<br />

research. Where this is not possible, the implicati<strong>on</strong>s for the success of the<br />

programme should be explained al<strong>on</strong>g with proposals for managing the<br />

programme in the face of these uncertainties.".<br />

1.5 It was evident at the outset that, <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> achieve all these requirements, the UK needs<br />

co-ordinated R&D that facilitates strategic planning, is open <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> independent<br />

scrutiny, <strong>and</strong> encourages engagement of talented researchers from a diverse<br />

range of fields across fundamental research <strong>and</strong> applied R&D. The report<br />

focuses <strong>on</strong> these aspects. It covers the UK’s current programme <strong>and</strong> future R&D<br />

needs across all research providers <strong>and</strong> funding bodies; it is not restricted <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

NDA.<br />

1.6 CoRWM emphasises that this report is not intended <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be exhaustive in the sense<br />

of identifying each <strong>and</strong> every <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pic <strong>on</strong> which R&D may be required or describing<br />

every R&D project that is in progress or planned. Its focus is the mechanisms <strong>and</strong><br />

arrangements for specifying R&D needs, carrying out R&D <strong>and</strong> ensuring the<br />

results are utilised fully in managing higher activity wastes <strong>and</strong> nuclear materials<br />

that may be declared <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be wastes. Where R&D <strong>on</strong> specific <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics is discussed<br />

this is solely for illustrati<strong>on</strong> of the breadth <strong>and</strong> depth of the work required in future;<br />

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the omissi<strong>on</strong> of any <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pic does not imply that CoRWM is unaware of it or that it is<br />

unimportant.<br />

1.7 Technical <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics that are outside the scope of this report include wastes from new<br />

build reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs, which CoRWM is addressing in its <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>-10 work programme, <strong>and</strong><br />

transport of higher activity wastes, which CoRWM plans <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> address in future. A<br />

further omissi<strong>on</strong> is the effects of radiati<strong>on</strong> <strong>on</strong> the health of human beings <strong>and</strong><br />

other living organisms. The report does not deal in any detail with research in the<br />

social sciences that is relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> radioactive waste management. This was<br />

because there was insufficient time <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> do so. CoRWM intends <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> return <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> this<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pic in future.<br />

1.8 Issues associated with the provisi<strong>on</strong> of interim s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> implementati<strong>on</strong> of<br />

geological disposal are addressed in two other CoRWM reports published in<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g> (CoRWM docs. 2500, 2550). A positi<strong>on</strong> paper (CoRWM doc. 2389) <strong>on</strong> R&D<br />

for c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing, packaging <strong>and</strong> s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage of higher activity wastes, <strong>and</strong> the<br />

management of nuclear materials, formed the core of secti<strong>on</strong>s <strong>on</strong> these <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics in<br />

this report.<br />

C<strong>on</strong>text<br />

1.9 In 2006, CoRWM (CoRWM doc. 700) recommended geological disposal as the<br />

l<strong>on</strong>g-term management opti<strong>on</strong>, the provisi<strong>on</strong> of safe <strong>and</strong> secure interim s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage,<br />

an intensified programme of R&D <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support both disposal <strong>and</strong> s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> a site<br />

selecti<strong>on</strong> process that is based <strong>on</strong> the willingness of communities <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> participate.<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> accepted the bulk of CoRWM’s recommendati<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong> gave the<br />

resp<strong>on</strong>sibility for implementing geological disposal <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the NDA (UK <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

et al., 2006). The positi<strong>on</strong>s of the Devolved Administrati<strong>on</strong>s are given below.<br />

• In June 2007, the Scottish <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> rejected geological disposal, opting<br />

instead for l<strong>on</strong>g-term, near-site, near-surface s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage. At the time of<br />

publicati<strong>on</strong> of this report the Scottish <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> is developing a policy<br />

framework <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> take this forward.<br />

• The Welsh Assembly <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> reserves its positi<strong>on</strong> <strong>on</strong> geological<br />

disposal; it attaches particular importance <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensuring safe <strong>and</strong> secure<br />

interim s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> carrying out R&D <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support the optimised<br />

management of higher activity wastes.<br />

• The Department of the Envir<strong>on</strong>ment in Northern Irel<strong>and</strong> supports the MRWS<br />

programme.<br />

1.10 Many organisati<strong>on</strong>s have an interest in, or obligati<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>, carry out R&D relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

the management of higher activity wastes. Specifically, under the Energy Act<br />

2004, NDA must ensure that R&D relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> its remit for decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong><br />

clean up is carried out. When the NDA was additi<strong>on</strong>ally given resp<strong>on</strong>sibility for<br />

implementing geological disposal, this included commissi<strong>on</strong>ing appropriate R&D.<br />

NDA was also required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> engage with, <strong>and</strong> learn from, relevant overseas R&D<br />

programmes (UK <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> et al., 2006). R&D <strong>on</strong> waste c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing,<br />

packaging <strong>and</strong> interim s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage is largely the resp<strong>on</strong>sibility of nuclear site<br />

licensees; NDA has a strategic role for its sites.<br />

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1.11 The R&D requirements for the l<strong>on</strong>g-term management of higher activity wastes<br />

are complex <strong>and</strong> cover the full spectrum from fundamental underpinning scientific<br />

research <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> highly focused applied research. An example of the former is<br />

determining the local a<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>mic co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> around uranium in particular crystals,<br />

an example of the latter is defining the size, shape <strong>and</strong> manufacturing route of<br />

waste c<strong>on</strong>tainers. NDA’s R&D programme is extensive, ranging from techniques<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> separate <strong>and</strong> sort c<strong>on</strong>taminated materials during decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

computer model development <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> simulate the migrati<strong>on</strong> of gases through the<br />

rocks surrounding a GDF. It necessarily c<strong>on</strong>sists of R&D targeted <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> fulfil specific<br />

needs in support of NDA’s missi<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> objectives. More fundamental research in<br />

the UK is generally performed by universities <strong>and</strong> nati<strong>on</strong>al research centres <strong>and</strong><br />

is funded mainly through the UK <strong>Research</strong> Councils.<br />

1.12 This report provides a summary of the current R&D situati<strong>on</strong>. There will<br />

undoubtedly be changes in future.<br />

Approach <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the Work<br />

1.13 The work described in this report has focused <strong>on</strong> the provisi<strong>on</strong> of technical R&D<br />

for support of interim s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> geological disposal of existing <strong>and</strong> committed<br />

UK higher activity wastes. In particular, at this early stage in the MRWS<br />

programme, it is critical that the R&D programme includes:<br />

• a system for identifying, prioritising <strong>and</strong> meeting key R&D needs for interim<br />

s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage of radioactive wastes<br />

• a robust process of R&D strategy development <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> identify <strong>and</strong> prioritise R&D<br />

requirements for geological disposal<br />

• a robust <strong>and</strong> independent peer review process for all R&D<br />

• a l<strong>on</strong>g-term programme of skills <strong>and</strong> infrastructure development that will<br />

meet the requirements for l<strong>on</strong>g-term waste management including eventual<br />

implementati<strong>on</strong> of geological disposal.<br />

1.14 Much of the informati<strong>on</strong> required by CoRWM <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> assess the current extent of R&D<br />

programmes, the provisi<strong>on</strong> of existing infrastructure <strong>and</strong> the existing skills<br />

development programme was not readily available in any documented form.<br />

C<strong>on</strong>sequently, a substantial amount of investigati<strong>on</strong>, c<strong>on</strong>ducted by individual<br />

members of CoRWM, has proved necessary. This has taken a number of forms,<br />

as described in our positi<strong>on</strong> paper <strong>on</strong> s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage R&D (CoRWM doc. 2389),<br />

including meetings with relevant stakeholders <strong>and</strong> the interrogati<strong>on</strong> of <strong>on</strong>-line<br />

databases.<br />

1.15 Drafts of this report <strong>and</strong> of the positi<strong>on</strong> paper <strong>on</strong> s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage R&D were issued <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

stakeholders for comment, placed <strong>on</strong> CoRWM’s website for public comment <strong>and</strong><br />

discussed at stakeholder workshops (CoRWM docs. 2563, 2581, 2630, 2677). All<br />

the comments received have been c<strong>on</strong>sidered in finalising this report.<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>Report</str<strong>on</strong>g> Layout<br />

1.16 The following secti<strong>on</strong>s address each of the <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics listed below in turn:<br />

• establishing R&D requirements (Secti<strong>on</strong> 2)<br />

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• the UK R&D programme relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the management of higher activity<br />

wastes (Secti<strong>on</strong> 3)<br />

• R&D skills (Secti<strong>on</strong> 4)<br />

• infrastructure required for R&D (Secti<strong>on</strong> 5)<br />

• some specific R&D issues (Secti<strong>on</strong> 6 <strong>and</strong> Appendix A).<br />

1.17 The overall c<strong>on</strong>clusi<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong> CoRWM’s recommendati<strong>on</strong>s are in Secti<strong>on</strong> 7.<br />

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What is meant by R&D?<br />

2.1 R&D activities for the management of higher activity radioactive waste are<br />

diverse. They range from experiments in a small labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry or development of<br />

mathematical <strong>and</strong> computati<strong>on</strong>al methods <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> design <strong>and</strong> operati<strong>on</strong> of multi-milli<strong>on</strong><br />

pound pilot plants or the c<strong>on</strong>structi<strong>on</strong> of underground research labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ries<br />

(URLs). Defining exactly what is meant by research <strong>and</strong> development in diverse<br />

fields is difficult. CoRWM has had extensive discussi<strong>on</strong>s with NDA <strong>and</strong> others<br />

over these terms <strong>and</strong> has not been able <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> reach agreement <strong>on</strong> definiti<strong>on</strong>s.<br />

2.2 CoRWM has devised its own definiti<strong>on</strong>s for use in the c<strong>on</strong>text of radioactive<br />

waste management <strong>and</strong> these are stated in the Glossary (Appendix C). Key<br />

definiti<strong>on</strong>s are as follows.<br />

• Applied <strong>Research</strong>: investigati<strong>on</strong> directed primarily <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>wards a specific practical<br />

aim or objective, which can involve using existing knowledge <strong>and</strong><br />

underst<strong>and</strong>ing or acquiring new knowledge.<br />

• Fundamental <strong>Research</strong>: original, explora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry investigati<strong>on</strong> involving<br />

experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> acquire new<br />

knowledge <strong>and</strong> underst<strong>and</strong>ing of phenomena <strong>and</strong> observable facts without<br />

necessarily having any immediate applicati<strong>on</strong> or use in view.<br />

• Development: progressive, systematic use of knowledge <strong>and</strong> underst<strong>and</strong>ing<br />

gained from research directed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>wards the producti<strong>on</strong> or improvement of<br />

materials, devices, systems or methods.<br />

2.3 CoRWM believes str<strong>on</strong>gly that a full range of fundamental <strong>and</strong> applied research<br />

is required for the management of higher activity wastes. The requirement for<br />

applied research is the more obvious <strong>and</strong> it is <strong>on</strong> this that current R&D<br />

programmes in the UK tend <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> focus. Fundamental research is essential for l<strong>on</strong>gterm<br />

radioactive waste management, where an ability <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> dem<strong>on</strong>strate good<br />

underst<strong>and</strong>ing of underlying mechanisms <strong>and</strong> processes is required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> provide<br />

sound inputs <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> decisi<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong> make a robust defence of a proposed course of<br />

acti<strong>on</strong>.<br />

2.4 In particular, CoRWM believes that fundamental research is important for<br />

geological disposal, where the safety case must dem<strong>on</strong>strate <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the satisfacti<strong>on</strong><br />

of regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs, the host community, other stakeholders <strong>and</strong> the public that it is very<br />

unlikely that significant quantities of radi<strong>on</strong>uclides will be released from a GDF<br />

<strong>and</strong> travel <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the surface over periods of tens of thous<strong>and</strong>s of years or more.<br />

Uncertainties over such l<strong>on</strong>g times can <strong>on</strong>ly be addressed if there is a sound<br />

underst<strong>and</strong>ing of the processes that underlie potential release <strong>and</strong> transport of<br />

radi<strong>on</strong>uclides. Fundamental research may also reveal unknown issues or<br />

phenomena that have not yet been c<strong>on</strong>sidered but which may be of crucial<br />

importance.<br />

2.5 It is clear <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> CoRWM that the UK needs an R&D programme <strong>on</strong> the management<br />

of higher activity waste that c<strong>on</strong>tains fundamental research, applied research <strong>and</strong><br />

development, with an appropriate amount of effort <strong>on</strong> each.<br />

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2.6 Other terms that are often used <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> describe different types of research are<br />

“needs-driven” <strong>and</strong> “curiosity-driven”. CoRWM has not found these terms <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

useful. “Needs-driven” is <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>o general a term in the c<strong>on</strong>text of management of<br />

higher activity wastes. It covers both applied <strong>and</strong> fundamental research but says<br />

nothing about the balance between them. “Curiosity-driven” is an ambiguous<br />

term. In <strong>on</strong>e sense it can be used instead of “fundamental”. However, it is often<br />

used <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> refer <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> research that appears <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> have no relevance at the time <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> any<br />

practical applicati<strong>on</strong> (also called “blue skies” research).<br />

Scope of R&D Required<br />

2.7 Radioactive waste management is usually taken <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> cover a wide range of <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics<br />

in additi<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing, packaging, s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> disposal, which are addressed<br />

in paragraph 2.14 et seq.. Management activities include:<br />

• minimising arisings of all radioactive wastes (solids, liquids <strong>and</strong> gases), e.g.<br />

through appropriate designs of nuclear facilities <strong>and</strong> appropriate operating<br />

<strong>and</strong> decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing procedures<br />

• waste characterisati<strong>on</strong>, i.e. determining the radi<strong>on</strong>uclide c<strong>on</strong>tent of waste, its<br />

n<strong>on</strong>-radioactive c<strong>on</strong>tent, <strong>and</strong> the physical <strong>and</strong> chemical forms in which<br />

radi<strong>on</strong>uclides <strong>and</strong> other potentially harmful c<strong>on</strong>stituents are present<br />

• minimising arisings of each type of solid radioactive waste (low, intermediate<br />

<strong>and</strong> high level), e.g. through sorting, segregati<strong>on</strong>, dec<strong>on</strong>taminati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

allowing radioactive decay<br />

• treatment of liquid <strong>and</strong> gaseous effluents prior <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> discharge <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

envir<strong>on</strong>ment<br />

• retrieval of wastes from legacy facilities<br />

• transport of wastes, e.g. between s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>res <strong>and</strong> disposal facilities<br />

• near-surface disposal<br />

• geological disposal.<br />

2.8 Wastes will follow a sequence of c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing, packaging, s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage, transport <strong>and</strong><br />

disposal. R&D can be used <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> provide c<strong>on</strong>fidence that the waste packages will be<br />

s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rable, transportable <strong>and</strong> disposable. This sequence, from the initial processing<br />

of raw waste <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> final sealing in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a closed disposal facility, is likely <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> take many<br />

decades, so the durability of the packaged wastes is critical. The waste packages<br />

must retain sufficient integrity during interim s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> allow them <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

transported <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a GDF <strong>and</strong> emplaced. They then may have <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> remain intact during<br />

a period before the disposal facility is backfilled <strong>and</strong> sealed. Lastly, they may fulfil<br />

important safety functi<strong>on</strong>s in the l<strong>on</strong>g-term, post-closure safety of the disposal<br />

facility. R&D related <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> many of these <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics is covered in this report. In particular,<br />

CoRWM has investigated how research requirements related <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> these <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics are<br />

established <strong>and</strong> prioritised, how R&D is co-ordinated <strong>and</strong> how the R&D results<br />

are used in radioactive waste management programmes.<br />

2.9 R&D relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> radioactive waste management is also carried out in two other<br />

technical c<strong>on</strong>texts: nuclear safety, <strong>and</strong> health <strong>and</strong> envir<strong>on</strong>mental protecti<strong>on</strong>.<br />

Nuclear safety R&D is mainly about preventing accidents, minimising their<br />

c<strong>on</strong>sequences, <strong>and</strong> protecting workers <strong>and</strong> the public, during the c<strong>on</strong>structi<strong>on</strong>,<br />

commissi<strong>on</strong>ing, operati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing of nuclear facilities, including<br />

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adioactive waste management facilities. In the UK nuclear safety research is coordinated<br />

by the Health <strong>and</strong> Safety Executive (HSE); this is discussed further in<br />

Secti<strong>on</strong> 3. Health <strong>and</strong> envir<strong>on</strong>mental protecti<strong>on</strong> research related <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> radioactive<br />

waste management is about the movement of radi<strong>on</strong>uclides through the surface<br />

<strong>and</strong> near-surface envir<strong>on</strong>ments, <strong>and</strong> the effects of radiati<strong>on</strong> <strong>on</strong> people <strong>and</strong> other<br />

living systems. This research was briefly discussed in CoRWM’s positi<strong>on</strong> paper<br />

<strong>on</strong> s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage R&D (CoRWM doc. 2389). For both nuclear safety research <strong>and</strong><br />

health <strong>and</strong> envir<strong>on</strong>mental protecti<strong>on</strong> research, CoRWM’s c<strong>on</strong>cern is with links<br />

<strong>and</strong> overlaps with radioactive waste management research, <strong>and</strong> gaps that may<br />

need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be filled.<br />

2.10 It should also be menti<strong>on</strong>ed that OCNS (Office for Civil Nuclear Security), which<br />

regulates the security of civil licensed nuclear sites, nuclear materials <strong>and</strong><br />

sensitive nuclear informati<strong>on</strong>, is c<strong>on</strong>nected in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> nati<strong>on</strong>al groups c<strong>on</strong>sidering R&D<br />

<strong>on</strong> wider security issues, such as those led by the Home Office Scientific<br />

Development Branch (CoRWM doc. 2414).<br />

2.11 R&D in support of the management of higher activity wastes is both multidisciplinary<br />

<strong>and</strong> inter-disciplinary. The disciplines involved include chemistry,<br />

geology, materials science, biology <strong>and</strong> engineering. When establishing R&D<br />

requirements it is essential <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> take a holistic view within each discipline <strong>and</strong><br />

across the boundaries of disciplines.<br />

The C<strong>on</strong>text for R&D – UK Higher Activity Wastes<br />

2.12 The UK has a vast array of various types of radioactive waste, a legacy of its<br />

early lead in military <strong>and</strong> civil power generati<strong>on</strong> nuclear programmes. In this<br />

respect, it is similar <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the USA, Russia <strong>and</strong> France, but it is unlike countries such<br />

as Sweden, Finl<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> Switzerl<strong>and</strong>. Higher activity wastes currently being<br />

s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red (Defra & NDA, 2008a, b) include vitrified high level waste (HLW) in over<br />

4,300 1.34m high x 0.43m diameter steel canisters in a specialist s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re at<br />

Sellafield. There are also about 40,000 packages of c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ed intermediate<br />

level waste (ILW) in s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re, mostly at Sellafield. These include several thous<strong>and</strong><br />

500 litre drums of Magnox Encapsulati<strong>on</strong> Plant (MEP) wastes c<strong>on</strong>taining reactive<br />

metals such as Magnox (a magnesium-aluminium alloy used <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> clad uranium<br />

metal fuel in Magnox reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs) <strong>and</strong> some uranium. Other ILW includes i<strong>on</strong><br />

exchange resins, graphite, steels, plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium c<strong>on</strong>taminated materials (PCM) <strong>and</strong><br />

some soils. In additi<strong>on</strong>, there are some ill-characterised legacy wastes<br />

(predominantly at Sellafield), many as sludges for which immobilisati<strong>on</strong> routes<br />

are being developed. In due course some spent fuels, plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium <strong>and</strong> uranium<br />

may be declared <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be waste.<br />

2.13 The diversity, complexity <strong>and</strong>, in some cases, poor level of characterisati<strong>on</strong> of the<br />

UK’s higher activity wastes mean that fundamental <strong>and</strong> applied research, specific<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the complex UK inven<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry, is required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support waste c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing,<br />

packaging, s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> disposal programmes. R&D must be directed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> those<br />

UK-specific wastes for which other countries are unlikely <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop appropriate<br />

treatment processes. The effects of these unusually diverse waste streams <strong>on</strong><br />

R&D needs are discussed in more detail below <strong>and</strong> in Secti<strong>on</strong> 6 <strong>and</strong> Appendix A.<br />

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Waste C<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> Packaging R&D Requirements<br />

2.14 Less than 10% (in terms of volume) of the <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>tal predicted UK arisings of ILW have<br />

been c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> date (CoRWM doc. 2459; NDA, 2008a). The volume of<br />

c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ed ILW in s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re is about 21,000m 3 ; this is in about 40,000 packages.<br />

The volume of raw ILW in s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re is about 71,500m 3 (Defra & NDA, 2008a).<br />

C<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> packaging opti<strong>on</strong>s have been identified for many of the<br />

remaining wastes but R&D is needed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> choose between the opti<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

enable the chosen opti<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be implemented in the most appropriate way. There<br />

are also some wastes for which no appropriate c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing method has yet been<br />

developed <strong>and</strong> for which, research of a more fundamental nature is needed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

develop opti<strong>on</strong>s. Examples of the issues <strong>on</strong> which R&D is in progress are as<br />

follows.<br />

2.15 Most of the ILW that has been c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ed so far has been encapsulated in<br />

cement. This matrix could also be used for many other types of ILW but there are<br />

other c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing opti<strong>on</strong>s that may be better. For example, in the case of i<strong>on</strong><br />

exchange resins <strong>and</strong> so-called “wet wastes” (e.g. sludges), techniques that<br />

involve dewatering <strong>and</strong>/or high temperature processes may be able <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> produce<br />

more durable wasteforms with lower volumes, <strong>and</strong> hence lower s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong><br />

disposal costs. These techniques are being investigated by several waste<br />

producers, who are evaluating their technical advantages <strong>and</strong> disadvantages <strong>and</strong><br />

their development, capital <strong>and</strong> operating costs. There are also wastes such as<br />

reactive metals for which many formulati<strong>on</strong>s of cement are not ideal <strong>and</strong> for<br />

which alternative treatment <strong>and</strong> encapsulati<strong>on</strong> methods are being sought.<br />

2.16 To date, most waste c<strong>on</strong>tainers have been made of various types of stainless<br />

steel. There are questi<strong>on</strong>s as <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> whether more corrosi<strong>on</strong>-resistant steels should<br />

be used in future for some ILW c<strong>on</strong>tainers. There are also proposals <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> use<br />

thicker steel c<strong>on</strong>tainers, which would have a l<strong>on</strong>ger life simply through their size.<br />

The various possibilities are under investigati<strong>on</strong> at a number of nuclear sites. For<br />

vitrified HLW, a number of potential over-pack canister materials for disposal<br />

have been proposed <strong>and</strong> will be investigated by the NDA.<br />

2.17 A further area of research is in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the behaviour of some waste packages that are<br />

already in s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re. This is needed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> improve underst<strong>and</strong>ing of the evoluti<strong>on</strong> of the<br />

wasteforms <strong>and</strong> their c<strong>on</strong>tainers, <strong>and</strong> hence both <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> predict their likely<br />

performance <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> learn less<strong>on</strong>s for future c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> packaging.<br />

2.18 A related area is R&D <strong>on</strong> the remediati<strong>on</strong> of waste packages, either because they<br />

have deteriorated in some way during s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage, or because they were not<br />

manufactured <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the correct specificati<strong>on</strong>s. Remedial acti<strong>on</strong>s could range from a<br />

simple repair of a waste c<strong>on</strong>tainer (e.g. re-sealing a lid), <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> placing the c<strong>on</strong>tainer<br />

in a new <strong>on</strong>e (overpacking), <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> removing the waste, rec<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing it <strong>and</strong> placing it<br />

in a new c<strong>on</strong>tainer (sometimes called “reworking”).<br />

2.19 Much of the above R&D informs the drawing up <strong>and</strong> the review of waste package<br />

specificati<strong>on</strong>s. These are set by the NDA, which operates the “Letter of<br />

Compliance” system (CoRWM docs. 2459, 2688; NDA, 2008b). This system is<br />

designed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> make sure that wastes are c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ed <strong>and</strong> packaged in ways that<br />

enable them <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red <strong>and</strong> disposed of. It does not provide guarantees but<br />

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should mitigate the risks of finding in the future that packages are unsuitable in<br />

some way (CoRWM docs. 2389, 2500).<br />

Waste S<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage System R&D Requirements<br />

2.20 It is necessary <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensure the whole s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage system is stable for a l<strong>on</strong>g enough<br />

period (including any potential delays in the geological disposal programme) so<br />

that, when desired, the waste packages can be transported <strong>and</strong> emplaced in a<br />

GDF <strong>and</strong> remain stable until closure <strong>and</strong> bey<strong>on</strong>d. CoRWM defines the s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage<br />

system as encompassing the wasteform, its c<strong>on</strong>tainer, the building or other<br />

structure in which the packaged waste is housed, the envir<strong>on</strong>ment in the building,<br />

the means of c<strong>on</strong>trolling that envir<strong>on</strong>ment, other equipment in the building such<br />

as cranes <strong>and</strong> other h<strong>and</strong>ling equipment, <strong>and</strong> the m<strong>on</strong>i<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ring, inspecti<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

maintenance regime. The reas<strong>on</strong> for defining the s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage system in this holistic<br />

way is that all these fac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs interact <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> govern the safety, security <strong>and</strong> robustness<br />

of s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage (CoRWM doc. 2500).<br />

2.21 The most modern purpose-built s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>res are the new ILW s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>res at Trawsfynydd<br />

<strong>and</strong> Hunters<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>n A. These are large c<strong>on</strong>crete buildings that are designed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> hold<br />

ILW in steel drums or boxes. The s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>res are seismically qualified <strong>and</strong> designed<br />

for ease of maintenance over their entire lifetimes (100-150 years). The<br />

Trawsfynydd s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re uses passive envir<strong>on</strong>mental c<strong>on</strong>trol (natural ventilati<strong>on</strong> etc.)<br />

while the Hunters<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>n s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re is actively c<strong>on</strong>trolled. The s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>res also have good<br />

arrangements for the m<strong>on</strong>i<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ring <strong>and</strong> inspecti<strong>on</strong> of waste packages. R&D<br />

requirements for such s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>res include improving predicti<strong>on</strong>s of the lifetime of the<br />

c<strong>on</strong>crete structure.<br />

2.22 Some future ILW s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>res will be similar <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> those at Trawsfynydd <strong>and</strong> Hunters<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>n.<br />

However, various nuclear sites are c<strong>on</strong>sidering other types of s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage system in<br />

which wastes are placed in very robust c<strong>on</strong>tainers that are then housed in<br />

relatively simple buildings (Secti<strong>on</strong> 6 <strong>and</strong> Appendix A). Such systems are being<br />

developed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the point where a safety case could be made for them.<br />

2.23 Existing s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>res vary from the relatively modern <strong>and</strong> purpose-built <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> older<br />

facilities, some of which were <strong>on</strong>ly intended as temporary. There are a number of<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics <strong>on</strong> which applied research or development is required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> improve these<br />

facilities or predict or extend their lives. These <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics include atmospheric c<strong>on</strong>trol<br />

systems, m<strong>on</strong>i<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ring <strong>and</strong> inspecti<strong>on</strong> regimes, means of recladding buildings, <strong>and</strong><br />

means of replacing cranes, ventilati<strong>on</strong> systems <strong>and</strong> other equipment.<br />

Geological Disposal R&D Requirements<br />

2.24 R&D is required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support the siting, design, c<strong>on</strong>structi<strong>on</strong>, operati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> closure<br />

of geological disposal facilities <strong>and</strong> the preparati<strong>on</strong> of safety cases for all these<br />

stages <strong>and</strong> for the l<strong>on</strong>g post-closure period. The UK has carried out research <strong>on</strong><br />

geological disposal since the late 1970s. This initially focused <strong>on</strong> HLW <strong>and</strong> was<br />

largely funded by the <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> <strong>and</strong> by the European Commissi<strong>on</strong>. After Nirex<br />

was established in 1982, the focus moved <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ILW. <strong>Research</strong> <strong>on</strong> geological<br />

disposal of ILW was funded by Nirex <strong>and</strong> also by Her Majesty’s Inspec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rate of<br />

Polluti<strong>on</strong> (which became part of the Envir<strong>on</strong>ment Agency in 1996) (EA, 2003).<br />

Since the failure <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> acquire planning permissi<strong>on</strong> for a Rock Characterisati<strong>on</strong><br />

Facility (RCF) at Sellafield in 1997, relatively little geological research specific <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

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adioactive waste disposal has been c<strong>on</strong>ducted in the UK. It has c<strong>on</strong>tinued <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

participate in European Commissi<strong>on</strong> R&D programmes, but at a relatively low<br />

level of effort compared <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> other countries. It has also followed developments in<br />

countries outside the European Uni<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> participated in some work in such<br />

countries.<br />

2.25 There is a need now <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> have a UK R&D programme <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support geological<br />

disposal that has the appropriate amounts of fundamental research, applied<br />

research <strong>and</strong> development. This will involve making use of past UK R&D,<br />

carrying out new R&D <strong>and</strong> applying relevant overseas knowledge <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> UK wastes<br />

<strong>and</strong> geologies.<br />

2.26 Much of the new R&D will be site specific <strong>and</strong> can <strong>on</strong>ly begin <strong>on</strong>ce <strong>on</strong>e or more<br />

c<strong>and</strong>idate sites have been identified. There are, however, a number of areas<br />

where generic (i.e. not site specific) research would be useful. Examples of these<br />

areas are: temporal changes (both transient <strong>and</strong> permanent) <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the hydraulic,<br />

chemical <strong>and</strong> mechanical properties of a rock mass; sorpti<strong>on</strong> processes <strong>on</strong> likely<br />

surfaces; microbial interacti<strong>on</strong>s with wasteforms; <strong>and</strong> the transport <strong>and</strong> fate of<br />

waste-emitted gases in the geosphere (including from chemical <strong>and</strong> microbial<br />

reacti<strong>on</strong>s). Such research ‘gr<strong>and</strong> challenges’ have been highlighted in the US<br />

(USA) Department of Energy (USDOE) Workshops (USDOE, 2006, 2008a).<br />

2.27 Preparati<strong>on</strong> of a post-closure safety case for a GDF will require numerical models<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> describe a range of processes over the lifespan of the facility. Applied research<br />

will be needed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop state-of-the-art models, at a range of spatial <strong>and</strong><br />

temporal scales, leaving sufficient time within the geological disposal programme<br />

for these models <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be robustly tested. Fundamental research will be required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

underst<strong>and</strong>, for example, chemical <strong>and</strong> microbial interacti<strong>on</strong>s over l<strong>on</strong>g<br />

timescales between the backfill material, wasteform c<strong>on</strong>tainers, the surrounding<br />

geosphere <strong>and</strong> c<strong>on</strong>taminant plumes migrating from different wasteforms; <strong>and</strong><br />

coupled thermal-hydraulic-chemical-mechanical behaviour of any GDF <strong>and</strong><br />

surrounding geosphere over time. <strong>Research</strong> will also be required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop <strong>and</strong><br />

validate up-scaling methodologies over space <strong>and</strong> time, <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> relate detailed<br />

process-based model predicti<strong>on</strong>s <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> simplified probabilistic calculati<strong>on</strong>s within the<br />

framework of a post-closure safety case (EA & NIEA, <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>).<br />

2.28 Once c<strong>and</strong>idate sites have been identified, <strong>and</strong> the desk study <strong>and</strong> site<br />

investigati<strong>on</strong> stages begin, a range of fundamental <strong>and</strong> applied research will be<br />

required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support site characterisati<strong>on</strong>, engineering design <strong>and</strong> the<br />

development of site specific safety cases. Site characterisati<strong>on</strong> will relate both <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

design <strong>and</strong> c<strong>on</strong>structi<strong>on</strong> of the GDF (including depth, c<strong>on</strong>structi<strong>on</strong> techniques<br />

<strong>and</strong> waste emplacement geometry) <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> characterising the heterogeneous<br />

physical, chemical, hydraulic <strong>and</strong> mechanical properties of the surrounding<br />

geosphere. Much of this research will have <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be carried out underground<br />

(Secti<strong>on</strong> 5).<br />

Knowledge Management<br />

2.29 Knowledge management is an important aspect of establishing R&D<br />

requirements. Effective knowledge management entails making full use of<br />

existing informati<strong>on</strong> so that R&D can be planned <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> advance knowledge <strong>and</strong><br />

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there is no unwarranted repetiti<strong>on</strong> of previous work. It also includes ensuring that<br />

the results of R&D feed through in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the design, c<strong>on</strong>structi<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> operati<strong>on</strong> of<br />

radioactive waste management facilities, <strong>and</strong> in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the development of safety<br />

cases for facilities <strong>and</strong> operati<strong>on</strong>s.<br />

2.30 UK knowledge management needs <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> encompass relevant radioactive waste<br />

management work worldwide. The activities <strong>and</strong> publicati<strong>on</strong>s of internati<strong>on</strong>al<br />

organisati<strong>on</strong>s have a useful role <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> play. The United Nati<strong>on</strong>s Internati<strong>on</strong>al A<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>mic<br />

Energy Agency (IAEA) <strong>and</strong> the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the<br />

Organisati<strong>on</strong> for Ec<strong>on</strong>omic Co-operati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> Development (OECD) organise<br />

meetings <strong>and</strong> compile informati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> experience. The European Commissi<strong>on</strong><br />

funds projects that provide overviews of past R&D <strong>on</strong> particular <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics. Some<br />

countries seem <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be much more advanced than the UK in developing <strong>and</strong> using<br />

knowledge management procedures <strong>and</strong> systems in the c<strong>on</strong>text of radioactive<br />

waste management. For example, Japan has developed a knowledge<br />

management system specifically for geological disposal of HLW 1 .<br />

2.31 CoRWM will return <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pic of knowledge management in its future work<br />

programme. For the present, it notes that there are several issues that need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

addressed with some urgency. These are (CoRWM doc. 2630):<br />

• preservati<strong>on</strong> of documents that describe past R&D (so that knowledge is<br />

not completely lost <strong>and</strong> work has <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be repeated)<br />

• declassificati<strong>on</strong> of as many existing R&D documents as possible,<br />

including documents that are marked “restricted” or “commercial” (so that<br />

R&D results are widely available)<br />

• capturing the tacit knowledge of senior experts who are approaching<br />

retirement<br />

• development of a suitable knowledge management system for all<br />

radioactive waste management R&D in the UK (so that underst<strong>and</strong>ing<br />

from past <strong>and</strong> future R&D can be shared, used <strong>and</strong> passed <strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

subsequent generati<strong>on</strong>s).<br />

Timescales <strong>and</strong> Priorities for R&D<br />

2.32 It is clear that R&D needs <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be timed so that it fits in with the overall programme<br />

for the management of higher activity wastes. For example, it is unnecessary <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

begin R&D <strong>on</strong> methods for c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing a particular waste if that waste will not<br />

arise for several decades. On the other h<strong>and</strong>, if facilities for s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage of existing<br />

raw wastes are reaching the end of their useful lives, R&D is needed in the near<br />

future <strong>on</strong> methods for c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> packaging those wastes for further<br />

s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> eventual disposal.<br />

2.33 In the case of geological disposal, there should be a progressi<strong>on</strong> from generic <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

site specific R&D. For example, generic R&D <strong>on</strong> site characterisati<strong>on</strong> techniques<br />

must precede the start of investigati<strong>on</strong>s of prospective sites for a GDF. However,<br />

site specific underground R&D can <strong>on</strong>ly begin <strong>on</strong>ce a site for detailed<br />

investigati<strong>on</strong> has been selected.<br />

1 http://www.jaea.go.jp/04/tisou/english/forum/forum_index.html<br />

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2.34 It is also necessary <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> c<strong>on</strong>sider the durati<strong>on</strong>s of the R&D projects needed for the<br />

management of higher activity wastes. These range from a few m<strong>on</strong>ths <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> several<br />

years <strong>and</strong> in some instances <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a few decades. Some projects can begin almost<br />

immediately while others have l<strong>on</strong>g lead times, for example because of the need<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> build up the skills base or <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop new facilities.<br />

2.35 A further very important issue in setting research priorities is safety case<br />

development. This is an iterative process. An initial design for a facility is devised<br />

<strong>and</strong> a safety case is developed for that design. Then an analysis of that safety<br />

case is carried out <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> identify those areas of uncertainty that have most impact <strong>on</strong><br />

the safety of the GDF. R&D is then performed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> investigate these areas of<br />

uncertainty, with a view <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> reducing them or producing a better quantificati<strong>on</strong> of<br />

them. The design is then improved <strong>and</strong> the safety case revised accordingly. The<br />

iterati<strong>on</strong>s c<strong>on</strong>tinue until the safety case is sufficiently robust <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> satisfy regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs<br />

<strong>and</strong> other stakeholders. For a GDF, the R&D includes site investigati<strong>on</strong>, from the<br />

surface <strong>and</strong> underground, <strong>and</strong> the analysis of safety case results helps <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> guide<br />

the site investigati<strong>on</strong>s. Throughout the iterative process, time needs <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be allowed<br />

for R&D results <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be promulgated, assimilated <strong>and</strong> discussed.<br />

2.36 In the current ec<strong>on</strong>omic climate, it is particularly important <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> set clear R&D<br />

priorities. CoRWM believes that this is best d<strong>on</strong>e in an open <strong>and</strong> transparent way,<br />

involving the people who will do the R&D as well as those who will use the<br />

results.<br />

Key Points <strong>on</strong> Establishing <strong>Research</strong> Requirements<br />

2.37 Both applied R&D <strong>and</strong> fundamental research are needed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support the<br />

management of higher activity radioactive wastes. The applied research<br />

addresses practical safety <strong>and</strong> design issues in the development <strong>and</strong> operati<strong>on</strong><br />

of facilities for waste c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing, packaging, s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> disposal. The<br />

fundamental research provides the detailed underst<strong>and</strong>ing that underpins safety<br />

cases <strong>and</strong> facility designs. It can also reveal hither<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> unknown issues that need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

be c<strong>on</strong>sidered. It is essential that future UK R&D programmes for management of<br />

higher activity wastes c<strong>on</strong>tain the full spectrum of fundamental research, applied<br />

research <strong>and</strong> development, with appropriate amounts of effort devoted <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> each.<br />

2.38 <strong>Research</strong> requirements for the management of higher activity wastes span a<br />

large number of disciplines. These include engineering disciplines as well as<br />

physics, chemistry, biology <strong>and</strong> earth sciences. The research needed is both<br />

multi-disciplinary <strong>and</strong> inter-disciplinary.<br />

2.39 There are a number of knowledge management issues that should be addressed<br />

in the near future. These include the preservati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> declassificati<strong>on</strong> of<br />

documents describing past R&D for higher activity wastes <strong>and</strong> the development<br />

of a UK knowledge management system for all radioactive waste management<br />

R&D.<br />

2.40 Priorities for R&D <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support the management of higher activity wastes should be<br />

set in an open <strong>and</strong> transparent way, involving researchers themselves as well as<br />

programme managers <strong>and</strong> users of results. It is also important <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> involve a wide<br />

range of stakeholders, including local communities (Secti<strong>on</strong> 3). The needs of<br />

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safety case development, the overall programme for the management of higher<br />

activity wastes, project lead times <strong>and</strong> project durati<strong>on</strong>s should all be taken in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

account in deciding which R&D <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> fund <strong>and</strong> when.<br />

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3.1 In this secti<strong>on</strong> of the report, the organisati<strong>on</strong>s that provide R&D for the<br />

management of higher activity wastes are identified <strong>and</strong> their roles described.<br />

There is then a descripti<strong>on</strong> of the mechanisms used in the past <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> co-ordinate UK<br />

radioactive waste management R&D <strong>and</strong> a discussi<strong>on</strong> of public <strong>and</strong> stakeholder<br />

engagement in past <strong>and</strong> current UK R&D programmes. This is followed by some<br />

examples of how other countries organise their radioactive waste management<br />

R&D. The secti<strong>on</strong> ends with CoRWM’s c<strong>on</strong>clusi<strong>on</strong>s about future UK R&D for the<br />

l<strong>on</strong>g-term management of higher activity wastes.<br />

Overview of Organisati<strong>on</strong>s Resp<strong>on</strong>sible for Providing R&D<br />

3.2 Figure 1 shows the organisati<strong>on</strong>s resp<strong>on</strong>sible for providing R&D relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

l<strong>on</strong>g-term management of higher activity wastes <strong>and</strong> the links between these<br />

organisati<strong>on</strong>s. The organisati<strong>on</strong>s that fund R&D are:<br />

• NDA, including its Site Licence Companies (SLCs)<br />

• other civil <strong>and</strong> defence nuclear industry organisati<strong>on</strong>s (e.g. British Energy,<br />

AWE plc)<br />

• regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs of the nuclear industry (HSE, Envir<strong>on</strong>ment Agency (EA),<br />

Scottish Envir<strong>on</strong>ment Protecti<strong>on</strong> Agency (SEPA))<br />

• <strong>Research</strong> Councils<br />

• the European Commissi<strong>on</strong>.<br />

3.3 The organisati<strong>on</strong>s that carry out R&D are:<br />

• universities<br />

• the Nati<strong>on</strong>al Nuclear Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry (NNL)<br />

• research institutes (e.g. the British Geological Survey)<br />

• nuclear industry organisati<strong>on</strong>s<br />

• c<strong>on</strong>sultants <strong>and</strong> c<strong>on</strong>trac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs.<br />

3.4 As an indicati<strong>on</strong> of the current scale of R&D <strong>and</strong> the c<strong>on</strong>tributi<strong>on</strong>s of the various<br />

organisati<strong>on</strong>s, Table 1 shows approximate annual funding levels for the<br />

organisati<strong>on</strong>s for which CoRWM has been able <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> obtain figures.<br />

NDA<br />

R&D <strong>on</strong> Waste C<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing, Packaging <strong>and</strong> Interim S<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage<br />

3.5 The NDA is required by the Energy Act 2004 <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> undertake R&D relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> its<br />

missi<strong>on</strong>. It funds research directly via its Direct <strong>Research</strong> Portfolio (DRP) <strong>and</strong><br />

other means. However, most of its funding for R&D is indirect, via its SLCs. It is<br />

difficult for NDA <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> estimate its indirect expenditure <strong>on</strong> R&D because R&D spend<br />

is included in SLC project costs rather than being recorded as separate items.<br />

NDA’s Annual <str<strong>on</strong>g>Report</str<strong>on</strong>g> <strong>and</strong> Accounts for 2008-09 state that it spent about £101M<br />

in <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>tal <strong>on</strong> R&D, of which £11M was direct spend <strong>and</strong> £90M was the estimated<br />

SLC spend. For perspective, NDA’s <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>tal operating expenditure in 2008-09 was<br />

£2.7B (NDA, <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>a).<br />

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Table 1. Approximate annual levels of funding for R&D <strong>on</strong> management of higher<br />

activity wastes<br />

Funding provider Approximate maximum annual spend<br />

(£M)<br />

NDA Radioactive Waste Management<br />

Direc<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rate<br />

NDA Direct <strong>Research</strong> Portfolio 4**<br />

NDA Site Licence Companies 60***<br />

Engineering <strong>and</strong> Physical Sciences<br />

<strong>Research</strong> Council<br />

Natural Envir<strong>on</strong>ment <strong>Research</strong> Council 0.25<br />

British Geological Survey (n<strong>on</strong>-NERC) 0.6<br />

European Commissi<strong>on</strong> 2<br />

Total Less than 72<br />

*The NDA RWMD <strong>and</strong> DRP figures are its spend <strong>on</strong> c<strong>on</strong>trac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs. They exclude costs associated<br />

with NDA R&D staff <strong>and</strong> support functi<strong>on</strong>s.<br />

**Total DRP budget is £6M; CoRWM estimates the proporti<strong>on</strong> relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> higher activity wastes<br />

<strong>and</strong> materials that may be declared <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be wastes <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be this amount.<br />

***Total SLC R&D budget is about £90M; CoRWM estimates the proporti<strong>on</strong> relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> higher<br />

activity wastes <strong>and</strong> materials that may be declared <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be wastes <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be this amount.<br />

3.6 The figures for NDA shown in Table 1 were derived from CoRWM’s estimates of<br />

the proporti<strong>on</strong> of NDA’s spend that was for R&D specifically <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support the<br />

implementati<strong>on</strong> of geological disposal. All of the SLC spend shown in Table 1 is<br />

for R&D <strong>on</strong> waste c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing, packaging <strong>and</strong> s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage, as is much of the DRP<br />

spend. CoRWM estimates that less than 5% of NDA’s £101M R&D expenditure in<br />

2008-09 was for geological-disposal-related R&D.<br />

3.7 The SLCs are resp<strong>on</strong>sible for decisi<strong>on</strong>s <strong>on</strong> their own radioactive waste<br />

management R&D. They have their own programmes of work; these are driven<br />

by the task in h<strong>and</strong>, including meeting regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry requirements for safety <strong>and</strong><br />

envir<strong>on</strong>mental protecti<strong>on</strong>. The SLCs’ R&D programmes are defined in Technical<br />

Baseline <strong>and</strong> underpinning R&D documents (TBuRDs) linked <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the SLC Life<br />

Time Plans (LTPs). The TBuRDs set out the technical baselines for the site,<br />

describe the technical challenges that the SLCs face <strong>and</strong> summarise the R&D<br />

that is deemed necessary <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> meet them. For each NDA site, it is the c<strong>on</strong>tractual<br />

resp<strong>on</strong>sibility of the SLC <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop an LTP <strong>and</strong> assess the associated<br />

timescales <strong>and</strong> costs. The LTP includes the reference means of c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing,<br />

packaging <strong>and</strong> s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ring wastes. Where there are unknowns or significant<br />

uncertainties, the need for R&D is identified. The R&D requirements are compiled<br />

in the TBuRD, which is updated annually (NuSAC, 2008).<br />

3.8 The “NDA <strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong> Development Needs, Risks <strong>and</strong> Opportunities” (NDA,<br />

2006a) document is a compilati<strong>on</strong> produced before the development of the<br />

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3*<br />


TBuRD system in its current form. It states that “His<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rically, the short-term<br />

benefits gained from carrying risks associated with the technical underpinning of<br />

projects led <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> significant cost implicati<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong> delays <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> projects <strong>and</strong><br />

programmes. Today, we believe the technical baselines <strong>and</strong> identificati<strong>on</strong> of R&D<br />

requirements will help the SLCs <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> focus <strong>on</strong> overall programme delivery <strong>and</strong> not<br />

just short-term activities”. This document is being revised <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> reflect the creati<strong>on</strong> of<br />

the NDA’s Radioactive Waste Management Direc<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rate (para. 3.17) <strong>and</strong> provide<br />

an updated descripti<strong>on</strong> of NDA’s n<strong>on</strong>-site R&D.<br />

3.9 The NDA role is primarily <strong>on</strong>e of strategic <strong>and</strong> c<strong>on</strong>tract management, helping <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

avoid duplicati<strong>on</strong> of similar work over its seven SLCs. The NDA <strong>Research</strong> Board<br />

<strong>on</strong> Nuclear Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> Waste Clean Up (NDARB) is an advisory body<br />

which provides high-level oversight, <strong>and</strong> has members from government<br />

departments, regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs <strong>and</strong> <strong>Research</strong> Councils. It also has two independent<br />

members including <strong>on</strong>e from HSE’s Nuclear Safety <strong>Research</strong> Review Group<br />

(previously a sub-committee of the Nuclear Safety Advisory Committee (NuSAC),<br />

which has been disb<strong>and</strong>ed). The primary objective of NDARB, which meets every<br />

four m<strong>on</strong>ths (see NDARB Terms of Reference 2 ), is <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>:<br />

“promote a comm<strong>on</strong> underst<strong>and</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> collaborati<strong>on</strong> between relevant<br />

bodies across the UK about respective R&D needs, risks <strong>and</strong> opportunities<br />

required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> enable the delivery of the NDA missi<strong>on</strong>. Where appropriate these<br />

activities will be linked <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> l<strong>on</strong>g term skills <strong>and</strong> capability requirements.”.<br />

3.10 At the operati<strong>on</strong>al level, the Nuclear Waste <strong>Research</strong> Forum (NWRF) was set up<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> share informati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> create networks between SLCs. It reports <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> NDARB.<br />

NWRF includes representatives from NDA, its SLCs, RWMD, AWE <strong>and</strong> the<br />

regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs (NII, EA, SEPA <strong>and</strong> the Department for Transport (DfT)), the Ministry<br />

of Defence (MoD) <strong>and</strong> British Energy. It meets every three m<strong>on</strong>ths. A number of<br />

NWRF sub-groups have been established <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> look at generic <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics comm<strong>on</strong><br />

across SLCs <strong>and</strong> other waste producers. These <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics include waste packaging,<br />

wet wastes, sludges <strong>and</strong> heels characterisati<strong>on</strong>, remote size reducti<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

dismantling, categorisati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> re-categorisati<strong>on</strong> of wastes, dec<strong>on</strong>taminati<strong>on</strong>,<br />

high temperature processes, orphan wastes, <strong>and</strong> c<strong>on</strong>taminated l<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> site end<br />

states. A new sub-group <strong>on</strong> interim s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage held its first meeting in June <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>.<br />

3.11 From feedback CoRWM has received at meetings with regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs <strong>and</strong> the SLCs<br />

involved, the NWRF is perceived <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be generally working effectively. NWRF is<br />

recognised as a good meeting point <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> share ideas <strong>and</strong> identify areas of comm<strong>on</strong><br />

interest. Progress has been made where it is possible <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> find simple pragmatic<br />

soluti<strong>on</strong>s <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> short-term operati<strong>on</strong>al problems, <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> put in h<strong>and</strong> R&D which<br />

addresses specific problem areas <strong>and</strong> delivers soluti<strong>on</strong>s. However, CoRWM<br />

underst<strong>and</strong>s that there have been some difficulties caused by lack of technical<br />

pers<strong>on</strong>nel <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> do the work or by limited access <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> funding for l<strong>on</strong>ger-term R&D<br />

because of competiti<strong>on</strong> with short-term operati<strong>on</strong>al claims (CoRWM docs. 2386,<br />

2519, 2464).<br />

2 http://www.nda.gov.uk/<br />

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Figure 1. Structure of UK R&D provisi<strong>on</strong> for management of higher activity wastes<br />

CoRWM Document 2543, Oc<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ber <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g> Page 29 of 151<br />

Acr<strong>on</strong>ym Legend<br />

AWE A<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>mic Weap<strong>on</strong>s Establishment<br />

BBSRC - Biotechnology <strong>and</strong> Biological<br />

Sciences <strong>Research</strong> Council<br />

BE - British Energy<br />

BGS - British Geological Survey<br />

DRP - Direct <strong>Research</strong> Portfolio<br />

EA - Envir<strong>on</strong>ment Agency<br />

EC - European Commissi<strong>on</strong><br />

EPSRC - Engineering <strong>and</strong> Physical<br />

Sciences <strong>Research</strong> Council<br />

ESRC - Ec<strong>on</strong>omic <strong>and</strong> Social<br />

<strong>Research</strong> Council<br />

GDRF - Geological Disposal <strong>Research</strong><br />

Forum<br />

HSE - Health <strong>and</strong> Safety Executive<br />

LoA - Letter of Arrangement group<br />

MoD - Ministry of Defence<br />

NDA - Nuclear Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing<br />

Authority<br />

NERC - Natural Envir<strong>on</strong>ment<br />

<strong>Research</strong> Council<br />

NNL - Nati<strong>on</strong>al Nuclear Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry<br />

NWAT - Envir<strong>on</strong>ment Agency’s<br />

Nuclear Waste Assessment Team<br />

NWRF - Nuclear Waste <strong>Research</strong><br />

Forum<br />

RCEP - <strong>Research</strong> Council Energy<br />

Programme<br />

RCUK - <strong>Research</strong> Councils UK<br />

RWMD - Radioactive Waste<br />

Management Direc<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rate<br />

SAC - RCEP’s Scientific Advisory<br />

Committee<br />

SEPA - Scottish Envir<strong>on</strong>ment<br />

Protecti<strong>on</strong> Agency<br />

SISB - Science <strong>and</strong> Innovati<strong>on</strong><br />

Strategy Board<br />

SLCs - Site Licensing Companies<br />

STFC - Science <strong>and</strong> Technology<br />

Facilities Council<br />

TSB - Technology Strategy Board

3.12 NDA’s DRP process was developed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support strategic <strong>and</strong> nati<strong>on</strong>al R&D issues<br />

that are not funded directly by SLCs. It is a comp<strong>on</strong>ent of the broader R&D<br />

portfolio <strong>and</strong> has an annual budget of £6M. It started in 2005 as a single research<br />

c<strong>on</strong>tract with Nexia Soluti<strong>on</strong>s but has since been opened out <strong>and</strong> a tranche of<br />

DRP research was awarded <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> various organisati<strong>on</strong>s in 2008. The programme<br />

was determined from a review of the SLC TBuRDs. It is split in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> four lots<br />

covering support for University Interacti<strong>on</strong>s (Lot 1, awarded <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> NNL/Serco),<br />

Waste Processing (Lot 2 awarded <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> NNL/UKAEA/Hyder), Materials<br />

Characterisati<strong>on</strong> (Lot 3, awarded <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> UKAEA/NNL/Serco) <strong>and</strong> Actinide/Strategic<br />

Material Investigati<strong>on</strong> (Lot 4, awarded <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> NNL/UKAEA). NWRF c<strong>on</strong>tributed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a<br />

prioritisati<strong>on</strong> of proposed DRP work areas. While this is intended <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be a more<br />

open process than that used previously, where NDA staff reviewed the proposals<br />

of Nexia Soluti<strong>on</strong>s (now NNL), research providers have expressed c<strong>on</strong>cern about<br />

the complexity <strong>and</strong> opacity of the current DRP process (CoRWM doc. 2630).<br />

R&D in the Letter of Compliance Process<br />

3.13 Waste c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> packaging is overseen by NDA through the Letter of<br />

Compliance (LoC) process, which is described in CoRWM’s Interim S<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage<br />

report (CoRWM doc. 2500). LoC is a process designed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> make sure that, as far<br />

as practicable, waste c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing methods will produce waste packages that can<br />

be safely s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red, transported <strong>and</strong> disposed of. The system was started by Nirex<br />

<strong>and</strong> was originally called the Letter of Comfort (because it was designed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> give<br />

comfort <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> waste producers that Nirex would accept their packages for geological<br />

disposal). It is now operated by RWMD (para. 3.17).<br />

3.14 To obtain an LoC, the waste owner has <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> provide evidence that the waste<br />

package will be compliant with the NDA specificati<strong>on</strong>s (Nirex, 2007). This often<br />

requires the owner <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> c<strong>on</strong>duct R&D, the results of which are scrutinised <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

support the LoC applicati<strong>on</strong>. For a typical cemented waste, fac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs such as the<br />

rate of setting, amount of free water, mechanical strength, heat producti<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

fracturing are taken in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> account. For difficult wastes, the size of the R&D<br />

programmes required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop <strong>and</strong> implement c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> packaging<br />

processes can be substantial in m<strong>on</strong>ey <strong>and</strong> time (from hundreds of thous<strong>and</strong>s <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

milli<strong>on</strong>s of pounds <strong>and</strong> over many years). NDA agreed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> allow CoRWM <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

investigate the R&D underpinning some example LoC applicati<strong>on</strong>s in order <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

explore this area more fully (CoRWM doc. 2688).<br />

3.15 Nirex/NDA waste package specificati<strong>on</strong>s have changed with time <strong>and</strong> it is<br />

possible that they will change again. Thus by the time a GDF comes in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

operati<strong>on</strong>, the UK will have several categories of ILW packages: older packages<br />

that were prepared <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> meet the earlier specificati<strong>on</strong>s, newer packages designed<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> meet the current specificati<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong> possibly also packages designed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> meet<br />

future, different specificati<strong>on</strong>s.<br />

3.16 The NDA is undertaking a review of earlier LoCs <strong>and</strong> this will either provide<br />

reassurance that “old specificati<strong>on</strong>” waste packages will meet the more recent<br />

st<strong>and</strong>ards, or will identify the need for remedial acti<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensure that packages<br />

will meet these st<strong>and</strong>ards. R&D will be necessary <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> determine the types of<br />

remedial acti<strong>on</strong>s required.<br />

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NDA R&D for Geological Disposal<br />

3.17 RWMD was established in 2007 when Nirex was subsumed in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> NDA. It will be<br />

developed in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a delivery organisati<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> implement geological disposal. The plan<br />

is for RWMD <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> become a wholly-owned subsidiary of NDA <strong>and</strong> then <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> become<br />

an SLC at a late stage in the process of GDF siting. RWMD has 70 employees<br />

<strong>and</strong> a <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>tal annual budget of £15-20M, of which the R&D comp<strong>on</strong>ents are 10<br />

employees <strong>and</strong> about £3M. The RWMD Head of <strong>Research</strong> sits <strong>on</strong> NDARB.<br />

RWMD is also represented <strong>on</strong> NWRF. CoRWM underst<strong>and</strong>s that NDA is setting<br />

up an independent geological disposal advisory panel answering <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> NDARB <strong>and</strong><br />

the RWMD Executive. The terms of reference <strong>and</strong> membership of the panel have<br />

not yet been made public. The panel will publish an annual report of its findings<br />

(CoRWM doc.2630).<br />

3.18 In June 2008, RWMD put forward a Proposed R&D Strategy (NDA, 2008c) for<br />

c<strong>on</strong>sultati<strong>on</strong>. Feedback from CoRWM (CoRWM doc. 2408), stakeholder<br />

meetings <strong>and</strong> other written resp<strong>on</strong>ses led <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a revised strategy, which is being<br />

produced as two separate documents. The first document, issued in March <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>,<br />

details the high level strategy <strong>and</strong> structures within the NDA for geological<br />

disposal R&D (NDA, <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>b). The sec<strong>on</strong>d document will detail the planned R&D<br />

programme. It has not yet been published by RWMD, so scrutiny of it will form<br />

part of CoRWM’s future work programme. In its resp<strong>on</strong>se <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the 2008 NDA R&D<br />

strategy document, CoRWM identified a number of areas where substantive<br />

research will be required (CoRWM doc. 2408) <strong>and</strong> some of these are described<br />

in Secti<strong>on</strong> 6 <strong>and</strong> Appendix A of this report.<br />

3.19 RWMD’s high level R&D strategy document defines its remit as (NDA, <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>b):<br />

“<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> carry out R&D <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support a nati<strong>on</strong>al strategic need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support safe <strong>and</strong><br />

secure geological disposal. We therefore commissi<strong>on</strong> applied research <strong>and</strong><br />

development, targeted <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> fulfil specific needs in support of RWMD’s<br />

objectives. We call this needs-driven R&D.”<br />

3.20 RWMD will define an applied R&D programme that is needs-driven <strong>and</strong> focused<br />

<strong>on</strong> c<strong>on</strong>structi<strong>on</strong> of the GDF <strong>and</strong> preparati<strong>on</strong> of an accompanying safety case.<br />

RWMD expects <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> fund any applied research required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> underpin<br />

implementati<strong>on</strong> of its programme. Certain aspects of this may be supported<br />

through the DRP, where skills development is a primary driver. This is similar <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

the approach for other NDA R&D, which is split between the DRP <strong>and</strong> the SLCs.<br />

3.21 RWMD recognises the importance of external review of its R&D <strong>and</strong> is<br />

developing a process <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensure this is carried out. CoRWM has had the<br />

opportunity <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> comment <strong>on</strong> RWMD’s developing proposals, <strong>and</strong> underst<strong>and</strong>s<br />

RWMD is now augmenting its management system arrangements for review of<br />

deliverables <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensure the related guidance is sufficiently robust.<br />

R&D in the NDA’s Strategy Management System<br />

3.22 The NDA’s Strategy Management System (SMS) was set up in 2008. It will be<br />

used <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> build up the next NDA Strategy from a series of “<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pic strategies”, <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

ensure c<strong>on</strong>sistency with the strategies of each of the NDA’s sites (CoRWM doc.<br />

2418; NDA, <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>c). There will be several <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pic strategies for higher activity<br />

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wastes, for nuclear materials management <strong>and</strong> for spent fuels management 3 .<br />

There is <strong>on</strong>e <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pic strategy for R&D, which is described as a “critical enabler” for<br />

the other <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics. CoRWM underst<strong>and</strong>s that R&D needs will be identified for<br />

radioactive waste management <strong>and</strong> for site res<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rati<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics, while the R&D<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pic strategy will be a set of high level principles. However, the current SMS<br />

documents (NDA, <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>c) show little about how R&D will be treated <strong>and</strong> NDARB<br />

does not appear <strong>on</strong> the block diagram describing the SMS.<br />

3.23 There is a Higher Activity Wastes Strategy (HAWS) Group, with representatives<br />

from the regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs, NDA, British Energy, MoD <strong>and</strong> SLCs, which oversees the<br />

development of the higher activity wastes <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pic strategies <strong>and</strong> which reports in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

the NDA SMS. There is also a UK Spent Fuels <strong>and</strong> Nuclear Materials Topic<br />

Overview Group, which includes representatives of <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g>, regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs <strong>and</strong><br />

NDA, where R&D <strong>on</strong> the management of spent fuels, plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium <strong>and</strong> uranium can<br />

be discussed at a strategic level. There will be no geological disposal <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pic<br />

strategy because the intenti<strong>on</strong> is that RWMD will become an SLC, with its own<br />

site strategy <strong>and</strong> TBuRD.<br />

Other Nuclear Industry Organisati<strong>on</strong>s<br />

3.24 Civil nuclear industry organisati<strong>on</strong>s such as British Energy <strong>and</strong> Urenco UK Ltd.<br />

(which enriches uranium) also fund R&D but, unlike the NDA, do not have major<br />

R&D programmes <strong>on</strong> radioactive waste management. Their approach is <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> carry<br />

out R&D as <strong>and</strong> when it is required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> solve particular waste management<br />

problems. Typically, these organisati<strong>on</strong>s will do R&D as an input <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> “opti<strong>on</strong>eering<br />

studies” (i.e. studies <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> identify <strong>and</strong> evaluate opti<strong>on</strong>s for managing a particular<br />

type of waste). Their studies increasingly involve identifying techniques used in<br />

other countries, with the aim of buying “off the shelf” soluti<strong>on</strong>s, rather than<br />

carrying out any in-house R&D. An example of this is the R&D that British Energy<br />

carried out when evaluating opti<strong>on</strong>s for c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> packaging the spent<br />

water treatment i<strong>on</strong> exchange resins from the Sizewell B PWR.<br />

3.25 The situati<strong>on</strong> is similar for MoD sites that are nuclear licensed sites <strong>and</strong> are run<br />

by c<strong>on</strong>trac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs (e.g. Aldermas<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>n, Dev<strong>on</strong>port, Rosyth). N<strong>on</strong>e of these sites, nor<br />

MoD itself, has major R&D programmes <strong>on</strong> radioactive waste management. They<br />

carry out or commissi<strong>on</strong> R&D as <strong>and</strong> when it is needed. There is increasing cooperati<strong>on</strong><br />

between defence <strong>and</strong> civil sites through groups such as the NWRF<br />

(para. 3.10).<br />

Role of the Nati<strong>on</strong>al Nuclear Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry<br />

3.26 The NNL was launched in 2008. It is based <strong>on</strong> Nexia Soluti<strong>on</strong>s, a former<br />

subsidiary of BNFL. In April <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g> it became a government-owned, c<strong>on</strong>trac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r<br />

operated organisati<strong>on</strong> (GOCO). The management <strong>and</strong> operati<strong>on</strong>s c<strong>on</strong>trac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r is a<br />

c<strong>on</strong>sortium of Battelle, Serco <strong>and</strong> the University of Manchester. The role of the<br />

c<strong>on</strong>trac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r is <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> provide strategic visi<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> management <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> NNL <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop<br />

it as a st<strong>and</strong>-al<strong>on</strong>e business. The c<strong>on</strong>tract is for an initial three-year period with<br />

opti<strong>on</strong>s <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> extend by up <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> two years.<br />

3 http://www.nda.gov.uk/strategy/overview.cfm<br />

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3.27 The purpose of NNL can be summarised as being <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>: 4<br />

• identify <strong>and</strong> preserve key nuclear scientific <strong>and</strong> technical skills <strong>and</strong><br />

facilities<br />

• lead <strong>and</strong> integrate UK strategic technology programmes<br />

• provide independent technical advice <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the UK <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> <strong>and</strong> its<br />

agencies<br />

• operate world class facilities for research<br />

• assist in the development of the market for the provisi<strong>on</strong> of nuclear<br />

research.<br />

3.28 The areas of business of NNL include nuclear science, waste management, plant<br />

process support, modelling, materials <strong>and</strong> corrosi<strong>on</strong>, specialist analytical services<br />

<strong>and</strong> envir<strong>on</strong>mental management. It operates at six locati<strong>on</strong>s in the UK: Sellafield,<br />

Working<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>n, Pres<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>n, Risley, Harwell <strong>and</strong> S<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nehouse. Its active facilities<br />

(Secti<strong>on</strong> 5) are owned by the NDA <strong>and</strong> leased by NNL, which operates them<br />

under the nuclear site licences of the relevant SLCs. They can be used for l<strong>on</strong>gterm,<br />

large-scale experiments with highly radioactive materials.<br />

3.29 NNL has about 750 pers<strong>on</strong>nel, of whom about 400 are technical <strong>and</strong> a further<br />

150 provide facilities support. Key pers<strong>on</strong>nel in the NNL structure are the seven<br />

Technical Authorities, each of which has overall resp<strong>on</strong>sibility for defining the<br />

technical strategy <strong>and</strong> maintaining quality within a defined technical area, <strong>and</strong> the<br />

eight Senior <strong>Research</strong> Fellows, who are NNL’s leading technical experts with a<br />

resp<strong>on</strong>sibility for engaging with universities <strong>and</strong> other stakeholders <strong>and</strong> for quality<br />

publicati<strong>on</strong>s within their area of expertise. NNL plays a key role in the<br />

maintenance <strong>and</strong> development of R&D skills (Secti<strong>on</strong> 4).<br />

3.30 NNL delivers R&D using these facilities but currently for a fairly narrow “cus<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>mer<br />

base”. 75% of its business is from the NDA <strong>and</strong> SLCs with a further 20% from<br />

British Energy <strong>and</strong> MoD. Its cus<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>mer base is expected <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> exp<strong>and</strong> in the future. It<br />

receives no subsidy from <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> but operates as a fully commercial<br />

organisati<strong>on</strong>. If the NNL is <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> meet UK strategic needs for R&D then it will require<br />

cus<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>mers that recognise those needs <strong>and</strong> fund projects accordingly.<br />

Nuclear Safety <strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong> the Role of HSE<br />

3.31 The management of the UK nuclear safety research programme was transferred<br />

from the Department for Trade <strong>and</strong> Industry <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the Health <strong>and</strong> Safety<br />

Commissi<strong>on</strong> (now combined with HSE) in 1990. The <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> set three<br />

primary objectives for the programme (HSE, <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>a):<br />

• <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensure that adequate <strong>and</strong> balanced programmes of nuclear safety<br />

research c<strong>on</strong>tinue <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be carried out, based <strong>on</strong> a view of the issues likely <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

emerge in both the short <strong>and</strong> l<strong>on</strong>g term<br />

• <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensure that, as far as reas<strong>on</strong>ably practicable, the potential c<strong>on</strong>tributi<strong>on</strong><br />

which such research can make <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> securing higher st<strong>and</strong>ards of nuclear<br />

safety is maximised<br />

4 http://www.nnl.co.uk/<br />

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• <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensure that the results of any such research having implicati<strong>on</strong>s for<br />

nuclear safety are disseminated as appropriate.<br />

3.32 There were also supporting objectives, namely maintaining a sufficient range of<br />

independent capability <strong>and</strong> taking advantage of internati<strong>on</strong>al collaborati<strong>on</strong> (HSE,<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>a). The legal c<strong>on</strong>text for the programme is provided by the Health <strong>and</strong><br />

Safety at Work … Act 1974, which places duties <strong>on</strong> HSE <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> make arrangements<br />

for carrying out research <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> encourage research by others, <strong>and</strong> the Nuclear<br />

Installati<strong>on</strong>s Act 1965, which states that HSE may recover the costs of nuclear<br />

safety research from nuclear site licensees (<strong>and</strong> applicants for licences).<br />

3.33 The latest editi<strong>on</strong> of the HSE Nuclear Safety <strong>Research</strong> Strategy (HSE, <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>a) is<br />

published as part of the Nuclear <strong>Research</strong> Index (NRI). It covers the research<br />

that HSE will do <strong>and</strong> the research that it expects nuclear licensees <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> carry out.<br />

Within the NRI there is also an HSE Nuclear Direc<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rate <strong>Research</strong> Strategy<br />

Statement for Waste <strong>and</strong> Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>Research</strong> (HSE, <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>b). This<br />

statement is <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensure that nuclear sites c<strong>on</strong>sider HSE’s needs <strong>and</strong> c<strong>on</strong>cerns in<br />

the waste <strong>and</strong> decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing technical area when they are establishing their<br />

research requirements (e.g. via TBuRDs in the case of NDA SLCs <strong>and</strong> via<br />

Nuclear Safety <strong>Research</strong> Schedules in the case of British Energy). The<br />

Statement applies <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> both operating <strong>and</strong> shutdown reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r plant. It is not<br />

prescriptive but is intended <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> list the <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics <strong>on</strong> which, in HSE’s view, R&D will be<br />

needed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support safety cases. It gives the regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry <strong>and</strong> research goals as<br />

being:<br />

“<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensure a sound technical basis for the safe <strong>and</strong> timely retrieval,<br />

passivati<strong>on</strong>, immobilisati<strong>on</strong>, c<strong>on</strong>tainment <strong>and</strong> interim s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage of radioactive<br />

wastes <strong>on</strong> both operating <strong>and</strong> shutdown reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r plant”.<br />

3.34 Much of the research by licensees will fit in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a project programme <strong>and</strong> be funded<br />

by that project, rather than being part of an R&D programme as such.<br />

3.35 NuSAC had the resp<strong>on</strong>sibility <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> inform HSE each year whether the nuclear<br />

safety research programmes of the industry <strong>and</strong> its regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs were adequate<br />

<strong>and</strong> balanced in supporting nuclear safety in the UK. Based <strong>on</strong> its sampling in<br />

2007-08, NuSAC c<strong>on</strong>cluded that good progress had been made <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> define <strong>and</strong><br />

develop <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics requiring research. It judged the nuclear safety research situati<strong>on</strong><br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be satisfac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry but, in the l<strong>on</strong>ger term, in need of c<strong>on</strong>tinuing encouragement<br />

<strong>and</strong> scrutiny. The 2008 NuSAC review of the NDA SLCs’ TBuRDs stated:<br />

“We formed a favourable impressi<strong>on</strong> during our review of TBuRDs (2008).<br />

St<strong>and</strong>ardisati<strong>on</strong> of format has helped <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensure that all sites are addressing<br />

relevant issues, <strong>and</strong> some <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics have yielded results that have been<br />

implemented. We did advise where further improvements might still be<br />

beneficial.”.<br />

3.36 HSE’s Nuclear Direc<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rate (ND) reported in early <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g> that the 2008-09 nuclear<br />

safety research programme for radioactive waste management <strong>and</strong><br />

decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing was being commissi<strong>on</strong>ed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> plan by ND <strong>and</strong> the nuclear site<br />

licensees (HSE, <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>c). The programme focused <strong>on</strong> Magnox sites, Sellafield <strong>and</strong><br />

Dounreay. ND identified the key areas <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics for research. The licensees<br />

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identified the research required <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ld ND that it was being progressed (HSE,<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>c).<br />

3.37 Since NuSAC was disb<strong>and</strong>ed, its <strong>Research</strong> Review Group (RRG) has c<strong>on</strong>tinued<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> advise HSE. In <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>, the RRG commented (CoRWM doc. 2630):<br />

“(R&D) would benefit from a more transparent presentati<strong>on</strong> of all the aims, in<br />

some detail, so that the adequacy of progress could be judged against a<br />

programme. Critically, there are many areas where soluti<strong>on</strong>s are still sought,<br />

<strong>and</strong> they must be provided <strong>on</strong> an acceptable timescale.”.<br />

The Envir<strong>on</strong>ment Agencies<br />

3.38 EA <strong>and</strong> SEPA have relatively modest research programmes <strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics of<br />

regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry interest in the areas of radioactive waste management <strong>and</strong> related<br />

health <strong>and</strong> envir<strong>on</strong>mental protecti<strong>on</strong> issues (CoRWM doc. 2464). Both agencies<br />

aim primarily <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> influence others <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> carry out research <strong>and</strong> can require nuclear<br />

site licensees <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> do research via c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>s in authorisati<strong>on</strong>s issued under the<br />

Radioactive Substances Act.<br />

3.39 The research programme of EA’s Nuclear Waste Assessment Team (NWAT),<br />

while small, is highly focused <strong>and</strong> makes good use of its resources. EA has a<br />

limited R&D budget, including around £1M over the next 5 years for in-house (2<br />

scientists) <strong>and</strong> commissi<strong>on</strong>ed work, supplemented by industry charges levied by<br />

NWAT. This budget covers radioactive waste management <strong>and</strong> radioactive<br />

substances risk assessment, including new-build. It is partly used <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> “lever” EA<br />

in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> joint projects <strong>and</strong> programmes involving NII, industry <strong>and</strong> internati<strong>on</strong>al bodies<br />

(such as the NEA Radioactive Waste Management Committee’s Integrated<br />

Group for the Safety Case, para. 3.134). This approach gives the EA wider<br />

influence <strong>and</strong> greater access <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> knowledge <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> help it <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> underpin its regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry<br />

decisi<strong>on</strong>s. Current EA projects include:<br />

• HLW / spent fuel safety cases: how different elements including the waste<br />

form, c<strong>on</strong>tainer <strong>and</strong> disposal facility design c<strong>on</strong>tribute <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the safety functi<strong>on</strong>s<br />

• remediati<strong>on</strong> of ILW packages, including n<strong>on</strong>-intrusive techniques for<br />

m<strong>on</strong>i<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ring the c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong> of packages in s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re, <strong>and</strong> guidance <strong>on</strong> choosing<br />

remediati<strong>on</strong> opti<strong>on</strong>s so as <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> minimise health <strong>and</strong> envir<strong>on</strong>mental impacts.<br />

EA plans further projects in:<br />

• chemical speciati<strong>on</strong> of radi<strong>on</strong>uclides <strong>and</strong> n<strong>on</strong>-radioactive elements in the<br />

envir<strong>on</strong>ment<br />

• site issues such as appropriate characterisati<strong>on</strong> techniques <strong>and</strong> managing<br />

graphite wastes.<br />

3.40 SEPA commissi<strong>on</strong>s research mainly via the Scotl<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> Northern Irel<strong>and</strong><br />

Forum for Envir<strong>on</strong>mental <strong>Research</strong> (SNIFFER). To date SEPA has funded little<br />

R&D <strong>on</strong> the management of higher activity waste.<br />

The <strong>Research</strong> Councils<br />

3.41 Support for research is available from the <strong>Research</strong> Councils, which are the UK<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> agencies resp<strong>on</strong>sible for funding research <strong>and</strong> training. They<br />

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disburse about £2.8B per annum <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> universities <strong>and</strong> research centres across the<br />

UK. The strategic partnership of the UK’s seven <strong>Research</strong> Councils is <strong>Research</strong><br />

Councils UK (RCUK), based in Swind<strong>on</strong>. Many activities are undertaken<br />

collectively <strong>and</strong> via cross-council initiatives. The research requirements for<br />

management of higher activity wastes encompass a wide range of disciplines<br />

(social science, ethics, radiochemistry, hydrogeology, engineering, microbiology,<br />

inter alia) <strong>and</strong> hence are relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> several <strong>Research</strong> Councils. The <strong>Research</strong><br />

Councils of most relevance <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> this report are the Engineering <strong>and</strong> Physical<br />

Sciences <strong>Research</strong> Council (EPSRC), the Natural Envir<strong>on</strong>ment <strong>Research</strong><br />

Council (NERC), the Biotechnology <strong>and</strong> Biological Sciences <strong>Research</strong> Council<br />

(BBSRC), the Ec<strong>on</strong>omic <strong>and</strong> Social <strong>Research</strong> Council (ESRC) <strong>and</strong> the Science<br />

<strong>and</strong> Technology Facilities Council (STFC).<br />

3.42 RCUK funds a wide range of fundamental research <strong>and</strong> training across the full<br />

spectrum of science, engineering <strong>and</strong> social sciences. Summarising RCUK’s<br />

whole funding portfolio is well bey<strong>on</strong>d the scope of this report but CoRWM<br />

recognises that some of this investment may, in future, lead <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> direct or indirect<br />

benefits <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> R&D relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> higher activity wastes. The focus, here, is <strong>on</strong><br />

describing funding programmes that are of direct relevance <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> R&D for interim<br />

s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> geological disposal of radioactive wastes, <strong>and</strong> management of<br />

nuclear materials.<br />

3.43 The <strong>Research</strong> Councils work <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>gether in energy projects through the <strong>Research</strong><br />

Councils’ Energy Programme (RCEP), which brings <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>gether all facets of energy<br />

research, knowledge transfer, engagement <strong>and</strong> training across the Councils in a<br />

programme which includes nuclear fissi<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> fusi<strong>on</strong>. The EPSRC is the coordinating<br />

lead for the RCEP. Activities are developed through a Programme Coordinati<strong>on</strong><br />

Group (PCG) comprising members of each of the <strong>Research</strong> Councils<br />

(budget holders <strong>and</strong> individuals resp<strong>on</strong>sible for research themes), with observers<br />

from the Department for Business, Innovati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> Skills (BIS) 5 although not from<br />

the Department of Energy <strong>and</strong> Climate Change (DECC), which is resp<strong>on</strong>sible for<br />

nuclear <strong>and</strong> radioactive waste management policy. The PCG meets<br />

approximately <strong>on</strong>ce a m<strong>on</strong>th. A Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), which does<br />

have DECC representati<strong>on</strong>, is used <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> advise the RCEP <strong>on</strong> its balance of<br />

programmes <strong>and</strong> development of activities. It is an independent strategic<br />

committee which meets at least quarterly. In resp<strong>on</strong>se <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> an RCEP paper, the<br />

SAC agreed that geological disposal is an area of interest <strong>and</strong> plans are<br />

underway <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop a managed activity with relevant stakeholders (CoRWM<br />

doc. 2524).<br />

3.44 The majority of RCEP research funds are placed through ‘managed calls’.<br />

Managed calls are generally in the form of a call for research proposals within a<br />

pre-specified <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pic (or <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics). Industry is often involved in specifying the <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics in<br />

such managed calls (para. 3.50). Each call has a pre-defined sum of funding<br />

available from the <strong>Research</strong> Councils, often with additi<strong>on</strong>al funds from industry.<br />

<strong>Research</strong> bids are invited from groupings typically comprising more than <strong>on</strong>e<br />

university, <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>gether with allied organisati<strong>on</strong>s (each bidding team is termed a<br />

‘c<strong>on</strong>sortium’). Review of bids is usually a 2-stage process. Firstly, all proposals<br />

5 BIS was derived from two separate departments, the Department for Innovati<strong>on</strong>, Universities<br />

<strong>and</strong> Skills (DIUS) <strong>and</strong> the Department for Business, Enterprise <strong>and</strong> Regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry Reform (BERR).<br />

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submitted <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> RCEP are subjected <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> peer <strong>and</strong> merit review. Sec<strong>on</strong>dly, an awards<br />

panel comprising academics <strong>and</strong> industry members ranks the proposals.<br />

3.45 In additi<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the managed activities supported through the Energy Programme,<br />

the Councils also support research through their resp<strong>on</strong>sive mode schemes in<br />

which individuals or groups of researchers submit research proposals in any area<br />

of their choosing. The current level of funding directly related <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the management<br />

of higher activity wastes via <strong>Research</strong> Council resp<strong>on</strong>sive mode schemes is<br />

discussed in the secti<strong>on</strong>s for individual <strong>Research</strong> Councils below.<br />

3.46 The <strong>Research</strong> Councils also work closely with the Technology Strategy Board<br />

(TSB), an executive n<strong>on</strong>-departmental public body established by <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> in<br />

2007 <strong>and</strong> sp<strong>on</strong>sored by BIS, other <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> Departments, the Devolved<br />

Administrati<strong>on</strong>s, Regi<strong>on</strong>al Development Authorities <strong>and</strong> other nati<strong>on</strong>al <strong>and</strong><br />

supranati<strong>on</strong>al bodies. The TSB funds applied research <strong>and</strong> development of<br />

products <strong>and</strong> processes that are near <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> market rather than fundamental<br />

research, which is the domain of RCUK. There are no currently funded TSB R&D<br />

programmes directly relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the management of higher activity wastes<br />

although it has highlighted nuclear energy as a possible area for future funding<br />

<strong>and</strong> is currently undergoing a review exercise.<br />

EPSRC<br />

3.47 EPSRC funds research <strong>and</strong> training in engineering <strong>and</strong> the physical sciences,<br />

investing about £740M per annum in a broad range of subjects from mathematics<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> materials science <strong>and</strong> from informati<strong>on</strong> technology <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> structural engineering.<br />

Almost all the EPSRC-funded R&D relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> radioactive waste management is<br />

funded via managed calls in the form of c<strong>on</strong>sortia. These managed calls can<br />

either be solely EPSRC funded or funded through the joint RCEP led by EPSRC.<br />

3.48 Current EPSRC-funded c<strong>on</strong>sortia relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> waste c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing, packaging,<br />

s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> geological disposal fall under the RCEP. EPSRC funds just over<br />

£26M of research under the ‘Nuclear Energy’ stream of RCEP. The majority of<br />

this is directed in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> research <strong>on</strong> power generati<strong>on</strong>, <strong>and</strong> so is not relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

management of higher activity wastes. Existing EPSRC-funded c<strong>on</strong>sortia<br />

relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> radioactive waste management are: Keeping the Nuclear Opti<strong>on</strong><br />

Open (KNOO); Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing, Immobilisati<strong>on</strong> And Management Of Nuclear<br />

wastes for Disposal (DIAMOND) (EPSRC, <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>); <strong>and</strong> ‘Biogeochemical<br />

Applicati<strong>on</strong>s in Nuclear Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> Waste Disposal’. These c<strong>on</strong>sortia,<br />

all funded through the RCEP, are described briefly in Box 1. EPSRC held a<br />

scoping workshop <strong>on</strong> Future Activities in Nuclear Power <strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong> Training<br />

in June <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g> <strong>and</strong> it has up <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> £5M funds <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support c<strong>on</strong>sortia in this area. A<br />

similar workshop is planned <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> c<strong>on</strong>sider geological disposal research.<br />

3.49 The EPSRC also funds two research Chairs in the nuclear field at the Dal<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>n<br />

Nuclear Institute, University of Manchester. One, in Radiati<strong>on</strong> Chemistry,<br />

supports the development of generic knowledge in this field. The other, in<br />

Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing Engineering, supports the development of generic knowledge<br />

in the field of decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing engineering that can be used <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> solve problems<br />

associated with nuclear decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing.<br />

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3.50 Existing EPSRC-funded research is principally supported through managed calls.<br />

The scope of each call is at the discreti<strong>on</strong> of EPSRC, which has advisory input<br />

from a variety of sources, including the Letter of Arrangement (LoA) group. The<br />

EPSRC set up the LoA group in 2005 with members from nuclear companies <strong>and</strong><br />

the regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs (EPSRC, HSE, BNFL, AWE, MoD, British Energy <strong>and</strong> NDA). The<br />

LoA group is a forum for research funders <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> share strategic priorities <strong>and</strong><br />

potentially <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> identify areas for collaborative activities. The decisi<strong>on</strong> whether <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

proceed with proposed areas <strong>and</strong> the exact scope of an activity rests with<br />

EPSRC.<br />

3.51 In April <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>, EPSRC held a workshop <strong>on</strong> “Nuclear Engineering” jointly with the<br />

USDOE <strong>and</strong> the Nati<strong>on</strong>al Science Foundati<strong>on</strong>. The aim was <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> “identify<br />

opportunities in areas where UK-USA collaborati<strong>on</strong>s make sense <strong>and</strong> fill the<br />

needs for <strong>on</strong>e or both countries”, <strong>and</strong> nuclear engineering was defined very<br />

broadly. Topics discussed relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> interim s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> geological disposal of<br />

higher activity wastes were largely within the Spent Nuclear Fuel <strong>and</strong> Waste<br />

Management <strong>and</strong>/or Post Operati<strong>on</strong> theme, which encompassed:<br />

a. reprocessing<br />

b. waste forms<br />

c. permanent s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage<br />

d. disposal<br />

e. transmutati<strong>on</strong> of waste (reducti<strong>on</strong> of volumes <strong>and</strong> waste recycling)<br />

f. envir<strong>on</strong>mental waste management <strong>and</strong> legacy waste<br />

g. advanced fuel cycles.<br />

3.52 In the c<strong>on</strong>text of the UK’s MRWS programme, questi<strong>on</strong>s of interest were<br />

essentially restricted <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> four <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics within this theme (wasteforms, permanent<br />

s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage, disposal, <strong>and</strong> ‘envir<strong>on</strong>mental waste management <strong>and</strong> legacy waste’) out<br />

of a <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>tal of 34 <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics identified across the six themes. Topics related <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> life<br />

extensi<strong>on</strong>, new build, future reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r systems <strong>and</strong> reprocessing dominated the<br />

workshop output. At the time the workshop was held, there was much uncertainty<br />

over the USA Yucca Mountain programme, so it was difficult <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> discuss<br />

geological disposal <strong>and</strong> interim s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage did not appear <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> have attracted much<br />

USA research activity.<br />

NERC<br />

3.53 NERC funds research via universities <strong>and</strong> its own research centres with a remit<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> increase knowledge <strong>and</strong> underst<strong>and</strong>ing of the natural world <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> tackle major<br />

envir<strong>on</strong>mental issues including climate change, biodiversity <strong>and</strong> natural hazards.<br />

It also provides independent research <strong>and</strong> training in the envir<strong>on</strong>mental sciences.<br />

NERC supports research <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>talling about £400M annually.<br />

3.54 In 2007, NERC launched its new science strategy, following a 2-year c<strong>on</strong>sultati<strong>on</strong><br />

period with the UK's envir<strong>on</strong>mental research users, funders <strong>and</strong> providers. The<br />

strategy, Next Generati<strong>on</strong> Science for Planet Earth, sets out an overview of how<br />

NERC, in partnership with others, will resp<strong>on</strong>d <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the critical issue of the 21st<br />

century - the sustainability of life <strong>on</strong> Earth. The strategy defines the funding<br />

priorities for 2007-2012 <strong>and</strong> was developed with str<strong>on</strong>g inputs from the Science<br />

<strong>and</strong> Innovati<strong>on</strong> Strategy Board (SISB), NERC’s principal advisory committee.<br />

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Box 1. <strong>Research</strong> Council Funded University <strong>Research</strong> C<strong>on</strong>sortia<br />

The KNOO c<strong>on</strong>sortium is a 4-year, ~£6M, RCUK initiative which started in 2005 <strong>and</strong> is funded<br />

through the multidisciplinary research c<strong>on</strong>sortia programme, Towards a Sustainable Energy<br />

Ec<strong>on</strong>omy, <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support nuclear-related research. KNOO is led by Imperial College <strong>and</strong> is a<br />

c<strong>on</strong>sortium of 7 universities; it comprises 4 work packages, <strong>on</strong>ly <strong>on</strong>e of which is relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

radioactive waste issues (WP-3: An Integrated Approach <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> Waste Immobilisati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

Management). In developing KNOO, geological disposal was specifically excluded from the<br />

programme scope because it was not, at that time, <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> policy. The KNOO<br />

programme ended in September <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g> <strong>and</strong> the <strong>Research</strong> Councils have announced a followup<br />

managed call in the nuclear area, predominantly aimed at reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r lifetime extensi<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

new build.<br />

The DIAMOND c<strong>on</strong>sortium (2008-2012, £4.28M) is led by the University of Leeds. It involves 6<br />

universities <strong>and</strong> is divided in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> three areas - Envir<strong>on</strong>ment, Migrati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> Risk;<br />

Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing, the His<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ric Legacy <strong>and</strong> Site Terminati<strong>on</strong>; <strong>and</strong> Materials - Design,<br />

Development <strong>and</strong> Performance. Two areas focus <strong>on</strong> work relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> waste management:<br />

Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing, the His<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ric Legacy <strong>and</strong> Site Terminati<strong>on</strong> is centred <strong>on</strong> the improved <strong>and</strong><br />

accurate characterisati<strong>on</strong> of s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red legacy wastes (particularly “Orphan wastes” for which no<br />

clear management route exists) <strong>and</strong> the development of novel technologies for retrieval <strong>and</strong><br />

treatment; Materials - Design, Development <strong>and</strong> Performance aims <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> address key knowledge<br />

gaps in the c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing, s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> disposal of wastes in order <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> underpin future decisi<strong>on</strong>-<br />

making in waste management.<br />

The ‘Biogeochemical Applicati<strong>on</strong>s in Nuclear Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> Waste Disposal’<br />

c<strong>on</strong>sortium (<str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>-2013, £1.9M) involves 5 universities <strong>and</strong> the British Geological Survey. The<br />

c<strong>on</strong>sortium will explore the use of microbial technologies <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> reduce the risk of radi<strong>on</strong>uclide<br />

migrati<strong>on</strong> from decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> disposal sites by ‘microbially engineering’ precipitates <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

seal fractures in the surrounding rock/soil mass <strong>and</strong> by immobilising radi<strong>on</strong>uclides within these<br />

precipitates.<br />

Three other EPSRC research grants, awarded under RCEP over the period 2005-2012, are<br />

directly relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the MRWS programme. These awards, amounting <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> £2.16M, are focused<br />

either <strong>on</strong> the properties <strong>and</strong> behaviour of borosilicate glass or <strong>on</strong> the potential for microorganisms<br />

in near-surface media <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> retard radi<strong>on</strong>uclide migrati<strong>on</strong>.<br />

In July <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>, the EPSRC, under its High End Computing programme, funded a further<br />

relevant research project, ‘Underst<strong>and</strong>ing the Chemistry of Ceramic Materials Under<br />

Irradiati<strong>on</strong>’. This project, involving 3 universities <strong>and</strong> awarded a <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>tal of £756K over the period<br />

2010-2014, will investigate the mechanisms by which radioactive elements are incorporated<br />

in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> possible host matrices, how radiati<strong>on</strong> damage changes the host properties (in particular,<br />

dissoluti<strong>on</strong>), <strong>and</strong> how radioactive species may escape from such host matrices.<br />

3.55 The NERC science strategy is delivered via seven science themes: climate<br />

system, biodiversity, earth science system, natural hazards, sustainable use of<br />

natural resources, envir<strong>on</strong>ment polluti<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> human health (EPHH), <strong>and</strong><br />

technologies. The themes most relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> MRWS-related R&D are EPHH <strong>and</strong><br />

Technologies.<br />

3.56 EPHH examines the interacti<strong>on</strong>s of humans with the envir<strong>on</strong>ment, how manmade<br />

changes may affect the health of humans <strong>and</strong> how adverse effects may be<br />

prevented. NERC is currently setting up an Expert Group, under the most recent<br />

EPHH theme acti<strong>on</strong> plan, <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> identify research gaps in the area of Radioactivity<br />

<strong>and</strong> the Envir<strong>on</strong>ment, covering all aspects of radioactivity from atmospheric<br />

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dispersi<strong>on</strong> modelling <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> geological disposal. The group will be used <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> inform the<br />

development of the next round of NERC’s Theme Acti<strong>on</strong> Plans during <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>,<br />

which will set out the acti<strong>on</strong>s <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be taken <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> deliver the NERC science strategy.<br />

3.57 The Technologies theme develops capabilities <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> detect hazardous species in the<br />

envir<strong>on</strong>ment via novel instruments <strong>and</strong> sensors. The theme is mostly c<strong>on</strong>cerned<br />

with pathogens <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>xins; radi<strong>on</strong>uclides are not specifically menti<strong>on</strong>ed.<br />

3.58 NERC has four main avenues for the direct funding of radioactive waste<br />

management R&D:<br />

• resp<strong>on</strong>sive mode funding of research that falls within its remit under the <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pic<br />

of ‘envir<strong>on</strong>mental radioactivity’<br />

• directed thematic grant programmes (managed calls)<br />

• British Geological Survey (BGS) research centre funding<br />

• Centre for Ecology <strong>and</strong> Hydrology (CEH) research centre funding.<br />

3.59 The <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>tal direct <strong>and</strong> dedicated support via NERC resp<strong>on</strong>sive mode funding over<br />

the period from 1998-2012 for nuclear <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics, including geological disposal,<br />

amounts <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> just over £1.4M. The research falls in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> three <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pic areas: ‘abiotic’<br />

c<strong>on</strong>siderati<strong>on</strong>s <strong>on</strong> waste immobilisati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> geosphere character; organic<br />

complexati<strong>on</strong> of uranium <strong>and</strong> related elements; <strong>and</strong> biogeochemical interacti<strong>on</strong>s<br />

<strong>and</strong> radi<strong>on</strong>uclide mobility in near-surface envir<strong>on</strong>ments.<br />

3.60 On behalf of MoD, NERC has managed a depleted uranium (DU) thematic<br />

research programme, which awarded £928K of funding over the period 2004-<br />

2008 in support of research aimed at characterising <strong>and</strong> underst<strong>and</strong>ing DU<br />

behaviour in the envir<strong>on</strong>ment. The results are of relevance <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> surface soil c<strong>on</strong>taminati<strong>on</strong> aspects of NDA <strong>and</strong> nuclear<br />

site licensee work, but are of very limited applicability <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the l<strong>on</strong>g-term<br />

management of radioactive wastes.<br />

3.61 BGS provides NERC’s main c<strong>on</strong>tributi<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> research that is relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

MRWS programme. Founded in 1835, BGS is the world's l<strong>on</strong>gest-established<br />

nati<strong>on</strong>al geological survey <strong>and</strong> the UK's nati<strong>on</strong>al centre for earth science<br />

informati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> expertise. It is a NERC <strong>Research</strong> Centre, deriving approximately<br />

half of its annual income (£40M) from NERC. The remainder comes from<br />

commissi<strong>on</strong>ed research from the public <strong>and</strong> private sec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs. In line with this<br />

mixed-funding model, the BGS carries out research in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> geological disposal as<br />

part of its NERC-funded science programme <strong>and</strong> also in the c<strong>on</strong>text of<br />

commissi<strong>on</strong>ed research funded by third parties. Three BGS staff who work <strong>on</strong><br />

radioactive waste disposal issues, full time, form the core of its Radioactive<br />

Waste Team. These are complemented by a further 37 BGS scientists who<br />

currently work <strong>on</strong> projects relating <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> radioactive waste disposal <strong>on</strong> a part-time<br />

basis, leading <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>tal BGS commitment of 13 man years of effort per year. This<br />

compares with an estimate of 25 man years of radioactive-waste-related<br />

research in 1995, with about 20 man years at that time <strong>on</strong> the service <strong>and</strong> advice<br />

comp<strong>on</strong>ent of work.<br />

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3.62 BGS is c<strong>on</strong>ducting three projects relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> geological disposal within its NERC<br />

Science Programme remit. These are: Bio-Tran, investigating microbial transport<br />

<strong>and</strong> microbial indica<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs of mass transport through geological media; Geosphere<br />

C<strong>on</strong>tainment, developing fundamental underst<strong>and</strong>ing of the mass transport<br />

properties <strong>and</strong> hydromechanical behaviour of low permeability media<br />

(anthropogenic <strong>and</strong> natural) with applicati<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> radioactive waste disposal,<br />

carb<strong>on</strong> dioxide sequestrati<strong>on</strong>, gas s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> c<strong>on</strong>taminant transport; <strong>and</strong><br />

Paleohydrogeology, developing paleohydrogeology techniques <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support<br />

geological disposal. Direct support from NERC for these programmes was about<br />

£470K over a seven-year period from 2003-2010.<br />

3.63 BGS is involved in, <strong>and</strong> in some instances leads, research programmes directed<br />

at underst<strong>and</strong>ing the behaviour of the engineered comp<strong>on</strong>ents of a GDF in the<br />

sub-surface <strong>and</strong> characterising host rock masses <strong>and</strong> their fracture systems. The<br />

areas include projects <strong>on</strong> ben<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nite, the engineering disturbed z<strong>on</strong>e (EDZ)<br />

fracture transmissivity <strong>and</strong> near-field chemical c<strong>on</strong>tainment. A series of<br />

geological disposal-related research studies have been carried out by BGS for<br />

Japanese c<strong>on</strong>trac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs. These focused <strong>on</strong> the characterisati<strong>on</strong> of fluid pathways<br />

<strong>and</strong> fluid-rock interacti<strong>on</strong>s in the Mizunami URL site, H<strong>on</strong>shu, Japan.<br />

3.64 NERC also has the ability <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> fund research through CEH, which is a NERCfunded<br />

institute for integrated research in terrestrial <strong>and</strong> freshwater ecosystems<br />

<strong>and</strong> their interacti<strong>on</strong> with the atmosphere. In recent years, no research of direct<br />

relevance <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the management of higher activity wastes has been funded by<br />

NERC via the CEH.<br />

Other <strong>Research</strong> Councils<br />

3.65 BBSRC funds research relating <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the underst<strong>and</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> exploitati<strong>on</strong> of<br />

biological systems. Its remit includes research at all levels of biological systems,<br />

from molecules <strong>and</strong> cells through tissues <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> whole populati<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong> their<br />

interacti<strong>on</strong>s; it covers plants, animals <strong>and</strong> microbes. It also supports a number of<br />

important industrial stakeholders, including the agriculture, food, chemical,<br />

healthcare <strong>and</strong> pharmaceutical sec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs. Its current budget is about £420M per<br />

annum. Its current strategic priorities include global security, living with<br />

envir<strong>on</strong>mental change <strong>and</strong> bi<strong>on</strong>anotechnology. BBSRC does not have any<br />

current grants in the area of radioactive waste management or remediati<strong>on</strong> of<br />

radioactively c<strong>on</strong>taminated l<strong>and</strong>. This c<strong>on</strong>trasts markedly with the USA<br />

programme, where biological effects <strong>on</strong> radioactive c<strong>on</strong>taminati<strong>on</strong>, <strong>and</strong><br />

bioremediati<strong>on</strong>, have been str<strong>on</strong>gly supported over many years, initially through<br />

the dedicated Natural <strong>and</strong> Accelerated Bioremediati<strong>on</strong> Program (NABIR) <strong>and</strong><br />

subsequently within the wider Envir<strong>on</strong>mental Remediati<strong>on</strong> Sciences Program<br />

(ERSP). 6 Similarly, the Swedish Deep Biosphere Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry 7 has existed for<br />

over 20 years, c<strong>on</strong>ducting a biological research programme in support of<br />

geological disposal.<br />

3.66 ESRC is the UK’s leading agency for research funding <strong>and</strong> training in ec<strong>on</strong>omic<br />

<strong>and</strong> social sciences. It receives most of its funding (about £203M per annum)<br />

from BIS. It has recently reviewed its strategic plan which now includes a<br />

6 http://esd.lbl.gov/research/projects/ersp/generalinfo/intro.html<br />

7 http://www.gmm.gu.se/groups/pedersen/index.php<br />

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strategic challenge <strong>on</strong> Envir<strong>on</strong>ment, Energy <strong>and</strong> Resilience, <strong>on</strong>e of <strong>on</strong>ly seven.<br />

CoRWM asked RCEP representatives, specifically, whether or not ESRC was<br />

funding work in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the public underst<strong>and</strong>ing of the scientific, social <strong>and</strong> ethical<br />

issues surrounding l<strong>on</strong>g-term radioactive waste management <strong>and</strong>, in particular,<br />

issues relating <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> management in the face of c<strong>on</strong>siderable scientific uncertainty<br />

<strong>and</strong> issues of intergenerati<strong>on</strong>al equity. In additi<strong>on</strong>, since public <strong>and</strong> stakeholder<br />

engagement (PSE) is regarded as a given in many radioactive waste<br />

programmes <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>day, CoRWM asked ESRC whether or not it was funding research<br />

in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the impact of PSE <strong>on</strong> the decisi<strong>on</strong>-making process <strong>and</strong>/or <strong>on</strong> the most<br />

appropriate ways <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> undertake PSE in this area. In its resp<strong>on</strong>se, made prior <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

the revisi<strong>on</strong> of its strategic plan, ESRC noted (CoRWM doc. 2524) that “current<br />

investment in this area is limited, but there may be greater opportunities <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

explore new agenda in the near future”.<br />

3.67 STFC was formed in 2007 by merging the Particle Physics & Astr<strong>on</strong>omy<br />

<strong>Research</strong> Council <strong>and</strong> the Council for the Central Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry of the <strong>Research</strong><br />

Councils. With an annual budget of around £500M, STFC funds research in<br />

astr<strong>on</strong>omy <strong>and</strong> nuclear <strong>and</strong> particle physics. It also provides the research<br />

community with access <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> large facilities at two principal UK sites, the Daresbury<br />

<strong>and</strong> Harwell Science <strong>and</strong> Innovati<strong>on</strong> Campuses, as well as at the Institute Laue<br />

Langevin (ILL) <strong>and</strong> the European Synchrotr<strong>on</strong> Radiati<strong>on</strong> Facility (ESRF) in<br />

Grenoble. Harwell is home <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ISIS, the world's most powerful pulsed neutr<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

mu<strong>on</strong> source, which is used <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> study the a<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>mic structure of materials; Vulcan,<br />

the world's highest intensity focused laser; <strong>and</strong> the Diam<strong>on</strong>d synchrotr<strong>on</strong>, in<br />

which STFC has an 86% share. The Cockcroft Institute at Daresbury focuses <strong>on</strong><br />

designing the next generati<strong>on</strong> of particle accelera<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs.<br />

3.68 There is a l<strong>on</strong>g his<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry of experiments using small quantities of transuranic<br />

materials at ISIS <strong>and</strong> ILL. ISIS is currently working with EPSRC grant holders <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

support their experimental programme in radioactive waste management.<br />

Diam<strong>on</strong>d currently permits experimental work with samples with low levels of<br />

radioactivity. It is reviewing what needs <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be d<strong>on</strong>e <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> resp<strong>on</strong>d <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> future dem<strong>and</strong>s<br />

of the scientific community, whether this be with transuranic materials or higher<br />

activity levels (Secti<strong>on</strong> 5).<br />

EU <strong>Research</strong> Funding<br />

3.69 All aspects of nuclear fissi<strong>on</strong> R&D, including work <strong>on</strong> wasteforms <strong>and</strong> geological<br />

disposal, have been supported over many years at the European Uni<strong>on</strong> (EU)<br />

level. There have been eight European A<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>mic Energy Community programmes<br />

since 1975, <strong>and</strong> since 1984 these have been integrated in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the broader EU<br />

Framework Programmes (FPs), of which there have been seven. His<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rically, the<br />

UK was an active participant in EU programmes, particularly through BGS <strong>and</strong><br />

the United Kingdom A<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>mic Energy Authority (UKAEA). Following the shift in UK<br />

focus <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ILW, including the formati<strong>on</strong> of Nirex, <strong>and</strong> organisati<strong>on</strong>al changes in<br />

UKAEA in the 1980s, then the hiatus in UK work <strong>on</strong> disposal of higher activity<br />

wastes after 1997, UK involvement in FPs declined significantly. <str<strong>on</strong>g>Report</str<strong>on</strong>g>s from the<br />

FPs, especially FP4 <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> FP6, c<strong>on</strong>tain research results <strong>and</strong> overviews that could<br />

now be useful <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the UK.<br />

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3.70 In the current FP7 programme (2007-2011) fusi<strong>on</strong> is dominant, but a budget of<br />

€287M has been allocated <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> fissi<strong>on</strong> research. The stated priority for fissi<strong>on</strong> is<br />

establishment of a sound scientific <strong>and</strong> technical basis for better management<br />

(safer <strong>and</strong> more resource-efficient, competitive <strong>and</strong> envir<strong>on</strong>ment-friendly) of<br />

energy <strong>and</strong> waste <strong>and</strong> the impact thereof. A further €517M has been allocated for<br />

the EU’s Joint <strong>Research</strong> Centre (JRC) activities in the nuclear sphere, which are<br />

intended <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support co-operative internati<strong>on</strong>al activities in nuclear waste<br />

management, envir<strong>on</strong>mental impact, nuclear security <strong>and</strong> nuclear safety. 8<br />

European research activities are co-ordinated through the Sustainable Nuclear<br />

Energy Technology Platform. 9 An EU Implementing Geological Disposal<br />

Technology Platform (IGD-TP) is also being set up <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> provide a framework led by<br />

industry <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> define R&D priorities, timeframes <strong>and</strong> acti<strong>on</strong> plans in this area.<br />

CoRWM members made informal comments <strong>on</strong> the draft “visi<strong>on</strong> document” for<br />

the platform.<br />

3.71 Only <strong>on</strong>e FP7 Eura<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>m project is led by a UK instituti<strong>on</strong>: BGS was recently<br />

awarded the ~£2M Fate of Reposi<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry Gases (FORGE) project <strong>on</strong> gas migrati<strong>on</strong><br />

(para. A.59). The FORGE project is designed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> characterise <strong>and</strong> quantify the<br />

c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>s during geological disposal under which gas formati<strong>on</strong> will occur with<br />

sufficient pressure increase <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> result in radi<strong>on</strong>uclide migrati<strong>on</strong> from the GDF in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

the surrounding host rock. The project will include model development <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

underpin GDF designs that lie within a safe gas generati<strong>on</strong> envelope.<br />

3.72 A number of other FP7 Eura<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>m research projects relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the management of<br />

higher activity wastes include <strong>on</strong>e or more UK partners. These include:<br />

• Actinide Recycling by Separati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> Transmutati<strong>on</strong> (ACSEPT) - 34<br />

European partners including the Universities of Reading <strong>and</strong> Edinburgh, <strong>and</strong><br />

the NNL with a technical focus <strong>on</strong> separati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> transmutati<strong>on</strong> of actinide<br />

elements. The <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>tal budget for this programme is €24M, of which €9M will be<br />

funded by the EU. Approximately €4.5M will be spent in the UK (€3.9M by<br />

NNL <strong>and</strong> €600K by universities), of which €1.6M will be funded by the EU.<br />

• Treatment <strong>and</strong> Disposal of Irradiated Graphite <strong>and</strong> other Carb<strong>on</strong>aceous<br />

Wastes (Carbowaste) - 27 partners including Amec, Bradtec, Doosan<br />

Babcock, NDA, NNL <strong>and</strong> University of Manchester in the UK. This project<br />

aims <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop an integrated waste management approach for existing<br />

s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>cks of irradiated graphite <strong>and</strong> carb<strong>on</strong>aceous waste <strong>and</strong> for future <strong>on</strong>es<br />

such as graphite-based Generati<strong>on</strong> IV reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r systems (€3.4M <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be spent<br />

by UK organisati<strong>on</strong>s with EU c<strong>on</strong>tributi<strong>on</strong> of €1.9M).<br />

• Redox Phenomena C<strong>on</strong>trolling Systems (RECOSY) - 32 partners, with<br />

Loughborough <strong>and</strong> Manchester Universities <strong>and</strong> BGS in the UK as associate<br />

partners. The objectives of RECOSY are the development of a sound<br />

underst<strong>and</strong>ing of redox phenomena c<strong>on</strong>trolling the l<strong>on</strong>g-term<br />

release/retenti<strong>on</strong> of radi<strong>on</strong>uclides in nuclear waste disposal <strong>and</strong> the provisi<strong>on</strong><br />

of <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ols <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> apply the results <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> performance assessment <strong>and</strong> safety cases.<br />

3.73 Other EU projects include Fundamental Processes of Radi<strong>on</strong>uclide Migrati<strong>on</strong><br />

(FUNMIG) <strong>and</strong> Near Field Processes (NF-Pro) (both run in FP6 <strong>and</strong> recently<br />

8 http://www.europa.eu/<br />

9 http://www.snetp.eu/<br />

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completed). NDA has current commitments in support of UK elements of EU<br />

projects (which are typically of 3-5 years durati<strong>on</strong>) in excess of £1M.<br />

The Learned Societies<br />

3.74 The Learned Societies provide invaluable communicati<strong>on</strong> resources <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> their<br />

membership via journals, websites <strong>and</strong> meetings, workshops <strong>and</strong> c<strong>on</strong>ferences.<br />

Several (in particular, the Geological Society of L<strong>on</strong>d<strong>on</strong>, the Institute of Physics<br />

(IoP) <strong>and</strong> the Institute of Materials, Minerals <strong>and</strong> Mining (IOMMM)) have been<br />

particularly helpful <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> CoRWM during the preparati<strong>on</strong> of this report (e.g. CoRWM<br />

docs. 2455, 2519) by hosting meetings <strong>and</strong> surveying their membership.<br />

Radioactive waste management is a <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pic in which the Royal Society (RS) has a<br />

l<strong>on</strong>g-st<strong>and</strong>ing interest. The Royal Society funds Policy Reviews which influence<br />

research, such as the report <strong>on</strong> Strategy Opti<strong>on</strong>s for the UK’s Separated<br />

Plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium (Royal Society, 2007). Representatives of the British Nuclear Energy<br />

Society (BNES), the Geological Society of L<strong>on</strong>d<strong>on</strong>, IoP, IOMMM <strong>and</strong> the Royal<br />

Society of Chemistry (RSC) c<strong>on</strong>tributed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the planning <strong>and</strong> format of the NDA<br />

RWMD’s R&D Strategy Workshop <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support geological disposal, held in<br />

Loughborough in November 2008. In additi<strong>on</strong>, there have been joint learned<br />

society meetings involving, for example, IoP, RS, RSC, the Mineralogical Society,<br />

the Geological Society of L<strong>on</strong>d<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> the British Geophysical Society. A group of<br />

the Learned Societies has agreed, in principle, <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> set up a joint website <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> provide<br />

independent scientific informati<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the public <strong>on</strong> higher activity waste issues,<br />

although they are still discussing a funding route.<br />

3.75 The Royal Academy of Engineering, like the Royal Society, has encouraged<br />

debate <strong>on</strong> radioactive waste issues. It held a meeting in December 2006 <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

discuss Future Developments in the Management of Nuclear Waste: Building <strong>on</strong><br />

CoRWM. It also held a workshop in December 2008 <strong>on</strong> skills for the nuclear<br />

industries <strong>and</strong> defence, which brought <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>gether stakeholders from civil <strong>and</strong><br />

defence nuclear engineering, representatives of the engineering educati<strong>on</strong>al<br />

providers <strong>and</strong> others interested in the provisi<strong>on</strong> of engineering skills across the<br />

nuclear industries. This meeting agreed that there is a requirement for a truly<br />

planned <strong>and</strong> co-ordinated approach <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the identificati<strong>on</strong>, quantificati<strong>on</strong>,<br />

development <strong>and</strong> delivery of the engineering skills base at every level. Further<br />

work <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> take this forward is being scoped.<br />

Past UK Co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> of Provisi<strong>on</strong> of R&D<br />

1970s<br />

3.76 UK R&D <strong>on</strong> the l<strong>on</strong>g-term management of higher activity wastes exp<strong>and</strong>ed in the<br />

late 1970s following the publicati<strong>on</strong> of the sixth report of the Royal Commissi<strong>on</strong><br />

<strong>on</strong> Envir<strong>on</strong>mental Polluti<strong>on</strong> (the “Flowers report”) (RCEP, 1976). This report<br />

recommended that there should be no commitment <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a large nuclear power<br />

programme until:<br />

“it has been dem<strong>on</strong>strated bey<strong>on</strong>d reas<strong>on</strong>able doubt that a method exists <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

ensure the safe c<strong>on</strong>tainment of l<strong>on</strong>g-lived highly radioactive waste for the<br />

indefinite future.”.<br />

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3.77 RCEP noted that there was a lack of clarity about who had the resp<strong>on</strong>sibility for<br />

determining the best waste management strategy. It recommended that the<br />

Department of the Envir<strong>on</strong>ment (DoE) be given this resp<strong>on</strong>sibility. RCEP also<br />

saw a need for a nati<strong>on</strong>al disposal facility, developed <strong>and</strong> managed by a Nuclear<br />

Waste Disposal Corporati<strong>on</strong>, <strong>and</strong> for a Nuclear Waste Management Advisory<br />

Committee <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> sp<strong>on</strong>sor research (RCEP, 1976).<br />

3.78 In its resp<strong>on</strong>se <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the Flowers report, <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> gave DoE the resp<strong>on</strong>sibility for<br />

radioactive waste management policy, increased research <strong>on</strong> HLW disposal <strong>and</strong><br />

recognised the need for a nati<strong>on</strong>al disposal facility for ILW (UK <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g>,<br />

1977). Also, in 1978, <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> established the Radioactive Waste<br />

Management Advisory Committee (RWMAC). The terms of reference for<br />

RWMAC were:<br />

“To advise the Secretaries of State for the Envir<strong>on</strong>ment, Scotl<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> Wales<br />

<strong>on</strong> major issues relating <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the development <strong>and</strong> implementati<strong>on</strong> of an overall<br />

policy for the management of civil radioactive waste, including the waste<br />

management implicati<strong>on</strong>s of nuclear policy, of the design of nuclear systems<br />

<strong>and</strong> of research <strong>and</strong> development, <strong>and</strong> the envir<strong>on</strong>mental aspects of the<br />

h<strong>and</strong>ling <strong>and</strong> treatment of wastes.”.<br />

3.79 RWMAC defined its role in relati<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> R&D as:<br />

“assessing the overall scale, balance <strong>and</strong> priorities of the <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g>’s<br />

radioactive waste management research programme, <strong>and</strong> the adequacy of<br />

the <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>tal resources devoted <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> research activities, whether by <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> or<br />

by the industry” (RWMAC, 1982).<br />

3.80 In 1979, drilling started at Altnabreac as part of research <strong>on</strong> geological disposal<br />

of HLW. UK expenditure <strong>on</strong> R&D for radioactive waste management in 1978-9<br />

was £13.3M <strong>and</strong> in 1979-80 it was £19.8M. About 50% of the expenditure was by<br />

BNFL <strong>and</strong> about 25% by DoE (RWMAC, 1982).<br />

1980s<br />

3.81 The main players in radioactive waste management R&D in the 1980s were:<br />

• DoE, which included the envir<strong>on</strong>mental regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r for Engl<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> Wales,<br />

Her Majesty’s Inspec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rate of Polluti<strong>on</strong> (HMIP), so had both policy <strong>and</strong><br />

regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry resp<strong>on</strong>sibilities<br />

• the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries <strong>and</strong> Food (MAFF), which had<br />

regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry resp<strong>on</strong>sibilities under the Radioactive Substances Act; for l<strong>and</strong>,<br />

the relevant part of MAFF was the Food Science Divisi<strong>on</strong> (FSD) <strong>and</strong> for<br />

sea, the Direc<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rate of Fisheries <strong>Research</strong> (DFR)<br />

• the Nuclear Installati<strong>on</strong>s Inspec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rate, for nuclear safety aspects<br />

• UK Nirex Ltd, which was formed in 1983 for disposal of low <strong>and</strong><br />

intermediate level wastes <strong>and</strong> was funded by the nuclear industry<br />

• UKAEA, which was funded by the Department of Energy<br />

• BNFL, which recovered most of its R&D costs from its cus<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>mers in the<br />

UK <strong>and</strong> overseas<br />

• CEGB <strong>and</strong> SSEB, the generating companies<br />

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• MoD<br />

• the Nati<strong>on</strong>al Radiological Protecti<strong>on</strong> Board (NRPB), which carried out<br />

work under c<strong>on</strong>tract <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> other UK organisati<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the European<br />

Commissi<strong>on</strong>, but which received funding for research related <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> its<br />

statu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry role from the Department of Health <strong>and</strong> Social Security.<br />

3.82 DoE, MAFF <strong>and</strong> others funded work at the NERC institutes, i.e. BGS, the<br />

Institute of Oceanographic Sciences (mainly for research related <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> sub-seabed<br />

disposal of HLW) <strong>and</strong> the Institute for Terrestrial Ecology (ITE). The Building<br />

<strong>Research</strong> Establishment (BRE) was funded by DoE <strong>and</strong> Nirex for design work <strong>on</strong><br />

l<strong>and</strong> disposal facilities (near-surface <strong>and</strong> deep).<br />

3.83 The research programmes covered all types of radioactive wastes: gaseous<br />

effluents, liquid effluents, <strong>and</strong> solid LLW, ILW <strong>and</strong> HLW. In 1981, there was a<br />

major change of directi<strong>on</strong> in R&D when the <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> decided that the<br />

research drilling programme for geological disposal of HLW should cease. R&D<br />

<strong>on</strong> ocean disposal of HLW c<strong>on</strong>tinued until about 1987, by which time the<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> policy was <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re HLW for a minimum of 50 years. R&D <strong>on</strong> ILW<br />

disposal increased after the establishment of Nirex.<br />

3.84 RWMAC scrutinised the R&D programmes of the various organisati<strong>on</strong>s<br />

throughout the 1980s. It published a major review of HLW disposal research in<br />

1983 <strong>and</strong> c<strong>on</strong>sidered the opti<strong>on</strong>s for l<strong>on</strong>g-term management of spent fuel in 1985<br />

(RWMAC, 1983, 1985). In 1987 RWMAC noted in its 8 th <str<strong>on</strong>g>Report</str<strong>on</strong>g> that:<br />

“<strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong> development is needed in the field of radioactive waste<br />

management <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> provide a suitable informati<strong>on</strong> base for proper development<br />

of general policies <strong>and</strong> specific strategies. We c<strong>on</strong>sider that it is important <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

have a co-ordinated <strong>and</strong> balanced programme making the best use of<br />

resources <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> meet the waste management objectives of the various<br />

Departments. Suitable arrangements are also required for peer review of<br />

results <strong>and</strong> for competent assessments of the quality of work.”.<br />

3.85 There was a DoE symposium <strong>on</strong> research objectives in 1986, <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> review research<br />

management procedures <strong>and</strong> strategic objectives. Participants included those<br />

resp<strong>on</strong>sible for sp<strong>on</strong>soring <strong>and</strong> undertaking research, <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> Departments<br />

<strong>and</strong> advisory bodies such as RWMAC. The symposium identified several issues<br />

that required clarificati<strong>on</strong> or strengthening of procedures. These included<br />

programme co-ordinati<strong>on</strong>, programme review <strong>and</strong> peer review of results. It was<br />

also c<strong>on</strong>sidered that more attenti<strong>on</strong> should be given <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> presentati<strong>on</strong> of research<br />

results <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the general public (RWMAC, 1987).<br />

3.86 After the symposium, DoE reviewed the inter-departmental committee structure<br />

for liais<strong>on</strong> <strong>on</strong> m<strong>on</strong>i<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ring <strong>and</strong> allocati<strong>on</strong> of research resources. There were two<br />

overall liais<strong>on</strong> committees, each with a sub-committee, <strong>on</strong>e for the interests of<br />

the regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs <strong>and</strong> <strong>on</strong>e for industry <strong>and</strong> regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>gether (RWMAC, 1987).<br />

3.87 In 1987-88, DoE employed c<strong>on</strong>sultants <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> carry out a review of nati<strong>on</strong>al research<br />

requirements for radioactive waste management. This identified gaps <strong>and</strong><br />

overlaps <strong>and</strong> enabled the liais<strong>on</strong> committees <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> c<strong>on</strong>sider the balance of R&D<br />

programmes <strong>and</strong> the use of resources. RWMAC c<strong>on</strong>tinued <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> review R&D in five<br />

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sec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs: l<strong>and</strong> disposal, ocean disposal, envir<strong>on</strong>mental studies, waste c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing<br />

<strong>and</strong> strategy <strong>and</strong> systems studies (RWMAC, 1988, 1989).<br />

3.88 Throughout the 1980s, RWMAC collected informati<strong>on</strong> <strong>on</strong> planned expenditure <strong>on</strong><br />

radioactive waste management R&D <strong>and</strong> included it in its annual reports. Data<br />

were presented by sec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r <strong>and</strong> by funding organisati<strong>on</strong> (RWMAC, 1987, 1988,<br />

1989). Total expenditure rose from £28.6M in 1980-81 <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> £46.66M in 1989-90.<br />

Table 2 summarises the expenditure breakdown for 1989-90 (RWMAC, 1989).<br />

Table 2. UK Radioactive Waste Management R&D Expenditure in 1989-90<br />

Sec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r Planned UK R&D<br />

expenditure (£M)<br />

Major funders<br />

L<strong>and</strong> disposal 13.92 Nirex (£6M), DoE (£4.9M)<br />

Ocean disposal 0.47 MAFF DFR (£0.45M)<br />

Envir<strong>on</strong>mental studies 7.1 DoE (£1.9M), BNFL<br />

(£1.7M), MAFF DFR<br />

(£1.6M), MAFF FSD<br />

(£1.2M),<br />

Waste c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing 23.92 BNFL (£16M), DoE<br />

(£3.5M), UKAEA (£2.42M),<br />

CEGB (£2M)<br />

Strategy <strong>and</strong> system<br />

studies<br />

Total 46.66<br />

1.25 DoE (£0.5M), BNFL<br />

(£0.3M), CEGB (£0.2M)<br />

1990s<br />

3.89 At the time of the rec<strong>on</strong>stituti<strong>on</strong> of the committee in 1991, the relevant Minister<br />

asked RWMAC <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> review the DoE radioactive substances research programme.<br />

By this time, HMIP (Her Majesty’s Inspec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rate of Polluti<strong>on</strong>) had its own research<br />

programme, which was focused <strong>on</strong> its regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry role, <strong>and</strong> the DoE research<br />

programme for radioactive waste management focused <strong>on</strong> policy issues.<br />

RWMAC completed <strong>and</strong> published its review in 1993 (RWMAC, 1993).<br />

3.90 In its review, RWMAC expressed c<strong>on</strong>cern about the scope for overlap of the<br />

research programmes of DoE, other <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> Departments, <strong>Research</strong><br />

Councils <strong>and</strong> n<strong>on</strong>-<str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> organisati<strong>on</strong>s. It recommended that DoE create a<br />

unit <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> track research overlaps. DoE resp<strong>on</strong>ded that its Radioactivity <strong>Research</strong><br />

<strong>and</strong> Envir<strong>on</strong>ment M<strong>on</strong>i<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ring committee (RADREM), which had members from<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> Departments <strong>and</strong> industry, provided an effective liais<strong>on</strong> mechanism.<br />

The committee met bi-annually <strong>and</strong> had four sub-committees, each for a specific<br />

area, <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> identify <strong>and</strong> report developments, gaps <strong>and</strong> overlaps (RWMAC, 1994).<br />

3.91 RWMAC also recommended that DoE develop expertise so that it could manage<br />

its research programme in-house. DoE resp<strong>on</strong>ded that it secured technical<br />

support for management of its research programme by means of a c<strong>on</strong>sultancy.<br />

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It c<strong>on</strong>sidered this <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be both an effective <strong>and</strong> a flexible arrangement (RWMAC,<br />

1994).<br />

3.92 Although RWMAC c<strong>on</strong>tinued <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> review the DoE (subsequently the Department for<br />

Envir<strong>on</strong>ment, Transport <strong>and</strong> the Regi<strong>on</strong>s (DETR)) radioactive substances<br />

research programme during the 1990s, the committee no l<strong>on</strong>ger reviewed UK<br />

radioactive waste management R&D as a whole. RWMAC reviewed the results of<br />

the DETR HLW <strong>and</strong> Spent Fuel <strong>Research</strong> Strategy Project. It also c<strong>on</strong>sidered the<br />

Nirex-proposed work programme following the 1997 RCF decisi<strong>on</strong> (RWMAC,<br />

1998). RADREM operated until 1995 but produced no published reports <strong>on</strong> coordinati<strong>on</strong><br />

of R&D.<br />

3.93 After the RCF decisi<strong>on</strong>, the need for strategic co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> was recognised by<br />

the House of Lords Science <strong>and</strong> Technology Committee (Lords, 1998) who<br />

c<strong>on</strong>cluded:<br />

“When there is agreement <strong>on</strong> the nati<strong>on</strong>al strategy (for l<strong>on</strong>g-lived waste<br />

management) a comprehensive research programme should be set out,<br />

linked <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> miles<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nes in the development of the facilities. The Commissi<strong>on</strong><br />

should be resp<strong>on</strong>sible for co-ordinating all UK research <strong>on</strong> the l<strong>on</strong>g-term<br />

management of nuclear waste….”.<br />

Public <strong>and</strong> Stakeholder Engagement for R&D Programmes<br />

3.94 In the past, there was little opportunity for stakeholders outside the R&D funding<br />

<strong>and</strong> providing organisati<strong>on</strong>s <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> influence UK R&D programmes <strong>on</strong> radioactive<br />

waste management. For example, NGOs were not invited <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> sit <strong>on</strong> the various<br />

committees or <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> take part in reviews of research requirements. While some<br />

organisati<strong>on</strong>s published all the results of their research (e.g. Nirex, Her Majesty’s<br />

Inspec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rate of Polluti<strong>on</strong>), others published very little. On the whole, little<br />

attenti<strong>on</strong> was paid <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> providing informati<strong>on</strong> about R&D <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the public in an easily<br />

accessible form.<br />

3.95 CoRWM has found that the situati<strong>on</strong> is much the same <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>day. Most of the fora at<br />

which R&D requirements are discussed are closed <strong>and</strong> do not issue publicly<br />

available documents. TBuRDs are not publicly available, in full, for most SLCs<br />

<strong>and</strong> are, in any case, <strong>on</strong>ly suitable for use by those with c<strong>on</strong>siderable expertise.<br />

C<strong>on</strong>siderable amounts of R&D are viewed as “commercial” <strong>and</strong> the results are<br />

not published. This is particularly the case for waste c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> packaging<br />

research.<br />

3.96 There are signs that the situati<strong>on</strong> will be better for geological disposal research.<br />

For example, there was stakeholder c<strong>on</strong>sultati<strong>on</strong> about the proposed RWMD<br />

R&D Strategy (para. 3.18) <strong>and</strong> RWMD plans <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> c<strong>on</strong>sult about the R&D<br />

programme <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> implement the strategy (CoRWM doc. 2677). However, n<strong>on</strong>e of<br />

the organisati<strong>on</strong>s involved in radioactive waste management R&D routinely<br />

produce documents that explain in accessible language what they think the key<br />

uncertainties are <strong>and</strong> what R&D is in h<strong>and</strong> or planned <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> address those<br />

uncertainties. This is despite the importance that the public <strong>and</strong> stakeholders<br />

attach <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> R&D (CoRWM doc. 2488). There is a specific need for an accessible<br />

summary of what is known about geological disposal <strong>and</strong> of R&D requirements<br />

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ey<strong>on</strong>d those that RWMD intends <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> tackle in the near future (CoRWM doc.<br />

2677).<br />

Internati<strong>on</strong>al Experience in Defining R&D Programmes<br />

3.97 A number of countries are c<strong>on</strong>ducting R&D programmes <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support l<strong>on</strong>g-term<br />

management of higher activity wastes. It is not the intenti<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> review or<br />

summarise all of these here. Instead, this secti<strong>on</strong> c<strong>on</strong>tains examples of how R&D<br />

programmes are organised, drawn from six countries that CoRWM has visited or<br />

has good knowledge of, <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> provide comparis<strong>on</strong> with the UK situati<strong>on</strong>. It also<br />

c<strong>on</strong>siders the role of internati<strong>on</strong>al organisati<strong>on</strong>s in assisting countries <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> define<br />

their research programmes <strong>and</strong> in internati<strong>on</strong>al co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> of R&D.<br />

USA – Yucca Mountain<br />

3.98 USDOE has been investigating Yucca Mountain as a site for geological disposal<br />

of spent nuclear reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r fuel <strong>and</strong> other radioactive waste in the USA since 1987.<br />

The site is located within unsaturated ignimbrites (pyroclastic volcanic rocks)<br />

above the c<strong>on</strong>temporary water table <strong>on</strong> federal l<strong>and</strong> adjacent <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the Nevada Test<br />

Site in Nye County, Nevada. USDOE submitted a licence applicati<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

Nuclear Regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry Commissi<strong>on</strong> (NRC) for c<strong>on</strong>structi<strong>on</strong> at Yucca Mountain in<br />

June 2008; the preliminary process of checking over <strong>and</strong> 'docketing' the<br />

applicati<strong>on</strong> was completed in September 2008. In early <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>, the new USA<br />

Secretary of Energy stated that the Yucca Mountain project would be terminated<br />

<strong>and</strong> a “blue ribb<strong>on</strong> panel” would be c<strong>on</strong>vened <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> study alternatives, including new<br />

potential GDF locati<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong> management opti<strong>on</strong>s for spent fuel other than<br />

geological disposal. 10 USDOE work related <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the Yucca Mountain licence<br />

applicati<strong>on</strong> c<strong>on</strong>tinues but all other work <strong>on</strong> the project has s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pped.<br />

3.99 To date, all relevant R&D <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support the Yucca Mountain disposal site has been<br />

c<strong>on</strong>trolled <strong>and</strong> commissi<strong>on</strong>ed by USDOE. The DOE does not have in-house<br />

expertise across all the required subject areas; c<strong>on</strong>sequently, it hires project<br />

Management <strong>and</strong> Operati<strong>on</strong>s (M&O) c<strong>on</strong>trac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs. The organisati<strong>on</strong>s c<strong>on</strong>ducting<br />

the R&D, until recently, were termed the ‘Participants’. These are the Nati<strong>on</strong>al<br />

Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ries <strong>and</strong> the US Geological Survey (USGS). Each year, all participants<br />

submit plans <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> DOE <strong>on</strong> the research they believe <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be required. Universities<br />

can <strong>on</strong>ly become actively involved in c<strong>on</strong>ducting research for DOE via<br />

collaborati<strong>on</strong> with the nati<strong>on</strong>al labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ries. Academics are, however, supported<br />

by independent funding provided by the State of Nevada <strong>and</strong> Nye County, who<br />

are currently c<strong>on</strong>testing the DOE licence applicati<strong>on</strong> for Yucca Mountain.<br />

3.100 This "Program Plan (PP)" is DOE’s overarching planning document. The PP<br />

describes the work <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be carried out over the following five years. It is updated<br />

every year, so the plans for the "out years" (i.e. years bey<strong>on</strong>d the upcoming<br />

years) change regularly. Input for the PP is provided by "assistant program<br />

managers", who are resp<strong>on</strong>sible for particular <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics, with the help of the M&O<br />

c<strong>on</strong>trac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs <strong>and</strong> participants. The plans for each <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pic area are compiled in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> <strong>on</strong>e<br />

document, the PP, which then goes through an internal DOE approval procedure.<br />

Much of what is c<strong>on</strong>tained in the PP is for the purposes of budgeting, so that the<br />

DOE can see what the technical implicati<strong>on</strong>s are of reducing research plans <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

10 http://www.nrc.gov/<br />

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match a given budget. N<strong>on</strong>e of the PP is available for public comment (i.e. there<br />

is no c<strong>on</strong>sultati<strong>on</strong> process), although it is a public document <strong>and</strong> copies are sent<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> other branches of government. The PP is primarily an internal DOE document<br />

rather than a mechanism for obtaining feedback <strong>on</strong> the planning <strong>and</strong> research<br />

prioritisati<strong>on</strong> strategy.<br />

3.101 All research reports are subject <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> internal review but this process is more geared<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>wards quality assurance than a review of research quality. Most fundamental<br />

research is published in the academic literature <strong>and</strong> hence subject <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

independent peer review. Some of the published research, including a book<br />

(Ewing & Macfarlane, 2006), has identified technical problems with the Yucca<br />

Mountain GDF design.<br />

3.102 Independent review of the research programme, as a whole, is provided by the<br />

Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board (NWTRB). The NWTRB is an<br />

independent agency of the USA Federal <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> whose purpose is <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

provide independent scientific <strong>and</strong> technical oversight of the DOE's programme<br />

for managing <strong>and</strong> disposing of high-level radioactive waste <strong>and</strong> spent nuclear<br />

fuel. It reports <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> C<strong>on</strong>gress <strong>and</strong> the Secretary of Energy at least twice a year. The<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> appoints well-respected experts <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> act as independent members of<br />

the Board, based <strong>on</strong> recommendati<strong>on</strong>s from the Nati<strong>on</strong>al Academy of<br />

Sciences. 11 Meetings of the Board are c<strong>on</strong>vened <strong>on</strong>ce or twice a year. For the<br />

past 20 years, NWTRB has focused <strong>on</strong> the DOE’s Yucca Mountain programme.<br />

Now that this programme has effectively ended, NWTRB is developing <strong>and</strong><br />

compiling technical informati<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> inform the USA evaluati<strong>on</strong> of waste<br />

management alternatives, while m<strong>on</strong>i<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ring any new DOE work related <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

management of HLW <strong>and</strong> spent fuel.<br />

3.103 The United States Nuclear Regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry Commissi<strong>on</strong> provides independent<br />

guidance <strong>on</strong> regulati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> licensing for development of the GDF.<br />

3.104 In 2001, the Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) in USDOE’s Office of<br />

Science commissi<strong>on</strong>ed a “Basic <strong>Research</strong> Needs” series of workshops <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> identify<br />

the fundamental research needed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> assure a secure energy future. These<br />

workshops have engaged academic researchers in defining fundamental<br />

research priorities <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ward a sustainable USA energy policy. In 2006, a 4-day<br />

workshop was held entitled ‘Basic <strong>Research</strong> Needs for Advanced Nuclear Energy<br />

Systems’. A major comp<strong>on</strong>ent of this workshop was <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> identify fundamental<br />

research issues for geological disposal (USDOE, 2006). <strong>Research</strong> challenges<br />

<strong>and</strong> priorities identified in the workshop included those in Box 2.<br />

3.105 The workshop involved a <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>tal of 235 invited experts from 31 universities, 11<br />

nati<strong>on</strong>al labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ries, 6 industries, 3 government agencies, <strong>and</strong> 11 foreign<br />

countries <strong>and</strong> exemplifies the USA practice of engaging the wider R&D<br />

community in the major research programmes such as for geological disposal.<br />

11 http://www.nwtrb.gov/<br />

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Box 2. USDOE 2006 Workshop R&D Issues<br />

Gr<strong>and</strong> Challenges<br />

• computati<strong>on</strong>al thermodynamics of complex fluids <strong>and</strong> solids<br />

• integrated characterisati<strong>on</strong>, modelling <strong>and</strong> m<strong>on</strong>i<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ring of geological<br />

systems<br />

• simulati<strong>on</strong> of multiscale systems for ultra-l<strong>on</strong>g times<br />

Priority <strong>Research</strong> Directi<strong>on</strong>s<br />

• mineral-water interface complexity <strong>and</strong> dynamics<br />

• nanoparticle <strong>and</strong> colloid physics <strong>and</strong> chemistry<br />

• dynamic imaging of flow <strong>and</strong> transport<br />

• transport properties <strong>and</strong> in-situ characterisati<strong>on</strong> of fluid trapping,<br />

isolati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> immobilisati<strong>on</strong><br />

• fluid-induced rock deformati<strong>on</strong><br />

• biogeochemistry in extreme subsurface envir<strong>on</strong>ments<br />

Cross-Cutting Issues<br />

• the microscopic basis of macroscopic complexity<br />

• highly reactive subsurface materials <strong>and</strong> envir<strong>on</strong>ments<br />

• thermodynamics of the solute-<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>-solid c<strong>on</strong>tinuum<br />

Japan<br />

3.106 Geological disposal of Japanese HLW was set out as the end point of a process<br />

embodied in the 2000 Act, “Specified Radioactive Waste Final Disposal Act”,<br />

which also set up the Nuclear Waste Management Organisati<strong>on</strong>, NUMO. The<br />

2002 report, “Requirements of Geological Envir<strong>on</strong>ment <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> select Preliminary<br />

Investigati<strong>on</strong> Areas (PIAs) of HLW Disposal”, set out the basis for site exclusi<strong>on</strong><br />

following a voluntarism approach, <strong>and</strong> led <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the Open Solicitati<strong>on</strong> in December<br />

2002. NUMO was set up as the organisati<strong>on</strong> resp<strong>on</strong>sible for delivery of a<br />

reposi<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry system, <strong>and</strong> as implementer it was made resp<strong>on</strong>sible for site selecti<strong>on</strong><br />

<strong>and</strong> characterisati<strong>on</strong>, the licensing of applicati<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong> organisati<strong>on</strong> of the<br />

programme of reposi<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry development, <strong>and</strong> overseeing the c<strong>on</strong>structi<strong>on</strong>,<br />

operati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> closure of any reposi<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry. NUMO is supervised by the Ministry of<br />

Ec<strong>on</strong>omy, Trade <strong>and</strong> Industry (METI) <strong>and</strong> funded by owners of the nuclear power<br />

reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs. The fund is managed by the Radioactive Waste Management funding<br />

<strong>and</strong> research Centre (RWMC – see below).<br />

3.107<br />

In the Japanese nuclear waste disposal programme, the term ‘<strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

Development’ is used <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> include all work aimed at building fundamental scientific<br />

underst<strong>and</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> establishing necessary technology. ‘Dem<strong>on</strong>strati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

Validati<strong>on</strong>’ (D&V) refers <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> work which c<strong>on</strong>firms that the resultant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ols, models<br />

<strong>and</strong> engineering c<strong>on</strong>cepts are practical, <strong>and</strong> builds the c<strong>on</strong>fidence needed for<br />

implementati<strong>on</strong>, licensing <strong>and</strong> public acceptance.<br />

3.108 There<br />

are several organisati<strong>on</strong>s in Japan involved in carrying out or sp<strong>on</strong>soring<br />

R&D aimed directly at supporting the nuclear waste disposal programme. These<br />

R&D organizati<strong>on</strong>s include, am<strong>on</strong>gst others the Japan A<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>mic Energy Agency<br />

(JAEA), RWMC, the Central <strong>Research</strong> Institute of Electric Power Industry<br />

(CRIEPI), Nati<strong>on</strong>al Institute of Advanced Industrial Science <strong>and</strong> Technology<br />

(AIST), Nati<strong>on</strong>al Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS), <strong>and</strong> NUMO itself. The<br />

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sp<strong>on</strong>soring organisati<strong>on</strong>s include the Agency for Natural Resources <strong>and</strong> Energy<br />

(ANRE) of METI <strong>and</strong> the Ministry of Educati<strong>on</strong>, Culture, Sports, Science <strong>and</strong><br />

Technology (MEXT).<br />

3.109 Co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> of this research infrastructure is provided through a Geological<br />

Disposal R&D Co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> Council, which was established in July 2005 under<br />

supervisi<strong>on</strong> of ANRE <strong>and</strong> involves NUMO <strong>and</strong> the other R&D providers. This coordinati<strong>on</strong><br />

resulted in producti<strong>on</strong>, by March 2007, of a framework for database<br />

integrati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> ‘roadmap’ for research in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the implementati<strong>on</strong> of geological<br />

disposal that is being followed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>day. This co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> is regarded as an<br />

essential feature of the R&D programmes, <strong>and</strong> has been put in place <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> optimise<br />

the research efforts <strong>and</strong> strategies in Japan. JAEA is the main technical support<br />

organisati<strong>on</strong> which has been promoting R&D activities such as two URLs, <strong>and</strong><br />

development of an advanced Knowledge Management System.<br />

Sweden<br />

3.110 Figure<br />

2 shows how geological disposal work is co-ordinated in Sweden.<br />

Disposal of wastes is the resp<strong>on</strong>sibility of the nuclear power utilities <strong>and</strong> a fee,<br />

supporting the Swedish Nuclear Waste Fund (SNWF), is levied by <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

<strong>on</strong> each power generating company. The nuclear power utilities have formed a<br />

jointly owned company, SKB, the Swedish nuclear fuel <strong>and</strong> waste management<br />

company 12 which is resp<strong>on</strong>sible for management, s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> geological<br />

disposal of Swedish nuclear <strong>and</strong> radioactive waste. The SNWF is used <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> fund<br />

SKB, but is also open <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> bids from other agencies such as Authorities,<br />

Municipalities <strong>and</strong> N<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g>al Organisati<strong>on</strong>s (NGOs). Investigati<strong>on</strong>s<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ward deep geological disposal in Sweden have been <strong>on</strong>going for almost 30<br />

years <strong>and</strong> are at an advanced stage. Site investigati<strong>on</strong>s focused <strong>on</strong> two<br />

prospective sites in fractured hard rock: Forsmark (municipality of Östhammar)<br />

<strong>and</strong> Laxemar (municipality of Oskarshamn), both of which were volunteer<br />

communities. SKB selected Forsmark as the site in May <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>. Spent fuel<br />

intended for the geological facility is held at an SKB interim s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage facility in<br />

Oskarshamn.<br />

12 http://www.skb.se<br />

Figure 2. Co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> of Geological Disposal Issues in Sweden<br />

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3.111 Fundamental <strong>and</strong> applied research in support of geological disposal is principally<br />

c<strong>on</strong>ducted within SKB; a small amount of additi<strong>on</strong>al independent R&D is<br />

c<strong>on</strong>ducted via the Swedish Radiati<strong>on</strong> Safety Authority (SSM) 13 , university PhD<br />

students <strong>and</strong> outside c<strong>on</strong>sultants. Every 3 years, SKB submits a research,<br />

development <strong>and</strong> dem<strong>on</strong>strati<strong>on</strong> programme (the FUD programme) <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> SSM<br />

which describes SKB's planned scientific <strong>and</strong> sociological research. The<br />

programme is reviewed by SSM, the Nati<strong>on</strong>al Council for Nuclear Waste (the<br />

Swedish equivalent <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> CoRWM) <strong>and</strong> independent overseas experts. It is also<br />

posted <strong>on</strong> the web for public c<strong>on</strong>sultati<strong>on</strong>. SSM takes all the comments made in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

account before making a recommendati<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> about the programme.<br />

The Council’s review of the 2007 SKB programme is available. 14 The Swedish<br />

NGO Office for Nuclear Waste Review (MKG) has formally requested the<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> scrutinise carefully SKB’s proposed FUD-07 programme <strong>on</strong> the<br />

grounds that new research <strong>on</strong> copper corrosi<strong>on</strong> calls in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> questi<strong>on</strong> aspects of the<br />

KBS-3 c<strong>on</strong>cept (MKG 2008).<br />

3.112 Much of the R&D in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> final s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage of spent nuclear fuel has taken place<br />

underground in the Äspö Hard Rock Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry, north of Oskarshamn. The Äspö<br />

research facility has been the focus of much fundamental geosphere research<br />

activity as well as supporting the development <strong>and</strong> testing of technological<br />

disposal soluti<strong>on</strong>s. Experiments are carried out at a depth of about 500 metres in<br />

collaborati<strong>on</strong> with Swedish <strong>and</strong> internati<strong>on</strong>al experts; Äspö has played a central<br />

role in a large number of EU nuclear-related research programmes.<br />

3.113 Results of Swedish R&D are published in a series of reports, all of which are<br />

independently peer reviewed, often by internati<strong>on</strong>al experts including some from<br />

the UK, freely available <strong>and</strong> downloadable from SKB’s website. Some research is<br />

also published in academic journals.<br />

Finl<strong>and</strong><br />

3.114 In 1994, the Nuclear Energy Act came in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> force in Finl<strong>and</strong>, according <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> which all<br />

nuclear waste must be treated, s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red <strong>and</strong> disposed of in Finl<strong>and</strong>. Detailed site<br />

investigati<strong>on</strong>s began at four sites in 1993, resulting in the recommendati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

selecti<strong>on</strong> of a single site, in the bedrock of Eurajoki’s Olkiluo<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> isl<strong>and</strong>, in<br />

December 2000.<br />

3.115 Since 1994, research, development <strong>and</strong> planning work for geological disposal in<br />

Finl<strong>and</strong> has been carried out by Posiva Oy, a company jointly formed by the<br />

nuclear power companies Teollisuuden Voima Oy (TVO) <strong>and</strong> Imatran Voima Oy<br />

(IVO). R&D is principally supported by the excavati<strong>on</strong> of the underground rock<br />

characterisati<strong>on</strong> facility, ONKALO, as part of the site investigati<strong>on</strong>s carried out in<br />

Olkiluo<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>. At depth investigati<strong>on</strong>s in the Olkiluo<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> rock characterisati<strong>on</strong> facility are<br />

underway. The R&D programme reports in 3-year periods <strong>and</strong> is reviewed by the<br />

regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r (STUK).<br />

3.116 Finl<strong>and</strong> also has a Public Sec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r <strong>Research</strong> Programme aimed at supporting the<br />

regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry activities <strong>and</strong> maintaining expertise in nati<strong>on</strong>al research institutes;<br />

13 The Swedish Radiati<strong>on</strong> Safety Authority (SSM) was formed in July 2008 by merging the<br />

Swedish Radiati<strong>on</strong> Protecti<strong>on</strong> Institute (SSI) <strong>and</strong> the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rate (SKI).<br />

14 http://www.karnavfallsradet.se/Uploads/Files/337.pdf<br />

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funded at €1.5m per annum collected from licence holders. Several nati<strong>on</strong>al<br />

research institutes participate in the programme which is focused <strong>on</strong> disposal of<br />

spent nuclear fuel.<br />

Canada<br />

3.117 Canada has been investigating geological disposal since the 1970s. Until 2002,<br />

A<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>mic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL) was resp<strong>on</strong>sible for the programme, which<br />

focused <strong>on</strong> the rocks of the Canadian shield. Much of the research was<br />

undertaken at Whiteshell Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ries, near Winnipeg. A URL was built in the<br />

1980s at a site that would not be used for a GDF. There was an extensive review<br />

of policy for the l<strong>on</strong>g-term management of highly active wastes in the late 1990s,<br />

which c<strong>on</strong>cluded that the technical feasibility of geological disposal had been<br />

dem<strong>on</strong>strated but its public acceptability had not.<br />

3.118 Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organizati<strong>on</strong> (NWMO) was established in<br />

2002 <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> investigate approaches for managing Canada’s spent nuclear fuel.<br />

NWMO made recommendati<strong>on</strong>s <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> in 2005. In June 2007, the<br />

Canadian <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> selected Adaptive Phased Management (APM) as the<br />

approach for l<strong>on</strong>g-term management of spent fuel, which has at its end-point,<br />

geological disposal. NWMO is currently c<strong>on</strong>sulting <strong>on</strong> a siting process that is<br />

based <strong>on</strong> communities volunteering <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> host a GDF. The geological disposal<br />

project will involve the creati<strong>on</strong> of a “centre of expertise” for technical,<br />

envir<strong>on</strong>mental <strong>and</strong> community studies related <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the design <strong>and</strong> operati<strong>on</strong> of<br />

GDFs. This centre will “become the hub for nati<strong>on</strong>al <strong>and</strong> internati<strong>on</strong>al scientific<br />

collaborati<strong>on</strong> for many decades”. 15<br />

3.119 NWMO’s technical R&D programme is currently focused <strong>on</strong> developing <strong>and</strong><br />

evaluating c<strong>on</strong>ceptual designs for a deep geological reposi<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry, improving the<br />

readiness for site evaluati<strong>on</strong>s, used fuel transportati<strong>on</strong>, <strong>and</strong> preliminary safety<br />

assessments of potential c<strong>and</strong>idate host sites for l<strong>on</strong>g-term management of spent<br />

fuel.<br />

3.120 To ensure independent review of Canadian R&D for APM, the Independent<br />

Technical Review Group (ITRG) has been established. ITRG annually assesses<br />

the appropriateness of NWMO's scientific <strong>and</strong> technical approaches <strong>and</strong><br />

methodologies, <strong>and</strong> compares them with internati<strong>on</strong>al best practice. The group is<br />

also required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> assess the resources NWMO has <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> address technical issues<br />

which may arise during the siting process. Current ITRG members are from<br />

Canada, Sweden, Switzerl<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> the UK <strong>and</strong> members are either academics or<br />

have significant experience in internati<strong>on</strong>al work <strong>on</strong> radioactive waste disposal.<br />

3.121 In early <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>, NWMO became resp<strong>on</strong>sible for the development <strong>and</strong> c<strong>on</strong>structi<strong>on</strong><br />

of the GDF for ILW <strong>and</strong> LLW that is <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be established beneath the Bruce nuclear<br />

power stati<strong>on</strong>. Another recent development is that AECL is c<strong>on</strong>structing a new<br />

dry s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage facility for legacy wastes <strong>and</strong> spent fuels at its Chalk River site, <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

used until a GDF is available. 16<br />

15 http://www.nwmo.ca/<br />

16 http://www.aecl.ca/Development/SD-WMD/FPSP.htm<br />

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France<br />

3.122 There are six major groups that c<strong>on</strong>tribute <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> nuclear R&D in France. These are<br />

the utilities, Electricité de France (EDF), Areva <strong>and</strong> GdF-Suez; the A<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>mic Energy<br />

Commissi<strong>on</strong> (CEA); the nati<strong>on</strong>al waste management organisati<strong>on</strong> (ANDRA); the<br />

Nati<strong>on</strong>al <strong>Research</strong> Agency (CNRS); the regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry body, the Nuclear Safety<br />

Authority (ASN); the <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> via its Ministry for Ec<strong>on</strong>omy <strong>and</strong> Industry; <strong>and</strong><br />

Parliament, through its commissi<strong>on</strong>ing of the Nati<strong>on</strong>al Evaluati<strong>on</strong> Commissi<strong>on</strong><br />

(CNE) <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> provide independent assessment of R&D.<br />

3.123 France has investigated the geological disposal of higher activity radioactive<br />

waste since the 1970s. Throughout the 1970s <strong>and</strong> 1980s, disposal R&D was<br />

carried out by ANDRA, which was then a divisi<strong>on</strong> of the CEA. There was a major<br />

step-change in organisati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> in 1991 when Law 91-1381 was<br />

passed. This specified that there was <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be R&D <strong>on</strong> three major <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics:<br />

• partiti<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> transmutati<strong>on</strong> (P&T)<br />

• waste packaging <strong>and</strong> the effects of l<strong>on</strong>g-term surface s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage<br />

• geological disposal.<br />

3.124 The geological disposal programme was <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> include the development of at least<br />

two URLs in different types of rock. The law made ANDRA a public service<br />

company, separate from the CEA. ANDRA was given resp<strong>on</strong>sibility for coordinati<strong>on</strong><br />

of R&D related <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> interim s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> geological disposal. CEA was<br />

given resp<strong>on</strong>sibility for co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> of R&D in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> P&T, mostly performed by the<br />

CEA <strong>and</strong> CNRS (Niel, 1996). The law stipulated that by 2006 the government<br />

had <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> submit <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> Parliament an overall assessment of the research c<strong>on</strong>cerning<br />

high level, l<strong>on</strong>g-lived waste, with a draft law authorising, if appropriate, the<br />

creati<strong>on</strong> of a disposal facility for these wastes.<br />

3.125 The 1991 law also established the CNE <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> m<strong>on</strong>i<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r the R&D work carried out by,<br />

or <strong>on</strong> behalf of, ANDRA <strong>and</strong> CEA, <strong>and</strong> report <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> parliament <strong>on</strong> progress. The<br />

annual reports produced by the CNE <strong>on</strong> ANDRA <strong>and</strong> CEA activities are reviewed<br />

by the Parliamentary Office <strong>on</strong> the Assessment of Scientific <strong>and</strong> Technological<br />

Opti<strong>on</strong>s (OPECST). In 2006, OPECST produced a report <strong>on</strong> the state of<br />

radioactive waste management in France, following a major review of ANDRA<br />

<strong>and</strong> CEA progress by the CNE in 2005. On the basis of this review <strong>and</strong> report, in<br />

June 2006 a parliamentary Act was passed in which phased deep geological<br />

disposal was selected as the preferred opti<strong>on</strong> for HLW, at a site <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be selected by<br />

2015, following c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> interim surface s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage. This Act also required<br />

that R&D would c<strong>on</strong>tinue in the URL in the clays<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ne / mudrocks at Bure, in<br />

north-eastern France, <strong>and</strong> that any facility should incorporate 'reversibility' at<br />

every stage.<br />

3.126 Recent <strong>and</strong> <strong>on</strong>-going R&D programmes in France c<strong>on</strong>tinue <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be divided in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

three thematic areas c<strong>on</strong>sistent with the 1991 Law <strong>and</strong> 2006 Act (CNE, 2006;<br />

Flocard, 2006). CEA deals with P&T, packaging <strong>and</strong> interim s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage. ANDRA<br />

deals with geological disposal <strong>and</strong> l<strong>on</strong>ger term s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage (including underground<br />

s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage).<br />

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3.127 The radioactive waste management research being c<strong>on</strong>ducted by ANDRA<br />

principally takes the form of joint programmes at a nati<strong>on</strong>al, European or<br />

internati<strong>on</strong>al level (L<strong>and</strong>ais, 2008). ANDRA is str<strong>on</strong>gly involved in FP6 <strong>and</strong> FP7<br />

European research initiatives, <strong>and</strong> acts as both a c<strong>on</strong>tribu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r (e.g. FORGE) <strong>and</strong><br />

co-ordina<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r in these. It also acts as the co-ordinating body for French<br />

c<strong>on</strong>tributi<strong>on</strong>s <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> wider internati<strong>on</strong>al programmes, such as the ‘development of<br />

coupled THCM models <strong>and</strong> their validati<strong>on</strong> against experiments’ (DECOVALEX).<br />

At nati<strong>on</strong>al level, the public sec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r research partners are the government-funded<br />

CNRS (Nati<strong>on</strong>al Centre for Scientific <strong>Research</strong>), which supports a number of<br />

nati<strong>on</strong>al centres <strong>and</strong> institutes in various technical areas, <strong>and</strong> the universities,<br />

which have co-ordinated their acti<strong>on</strong>s in this area through the PACE programme<br />

(Programme sur l'aval du cycle électr<strong>on</strong>ucléaire) organised around research<br />

c<strong>on</strong>sortia <strong>on</strong> important research themes. Organisati<strong>on</strong>s from within the nuclear<br />

industry (e.g. EDF, Areva), <strong>and</strong> also the CEA, participate in many of the research<br />

c<strong>on</strong>sortia. Some examples of recent c<strong>on</strong>sortia include:<br />

Forpro (FORmati<strong>on</strong> géologique PROf<strong>on</strong>de) [Deep Geological Formati<strong>on</strong>],<br />

which covers research in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> <strong>and</strong> within underground labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ries <strong>and</strong> involves<br />

ANDRA <strong>and</strong> CEA;<br />

Gede<strong>on</strong> (GEsti<strong>on</strong> des DEchets par des Opti<strong>on</strong>s Nouvelles) [Waste<br />

Management through New Opti<strong>on</strong>s], which has focused <strong>on</strong> sub-critical<br />

accelera<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r driven systems <strong>and</strong> thorium-based fuel, <strong>and</strong> has involved CEA,<br />

CNRS, EDF <strong>and</strong> Areva;<br />

Nomade (NOuvelles MAtrices DEchets) [New Waste Matrices], which is<br />

focused <strong>on</strong> the study of new c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing matrices, <strong>and</strong> involves CEA <strong>and</strong><br />

CNRS;<br />

MoMaS (MOdélisati<strong>on</strong> MAthématique et Simulati<strong>on</strong>s numériques)<br />

[Mathematical Modeling <strong>and</strong> Digital Simulati<strong>on</strong>s], which aims <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop<br />

advanced models <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> simulate radioactive waste management problems <strong>and</strong><br />

involves CEA, CNRS, ANDRA, BRGM, <strong>and</strong> EDF;<br />

Practis (Physico-chimie de Radioéléments, des ACTinides, aux Interfaces et<br />

en Soluti<strong>on</strong>s) [Physical-chemistry of Radioelements, Actinides, Interfaces<br />

<strong>and</strong> Soluti<strong>on</strong>s], which involves CEA, CNRS, EDF <strong>and</strong> ANDRA.<br />

3.128 The CNRS maintains research institutes, for example the Nati<strong>on</strong>al Institute for<br />

Earth Sciences <strong>and</strong> Astr<strong>on</strong>omy (INSU) <strong>and</strong> the Institute Nati<strong>on</strong>al de Physique<br />

Nucléaire et de Physique des Particules (IN2P3), which c<strong>on</strong>tribute <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> R&D<br />

programmes <strong>on</strong> radioactive waste or are likely <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> in the future. The current CNRS<br />

interdisciplinary theme, ‘Energy’, appears <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be geared, <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> some extent, <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>wards<br />

facilitating R&D in radioactive waste disposal through co-operative programmes<br />

linked in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the ANDRA <strong>and</strong> CEA research themes.<br />

3.129 The CNRS follow-<strong>on</strong> programme after PACE covering 2006-2011 is PACEN<br />

(Programme pour l’Aval du Cycle Electro-Nucleaire). The theme areas in PACEN<br />

cover the following subjects.<br />

• Transmutati<strong>on</strong>, which is largely related <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> energy development.<br />

• Partiti<strong>on</strong>ing, including both pyrochemical <strong>and</strong> hydrometallurgical<br />

technologies.<br />

• Geological characterisati<strong>on</strong> via <strong>on</strong>going research under Forpro <strong>and</strong> PARIS.<br />

The latter research c<strong>on</strong>sortium is focused <strong>on</strong> deep drilling of the Paris Basin<br />

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<strong>and</strong> in c<strong>on</strong>cert with Forpro is designed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> advance underst<strong>and</strong>ing of water<br />

<strong>and</strong> gas reacti<strong>on</strong>s, m<strong>on</strong>i<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ring, underground chemistry, <strong>and</strong> the importance<br />

of interacti<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong> feedbacks <strong>on</strong> scales from micr<strong>on</strong>s <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> metres. The MoMaS<br />

c<strong>on</strong>sortium c<strong>on</strong>tinues <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> 2011 <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop modelling simulati<strong>on</strong>s that<br />

incorporate multiphase flows <strong>and</strong> coupled behaviour, quantificati<strong>on</strong> of<br />

uncertainties <strong>and</strong> establishment of benchmark models <strong>and</strong> modelling <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ols.<br />

• Near-field issues including waste matrices, c<strong>on</strong>tainer-clay interacti<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong><br />

interfaces.<br />

3.130 R&D in nuclear safety, transport <strong>and</strong> security is co-ordinated separately from that<br />

relating <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> radioactive waste disposal. A combined independent agency, known<br />

as the ‘Institut de Radioprotecti<strong>on</strong> et de Sûreté Nucléaire’ (IRSN), was<br />

established in 2002 with the role of advising <strong>and</strong> briefing the regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs <strong>on</strong> issues<br />

relating <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> radiological risk <strong>and</strong> nuclear safety. IRSN was given resp<strong>on</strong>sibility for<br />

research in:<br />

• nuclear safety<br />

• safe transport of radioactive materials<br />

• health <strong>and</strong> envir<strong>on</strong>ment radiati<strong>on</strong> protecti<strong>on</strong><br />

• physical protecti<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> c<strong>on</strong>trol of nuclear materials<br />

• protecti<strong>on</strong> of nuclear facilities <strong>and</strong> nuclear materials transport against<br />

possible attacks or sabotage.<br />

3.131 IRSN has also been placed in charge of preparing reviews of ANDRA<br />

documentati<strong>on</strong> (e.g. the Dossier Argile, 2005) for the French regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r, ASN.<br />

Role of Internati<strong>on</strong>al Organisati<strong>on</strong>s<br />

3.132 The three internati<strong>on</strong>al organisati<strong>on</strong>s that have a role in helping countries <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

define <strong>and</strong> co-ordinate their R&D programmes <strong>on</strong> radioactive waste management<br />

are the EU, the NEA of OECD <strong>and</strong> the IAEA. These organisati<strong>on</strong>s are discussed<br />

in turn below.<br />

3.133 While the financial c<strong>on</strong>tributi<strong>on</strong> from the EU (paras. 3.69-3.73) is useful, much of<br />

the value of EU research projects is in bringing participants <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>gether <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> exchange<br />

ideas <strong>and</strong> informati<strong>on</strong>. This helps EU member countries <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> make the best use of<br />

their resources, for example by each c<strong>on</strong>centrating its R&D <strong>on</strong> a particular aspect<br />

of a comm<strong>on</strong> problem <strong>and</strong> then pooling their results.<br />

3.134 The NEA’s general objective in its radioactive waste management work is <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

c<strong>on</strong>tribute <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the adopti<strong>on</strong> of safe <strong>and</strong> efficient policies <strong>and</strong> practices in its<br />

member countries. It focuses <strong>on</strong> geological disposal of HLW <strong>and</strong> spent fuel. Its<br />

work is supervised by its Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC),<br />

which is assisted by three working parties: 17<br />

• Forum <strong>on</strong> Stakeholder C<strong>on</strong>fidence<br />

• Integrati<strong>on</strong> Group for the Safety Case (IGSC)<br />

• Working Party <strong>on</strong> Management of Materials from Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong><br />

Dismantling.<br />

17 http://www.nea.fr/html/rwm/<br />

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3.135 RWMC <strong>and</strong> its working parties provide the overall forum for exchange of<br />

informati<strong>on</strong>, which is achieved through meetings <strong>and</strong> the producti<strong>on</strong> of reports.<br />

Detailed technical work is carried out by means of working groups, <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pical<br />

sessi<strong>on</strong>s, workshops, symposia <strong>and</strong> technical reviews. NEA also organises<br />

internati<strong>on</strong>al peer reviews of nati<strong>on</strong>al studies <strong>and</strong> projects. For example, it<br />

organised a peer review of the Dossier Argile 2005 (para. 3.131) by a team of<br />

independent specialists from various countries. The review covered research <strong>and</strong><br />

safety assessment. Two of the aims of the review were <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> determine whether the<br />

future research needs identified in the Dossier were c<strong>on</strong>sistent with the existing<br />

knowledge base <strong>and</strong> whether the stated research priorities were appropriate.<br />

3.136 RWMC is currently carrying out a project <strong>on</strong> reversibility <strong>and</strong> retrievability in<br />

geological disposal. Current IGSC activities include:<br />

• a working group <strong>on</strong> the characterisati<strong>on</strong>, underst<strong>and</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> performance<br />

of argillaceous rocks for geological disposal (the “Clay Club”)<br />

• a project <strong>on</strong> approaches <strong>and</strong> methods for integrating geological<br />

informati<strong>on</strong> in GDF safety cases<br />

• a project <strong>on</strong> sorpti<strong>on</strong> of radi<strong>on</strong>uclides <strong>on</strong> geological media<br />

• a project <strong>on</strong> engineered barrier systems<br />

• maintaining a database of features, events <strong>and</strong> processes (FEPs) that<br />

need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be c<strong>on</strong>sidered in GDF post-closure safety cases<br />

• a thermodynamic database project.<br />

3.137 IAEA’s work <strong>on</strong> radioactive waste management is carried out by its Department<br />

of Nuclear Safety <strong>and</strong> Security. It includes establishing safety st<strong>and</strong>ards,<br />

producing guidance <strong>on</strong> the applicati<strong>on</strong> of safety st<strong>and</strong>ards <strong>and</strong> sending teams of<br />

experts <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> developing countries <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> assist them in policy, regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry <strong>and</strong> practical<br />

aspects of waste management.<br />

3.138 IAEA also organises Co-ordinated <strong>Research</strong> Projects (CRPs) that are designed<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> encourage the acquisiti<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> disseminati<strong>on</strong> of new knowledge. 18 CRPs<br />

involve developed countries, which pay for their own research <strong>and</strong> participati<strong>on</strong>,<br />

<strong>and</strong> developing countries, which are funded by IAEA. The results of CRPs are<br />

published by IAEA. A CRP <strong>on</strong> the use of numerical models in support of site<br />

characterisati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> performance assessment studies for GDFs has been<br />

running since 2005 <strong>and</strong> is due <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> end in 2010.<br />

3.139 In additi<strong>on</strong>, IAEA runs knowledge transfer networks. There is a “Network of<br />

Centres of Excellence” in training <strong>and</strong> dem<strong>on</strong>strati<strong>on</strong> of radioactive waste<br />

underground research facilities, the “URF Network”. 19 This has been running<br />

since 2001. Its “members” are countries that have URFs <strong>and</strong> associated<br />

labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ries that they offer for training, dem<strong>on</strong>strati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> research activities by<br />

“participants”, that is countries that do not have such facilities. The URF Network<br />

has 9 members <strong>and</strong> 21 participants. The UK is a member <strong>and</strong> the<br />

Geoenvir<strong>on</strong>mental <strong>Research</strong> Centre, Cardiff University, is its centre of<br />

excellence. The objectives of the URF Network are <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>:<br />

18 http://www-crp.iaea.org/<br />

19 http://www.iaea.org/OurWork/ST/NE/NEFW/wts_URF_homepage.html<br />

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• encourage the transfer <strong>and</strong> preservati<strong>on</strong> of knowledge <strong>and</strong> technologies<br />

• work <strong>on</strong> soluti<strong>on</strong>s for countries that at present do not have URFs<br />

• supplement nati<strong>on</strong>al efforts <strong>and</strong> promote public c<strong>on</strong>fidence in radioactive<br />

waste disposal schemes<br />

• c<strong>on</strong>tribute <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the resoluti<strong>on</strong> of key technical issues.<br />

C<strong>on</strong>clusi<strong>on</strong>s <strong>on</strong> UK R&D Programme<br />

3.140 Many organisati<strong>on</strong>s in the UK are involved in funding <strong>and</strong> carrying out R&D<br />

relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the management of higher activity wastes. These include NDA <strong>and</strong> its<br />

SLCs, other nuclear industry organisati<strong>on</strong>s (civil <strong>and</strong> defence), the NNL, the<br />

regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs, the <strong>Research</strong> Councils, universities, <strong>and</strong> c<strong>on</strong>sultants <strong>and</strong> c<strong>on</strong>trac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs.<br />

CoRWM’s c<strong>on</strong>clusi<strong>on</strong>s <strong>on</strong> UK R&D programmes relate mainly <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> co-ordinati<strong>on</strong><br />

within <strong>and</strong> between these organisati<strong>on</strong>s.<br />

NDA <strong>and</strong> Other Nuclear Industry Organisati<strong>on</strong>s<br />

3.141 NDA has made a good start in some respects. The TBuRD system is designed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

ensure SLCs identify R&D requirements <strong>and</strong> the NWRF aims <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensure R&D<br />

needs are discussed between SLCs, British Energy <strong>and</strong> regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs at a technical<br />

level. RWMD has developed its R&D Strategy for geological disposal <strong>and</strong> will<br />

produce a more detailed document setting out its forward programme of R&D.<br />

CoRWM underst<strong>and</strong>s that RWMD is in the process of setting up an advisory<br />

panel <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> assist it in developing its programme. NDA also funds R&D relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

its missi<strong>on</strong> directly, for example, through its DRP.<br />

3.142 However, there seems <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be little strategic co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> of SLC, RWMD <strong>and</strong><br />

DRP R&D within NDA. In particular, it is not clear how RWMD R&D <strong>on</strong> geological<br />

disposal will be co-ordinated with the R&D by NDA <strong>and</strong> its SLCs <strong>on</strong> waste<br />

c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing, packaging <strong>and</strong> s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage, or <strong>on</strong> the management of spent fuels,<br />

plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium <strong>and</strong> uranium. NDA seems <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> see R&D <strong>on</strong>ly as an adjunct <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> its<br />

strategy work, not something <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> which it should also have a strategic approach.<br />

3.143 Various groups set up by NDA, for example the NWRF, involve other nuclear<br />

industry organisati<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong> the regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs. As far as CoRWM has been able <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

determine, these groups are useful for identifying gaps <strong>and</strong> overlaps in R&D.<br />

However, they are not set up <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> provide strategic co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> of R&D nor <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

agree nuclear industry R&D priorities at a nati<strong>on</strong>al level. As a result, they cannot<br />

ensure that key issues are addressed in a timely way or that the best use is<br />

made of resources.<br />

Regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs<br />

3.144 HSE has a resp<strong>on</strong>sibility <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensure that appropriate nuclear safety research<br />

programmes are carried out <strong>and</strong> that the results are disseminated. This includes<br />

nuclear safety research related <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the management of higher activity wastes.<br />

HSE publishes a Nuclear Safety <strong>Research</strong> Strategy that covers both research<br />

that it will commissi<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> research that it expects nuclear site licensees <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

undertake. The mechanism for deriving nati<strong>on</strong>al nuclear safety research<br />

requirements is well-established <strong>and</strong> has input from an independent expert<br />

group. HSE can recover the costs of its own research from licensees.<br />

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3.145 EA <strong>and</strong> SEPA commissi<strong>on</strong> research in support of their regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry roles <strong>and</strong><br />

influence nuclear industry organisati<strong>on</strong>s <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> carry out research <strong>on</strong> the<br />

management of radioactive wastes. They recover some of their costs from the<br />

industry. The EA research budget is small compared <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the expenditure of the<br />

corresp<strong>on</strong>ding regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r in the 1980s <strong>and</strong> 1990s. In CoRWM’s view, the EA will<br />

need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> commissi<strong>on</strong> more research in the later stages of the MRWS programme<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support it in its role as a regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r of geological disposal. CoRWM also thinks<br />

that, as Scottish <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> policy is developed <strong>and</strong> implemented, SEPA will<br />

need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> commissi<strong>on</strong> research related <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> its regulati<strong>on</strong> of the management of<br />

higher activity wastes.<br />

<strong>Research</strong> Councils<br />

3.146 The UK has seven <strong>Research</strong> Councils. Five of these are relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> R&D <strong>on</strong> the<br />

management of higher activity wastes. These <strong>Research</strong> Councils support<br />

research in their own institutes <strong>and</strong> provide research grants <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> universities. They<br />

are the main funders of fundamental research, while the nuclear industry focuses<br />

<strong>on</strong> applied research <strong>and</strong> <strong>on</strong> development.<br />

3.147 At present there is no process for identifying where fundamental research is<br />

needed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> underpin <strong>and</strong> complement applied research <strong>on</strong> the management of<br />

higher activity wastes. Only the EPSRC has a clear mechanism for obtaining<br />

input from the nuclear industry <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> its programmes. This mechanism is not<br />

focused <strong>on</strong> fundamental research, nor does it involve c<strong>on</strong>tact between the<br />

prospective researchers, who should be providing the ideas, <strong>and</strong> the industry,<br />

who will use the results. CoRWM believes that, in general, there is an overemphasis<br />

<strong>on</strong> applied research within the <strong>Research</strong> Councils, <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the detriment of<br />

the MRWS programme.<br />

3.148 CoRWM has found that there is insufficient co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> between the various<br />

<strong>Research</strong> Councils at a strategic level <strong>on</strong> radioactive waste-management-related<br />

issues. There is also insufficient co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> between the <strong>Research</strong> Councils,<br />

the nuclear industry <strong>and</strong> the regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs.<br />

3.149 In additi<strong>on</strong>, CoRWM has some c<strong>on</strong>cerns about specific <strong>Research</strong> Councils.<br />

These can be summarised as follows.<br />

• EPSRC makes <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>o little use of funding strategies other than managed<br />

calls; these calls are perceived <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be heavily influenced by the nuclear<br />

industry.<br />

• NERC has been slow <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> resp<strong>on</strong>d <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the needs of the MRWS programme.<br />

• BBSRC is not currently funding any research specific <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> radioactive waste<br />

management, unlike its counterparts in other countries.<br />

• As far as CoRWM is aware, STFC is not taking any steps <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensure that<br />

independent research can be carried out in the active facilities operated<br />

by the NNL.<br />

EU <strong>Research</strong> Funding<br />

3.150 The UK does participate in EU Framework Programmes but <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a lesser extent<br />

than in the past. Several EU colleagues have commented <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> CoRWM members<br />

about the limited participati<strong>on</strong> of UK universities in Framework Programmes in<br />

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comparis<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> other countries with similar sized nuclear industries. One reas<strong>on</strong><br />

for this may be that UK participants have difficulty in obtaining funding <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> match<br />

the EU c<strong>on</strong>tributi<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> cover the full ec<strong>on</strong>omic costs of participati<strong>on</strong>.<br />

3.151 In CoRWM’s view, the UK should make increased efforts not <strong>on</strong>ly <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> participate in<br />

but also <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> influence Framework Programmes <strong>on</strong> R&D for the management of<br />

higher activity wastes. It is also important that effective use is made of knowledge<br />

gained in past Framework Programmes.<br />

Learned Societies<br />

3.152 There is good co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> emerging am<strong>on</strong>g the Learned Societies <strong>and</strong> good<br />

communicati<strong>on</strong> with their members <strong>on</strong> radioactive waste management issues,<br />

including geological disposal. As well-respected <strong>and</strong> independent instituti<strong>on</strong>s<br />

they should prove very useful in helping <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> inform a technical <strong>and</strong> wider public<br />

audience about the MRWS programme, as well as developing the skills base<br />

through their members. However, CoRWM does not believe the Learned<br />

Societies are in a positi<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> provide strategic co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> of R&D.<br />

Past UK Co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> of R&D<br />

3.153 In the past, there were mechanisms for strategic co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> of UK waste<br />

management R&D. These were <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g>-led because at that time<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> departments funded a c<strong>on</strong>siderable amount of R&D <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support<br />

policy development. The co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> mechanisms ceased <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> exist in the 1990s,<br />

after <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> departments had scaled back their R&D <strong>on</strong> HLW disposal.<br />

After the RCF decisi<strong>on</strong> in 1997, there was further scaling back by Nirex <strong>and</strong> by<br />

the regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs. Nuclear industry R&D increasingly focused <strong>on</strong> immediate needs,<br />

rather than l<strong>on</strong>g-term waste management issues <strong>and</strong> the <strong>Research</strong> Councils <strong>and</strong><br />

academic communities reduced their programmes as <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> <strong>and</strong> industry<br />

funding diminished.<br />

3.154 CoRWM c<strong>on</strong>sidered whether the co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> mechanisms used in the past<br />

could be applied <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>day. It c<strong>on</strong>cluded that they could not. Although the number of<br />

key players now is similar <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> what it was, the players’ roles <strong>and</strong> resp<strong>on</strong>sibilities<br />

are very different. In particular, <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> neither directly funds nor leads R&D<br />

programmes. Further, past co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> mechanisms relied largely <strong>on</strong><br />

discussi<strong>on</strong>s behind closed doors <strong>and</strong> st<strong>and</strong>ards of openness <strong>and</strong> transparency<br />

are much higher <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>day.<br />

Public <strong>and</strong> Stakeholder Engagement<br />

3.155 There is little opportunity for stakeholders outside the R&D funding <strong>and</strong> providing<br />

organisati<strong>on</strong>s <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> influence UK R&D programmes <strong>on</strong> radioactive waste<br />

management. Most fora at which R&D requirements are discussed are closed<br />

<strong>and</strong> much R&D is regarded as “commercial” so the results are not published.<br />

3.156 CoRWM believes that this situati<strong>on</strong> must change if a wide range of stakeholders<br />

<strong>and</strong> the public are <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> have c<strong>on</strong>fidence that higher activity wastes will be managed<br />

safely in the l<strong>on</strong>g term. More stakeholders should be involved in establishing<br />

R&D requirements. Accessible informati<strong>on</strong> should be made available <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

public about R&D needs, plans <strong>and</strong> progress.<br />

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Internati<strong>on</strong>al Experience<br />

3.157 Countries such as Sweden <strong>and</strong> Finl<strong>and</strong> have good mechanisms for co-ordinating<br />

R&D but the waste inven<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ries they have <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> deal with are orders of magnitude<br />

smaller <strong>and</strong> simpler than in the UK, <strong>and</strong> their <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g>, regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry <strong>and</strong><br />

nuclear industry structures are less complex. The Swedish scheme of<br />

submissi<strong>on</strong> of the forward R&D programme <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs every 3 years, wide<br />

c<strong>on</strong>sultati<strong>on</strong>, <strong>and</strong> subsequent recommendati<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> by the<br />

regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r (SSM) is commendable. The French system with a nati<strong>on</strong>al commissi<strong>on</strong><br />

evaluating the R&D <strong>and</strong> producing annual reports that are reviewed by a<br />

parliamentary commissi<strong>on</strong> also has much merit. The USA has mechanisms for<br />

co-ordinating geological disposal research but does not appear <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> have good<br />

mechanisms for co-ordinating other radioactive waste management research.<br />

The workshops organised by DOE in the USA are very good for discussing R&D<br />

requirements. CoRWM believes that similar workshops should be held in the UK,<br />

with participants from the European Uni<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> other countries.<br />

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4.1 In keeping with its terms of reference <strong>and</strong> as part of its scrutiny of the R&D<br />

undertaken, CoRWM is seeking <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> reassure itself that an appropriate skills base<br />

is, or will be, available <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the UK <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> undertake R&D <strong>and</strong> that R&D is integrated<br />

in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> skills development activities as an essential comp<strong>on</strong>ent in developing highlevel<br />

skills (Secti<strong>on</strong> 1). R&D skills <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support the MRWS programme have <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

viewed as part of a wider nuclear industry skills issue although some ‘new’ skills,<br />

particularly those associated with geological disposal, will be required. As with<br />

many existing skills, some of these new skills are available, <strong>and</strong> should be<br />

transferable, from n<strong>on</strong>-nuclear areas such as the hydrocarb<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> civil<br />

engineering industries. This secti<strong>on</strong> focuses <strong>on</strong> R&D skills relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> MRWS but<br />

against the wider nuclear industry background.<br />

4.2 R&D skills cannot be c<strong>on</strong>sidered in isolati<strong>on</strong> from the basic training of pers<strong>on</strong>nel<br />

<strong>and</strong> the two are c<strong>on</strong>sidered in this report as integral comp<strong>on</strong>ents of the same<br />

issue. Although an attempt is made in this secti<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> separate basic skills training<br />

from research training, the boundaries are inevitably diffuse.<br />

4.3 Any attempt <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> review a c<strong>on</strong>tinuously changing situati<strong>on</strong> must inevitably date<br />

quite quickly. The informati<strong>on</strong> below has been updated <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the end of summer<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g> as far as possible, except for those data lists where a partial update would<br />

destroy the comparative basis.<br />

Skills Requirements<br />

4.4 A wide range of skills will be required for the l<strong>on</strong>g-term management of higher<br />

activity wastes, spread across many disciplines. Am<strong>on</strong>g the more obvious in the<br />

c<strong>on</strong>texts of interim s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> geological disposal are nuclear science (including<br />

nuclear physics <strong>and</strong> radiochemistry), the geosciences (including geochemistry,<br />

geophysics <strong>and</strong> hydrogeology), materials science <strong>and</strong> civil <strong>and</strong> mechanical<br />

engineering (including geotechnics <strong>and</strong> underground c<strong>on</strong>structi<strong>on</strong>). Many<br />

specialised skills will be required for the different phases of implementati<strong>on</strong> of<br />

geological disposal such as site characterisati<strong>on</strong>, c<strong>on</strong>structi<strong>on</strong>, operati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

closure of the GDF <strong>and</strong> significant R&D will be required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> remove, reduce, or<br />

quantify the underlying uncertainties so as <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> produce a satisfac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry site-specific<br />

safety case.<br />

4.5 While the emphasis in this secti<strong>on</strong> is <strong>on</strong> the skills required for R&D, the wider<br />

skills <strong>and</strong> training issues are also c<strong>on</strong>sidered <strong>and</strong> it is CoRWM’s intenti<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> deal<br />

more fully with the specialist skills required for site characterisati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> other<br />

aspects of geological disposal in its future work programme. In discussing the<br />

skills issue across the range of disciplines, it is appropriate <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> focus <strong>on</strong> those<br />

aspects that are primarily nuclear related. However, there are many n<strong>on</strong>-nuclear<br />

aspects of, for example, the geological, materials <strong>and</strong> engineering sciences, that<br />

are particularly relevant <strong>and</strong> these are dealt with in paragraph 4.35 et seq..<br />

Nuclear Skills – Current UK Situati<strong>on</strong><br />

4.6 Since 2000, a successi<strong>on</strong> of reports <strong>on</strong> nuclear skills <strong>and</strong> training (e.g.<br />

OECD/NEA, 2000; HSE-NII, 2002; NSG, 2002; Cogent, 2008) has identified a<br />

number of c<strong>on</strong>cerns including:<br />

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• a shortage of skilled manpower in the UK that could affect the defence,<br />

nuclear power <strong>and</strong> health sec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs <strong>and</strong> have serious implicati<strong>on</strong>s for the<br />

l<strong>on</strong>g-term management of radioactive wastes;<br />

• a projected requirement for 15,000 <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> 19,000 trained pers<strong>on</strong>nel <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

recruited <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the nuclear sec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r by around 2017;<br />

• a nuclear industry that has become heavily dependent <strong>on</strong> generic<br />

provisi<strong>on</strong>, i.e. recruitment of good quality graduates from n<strong>on</strong>-nuclear<br />

specific degree courses;<br />

• a fragile specialised post-graduate training sec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r in the nuclear area;<br />

• a <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>p priority of increasing vocati<strong>on</strong>al <strong>and</strong> technical skills, with a<br />

recommendati<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> quadruple the number of apprentices by 2013.<br />

4.7 The most recent report, a more detailed analysis by Cogent (Cogent, <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>),<br />

forecasts a skills gap of up <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> 14,000 by 2025, which equates <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a need for 1,000<br />

new recruits a year, with the main drivers being:<br />

• an ageing workforce that retires earlier than the UK workforce in general<br />

• a shift in skills from electricity generati<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing<br />

• a dem<strong>and</strong> for skills <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> operate a new batch of nuclear power stati<strong>on</strong>s.<br />

4.8 It is clear from all of these reports that the situati<strong>on</strong> had declined <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the point of<br />

grave c<strong>on</strong>cern <strong>and</strong>, although this has been recognised <strong>and</strong> measures begun <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

address it, arrangements are not yet adequately rebuilt for the future. This is<br />

especially the case for the decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> radioactive waste management<br />

programmes <strong>and</strong> there will be competiti<strong>on</strong> between these areas <strong>and</strong> the<br />

expected new build programme.<br />

Nuclear Skills - Training<br />

4.9 Many bodies <strong>and</strong> organisati<strong>on</strong>s are involved in the provisi<strong>on</strong> of nuclear skills in<br />

the UK <strong>and</strong> the relati<strong>on</strong>ships between them are complex (Figure 3).<br />

4.10 The current approach <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> training is based <strong>on</strong> a “skills pyramid” (Figure 4) in which<br />

the sizes of the secti<strong>on</strong>s approximate <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the relative numbers required. In keeping<br />

with the main c<strong>on</strong>clusi<strong>on</strong>s of a Cogent report (Cogent, 2008), most of the initial<br />

efforts were c<strong>on</strong>centrated <strong>on</strong> the lower part of the skills pyramid. This<br />

emphasised the skills needed at these levels <strong>and</strong> dem<strong>and</strong>ed by employers but,<br />

with this being addressed, attenti<strong>on</strong> is now turning also <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the upper areas of the<br />

pyramid.<br />

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Figure 3. UK Nuclear Skills Map<br />

Source: DECC<br />

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Figure 4. Skills Pyramid<br />

4.11 The principal ‘players’ in the provisi<strong>on</strong> of nuclear skills in the UK are the Cogent<br />

Sec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r Skills Council, the Nati<strong>on</strong>al Skills Academy for Nuclear (NSAN), NDA,<br />

NNL <strong>and</strong> the universities. However, the significant c<strong>on</strong>tributi<strong>on</strong> made by the<br />

industry through ‘<strong>on</strong> the job’ training (e.g. the Nuclear Power Academy run by<br />

British Energy at Barnwood) should not be underestimated. It is encouraging that<br />

all of these bodies are now taking steps <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> redress the situati<strong>on</strong>. The roles <strong>and</strong><br />

c<strong>on</strong>tributi<strong>on</strong>s of some of the key providers are outlined below. Training in the<br />

specialised skills required for R&D is at the <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>p of the pyramid <strong>and</strong> the current<br />

situati<strong>on</strong> is described in paragraph 4.21 et seq..<br />

Cogent<br />

4.12 The Cogent Sec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r Skills Council has recently been relicensed by <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g>,<br />

through the UK Commissi<strong>on</strong> <strong>on</strong> Employment <strong>and</strong> Skills, <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> take an overview of a<br />

wide range of science-based industries. It is an employer-led organisati<strong>on</strong> that<br />

produces educati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> training st<strong>and</strong>ards <strong>and</strong> qualificati<strong>on</strong>s for industries such<br />

as oil <strong>and</strong> gas, petrochemical <strong>and</strong> nuclear. For the nuclear industry, it works <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

deliver these through NSAN. Cogent is required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> c<strong>on</strong>duct Labour Market<br />

Intelligence (LMI) research across its industrial remit <strong>and</strong> is currently undertaking<br />

this for the civil <strong>and</strong> defence nuclear programmes, including waste management<br />

<strong>and</strong> new build (Cogent, <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>).<br />

Nati<strong>on</strong>al Skills Academy for Nuclear<br />

4.13 NSAN began operating in January 2008 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Cogent<br />

<strong>and</strong> is led <strong>and</strong> directed by its nuclear industry employer boards. Its remit is <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

address the key skills <strong>and</strong> training challenges facing the nuclear industry <strong>and</strong><br />

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ensure the availability of a skilled workforce <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> meet future dem<strong>and</strong>s. These<br />

include defence <strong>and</strong> new build in additi<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> the MRWS<br />

programme.<br />

4.14 NSAN is not a direct provider of training. It is an enabling organisati<strong>on</strong> which sets<br />

up <strong>and</strong> funds training schemes <strong>and</strong> initiatives through partnerships with training<br />

providers (schools, universities <strong>and</strong> employer organisati<strong>on</strong>s). It is funded half by<br />

employers <strong>and</strong> half by BIS but after its first three years it is expected <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be selfsustaining.<br />

It is still developing its work programme <strong>and</strong> training infrastructure. Its<br />

current approach is mainly focused <strong>on</strong> the lower levels of the skills pyramid<br />

(Figure 4), particularly vocati<strong>on</strong>al training <strong>and</strong> foundati<strong>on</strong> degrees but it is now<br />

also turning its attenti<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> higher level skills. For example, it is currently<br />

developing a post-graduate Certificate of Nuclear Professi<strong>on</strong>alism. NSAN is also<br />

trying <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> encourage mobility within the industry with initiatives like its Nuclear<br />

Skills Passport, a basic skills qualificati<strong>on</strong> that would be accepted by all<br />

employers. HSE has stated that NSAN is “a lynchpin in providing the nuclear<br />

industry with a sustainable approach <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> meeting the nuclear skills shortage”<br />

(HSE, <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>c).<br />

4.15 NSAN is a small, flexible organisati<strong>on</strong> that can resp<strong>on</strong>d quickly <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> identified<br />

needs but its remit requires it <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> focus <strong>on</strong> employer requirements. Many<br />

employers, such as SLCs, have Lifetime Plans that run well in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the next century<br />

but questi<strong>on</strong>s of prioritisati<strong>on</strong> necessitate c<strong>on</strong>centrati<strong>on</strong> of limited resources <strong>on</strong><br />

short-term issues. For NSAN <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> focus exclusively <strong>on</strong> employer requirements,<br />

therefore, runs the risk of skills needs not becoming evident in a timely manner<br />

owing <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the relatively short time horiz<strong>on</strong> of most employers (CoRWM doc. 2444).<br />

For example, developing the skills related <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> geological disposal, which require<br />

l<strong>on</strong>g lead times, may not yet be ‘<strong>on</strong> the radar’ of many nuclear industry<br />

employers. Exercises, such as Cogent’s LMI, which looks ahead <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> 2025 will help<br />

but, since this <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>o is led by employer-identified needs, it is by no means certain <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

do so.<br />

Nuclear Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing Authority<br />

4.16 The NDA’s “Skills <strong>and</strong> Capability Strategy” (NDA, 2008d) reports progress <strong>on</strong> its<br />

initiatives in this area since 2005. Its approach <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> skills <strong>and</strong> training covers all<br />

four levels of the skills pyramid, namely, the science, engineering, mathematics<br />

<strong>and</strong> technical curriculum in schools; vocati<strong>on</strong>al training; first degrees <strong>and</strong> higher<br />

degrees. The latter are more appropriate <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> skills for research <strong>and</strong> are covered in<br />

paragraph 4.21 et seq..<br />

4.17 At the schools level, NDA supports the Energy Foresight programme, led by<br />

NSAN, which aims <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> improve underst<strong>and</strong>ing of nuclear power <strong>and</strong> nuclear<br />

technology. NDA provides instructi<strong>on</strong>al <strong>and</strong> other material in support of the<br />

nati<strong>on</strong>al curriculum <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> over 400 schools. Vocati<strong>on</strong>al training initiatives are<br />

supported through NVQs in nuclear technology <strong>and</strong> decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing, <strong>and</strong> the<br />

funding of apprenticeships, both within NDA <strong>and</strong> its supply chain. Around 100<br />

apprentices a year are recruited, mainly within NDA <strong>and</strong> its SLCs (CoRWM doc.<br />

2373). The Energus facility in Cumbria opened in June <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>. It is funded by<br />

NDA, NSAN <strong>and</strong> industry employers am<strong>on</strong>g others <strong>and</strong> will train up <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> 150<br />

apprentices, mainly in support of the operati<strong>on</strong>al skills requirements for Sellafield.<br />

It also hosts higher educati<strong>on</strong> students in nuclear-related subjects through a link<br />

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with the University of Cumbria. The supply chain tends <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> find recruitment of<br />

apprentices more difficult, largely because of the short-term nature of most of its<br />

c<strong>on</strong>tracts.<br />

4.18 At the next level of the pyramid, there is support for foundati<strong>on</strong> degrees offering a<br />

mix of academic learning <strong>and</strong> <strong>on</strong>-the-job training. Working through its SLCs <strong>and</strong><br />

the supply chain, NDA attempts <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> identify the skills that will be required <strong>and</strong><br />

looks <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> NSAN as a key enabler of these up <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the foundati<strong>on</strong> degree level. For<br />

training <strong>and</strong> skills bey<strong>on</strong>d the foundati<strong>on</strong> degree, NDA sp<strong>on</strong>sors first degrees at<br />

various universities.<br />

Universities<br />

4.19 The UK situati<strong>on</strong> with regard <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the provisi<strong>on</strong> of nuclear skills through first<br />

degrees has improved <strong>on</strong>ly marginally since the HSE-NII report (HSE-NII 2002).<br />

Two universities (Imperial College <strong>and</strong> Lancaster) now offer a <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>tal of four<br />

courses with significant nuclear c<strong>on</strong>tent leading <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> an MEng degree. Details of<br />

university provisi<strong>on</strong> are given in Box 3.<br />

Box 3. Nuclear-related Undergraduate Courses<br />

Any attempt <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> outline the provisi<strong>on</strong> of courses (<strong>and</strong> research activities) in higher educati<strong>on</strong><br />

can <strong>on</strong>ly be a snapshot at the time of writing. The data <strong>on</strong> first degree courses given below<br />

(<strong>and</strong> <strong>on</strong> higher degree courses in Box 4) are based largely <strong>on</strong> informati<strong>on</strong> in the Cogent gap<br />

analysis (“A gap analysis for the nuclear industry. An investigati<strong>on</strong> in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> gaps in provisi<strong>on</strong><br />

based <strong>on</strong> current <strong>and</strong> predicted future skill needs” - www.cogent-ssc.com), <strong>on</strong> the Nuclear<br />

Liais<strong>on</strong> website (www.nuclearliais<strong>on</strong>.com) <strong>and</strong> from a presentati<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a Geological Society of<br />

L<strong>on</strong>d<strong>on</strong> meeting by JW Roberts of the University of Sheffield’s Immobilisati<strong>on</strong> Science<br />

Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry (“The s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> disposal of radioactive waste”, Geological Society of L<strong>on</strong>d<strong>on</strong>, 21<br />

May 2008).<br />

For almost 20 years prior <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> 2006, there were no first degree courses in nuclear engineering or<br />

waste management in the UK but there are now two instituti<strong>on</strong>s offering nuclear degrees,<br />

namely:<br />

• Imperial College, L<strong>on</strong>d<strong>on</strong><br />

- MEng in Mechanical <strong>and</strong> Nuclear Engineering<br />

- MEng in Chemical <strong>and</strong> Nuclear Engineering<br />

- MEng in Materials <strong>and</strong> Nuclear Engineering<br />

• Lancaster University<br />

• MEng in Nuclear Engineering.<br />

In additi<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> these, the University of Central Lancashire (John Tyndall Institute for Nuclear<br />

<strong>Research</strong>) runs a variety of nuclear-related Foundati<strong>on</strong> Degrees as part of the NSAN portfolio.<br />

4.20 Against this, much of the nuclear industry currently does not seek <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> recruit<br />

specifically nuclear-trained graduates, opting instead for good quality graduates<br />

in the physical <strong>and</strong> engineering sciences. This appears <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be a preference, rather<br />

than an enforced situati<strong>on</strong>, although we underst<strong>and</strong> that AWE is currently trying<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> increase its recruitment of nuclear-trained graduates. In recent years, the<br />

annual recruitment <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the industry has been around 500 science, engineering <strong>and</strong><br />

technology graduates but this is likely <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> rise as decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> new build<br />

proceed. Industry is keen <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> strengthen links with universities <strong>on</strong> skills<br />

development but notes that the timescales for achieving this are 5-10 years,<br />

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which is l<strong>on</strong>ger than the competiti<strong>on</strong>-based c<strong>on</strong>tract arrangements that tend <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

used for many projects.<br />

Nuclear Skills – Higher Level Skills for R&D<br />

4.21 Figure 5 illustrates the decline in numbers employed in UK nuclear fissi<strong>on</strong>-related<br />

R&D from nearly 9,000 in 1980 <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> around 1,000 in 2004. Over the last 5 years,<br />

the number has remained at about this level, of which, around 750 are employed<br />

by the NNL. The closure of many R&D facilities <strong>and</strong> the associated decline in<br />

pers<strong>on</strong>nel has left the UK’s capability for nuclear R&D significantly depleted.<br />

4.22 The principal organisati<strong>on</strong>s providing training in the nuclear-related research<br />

skills needed for the R&D <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> underpin the MRWS programme are the universities,<br />

NDA (<strong>and</strong> some of its SLCs) <strong>and</strong> NNL. Other nuclear industry organisati<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong><br />

the industry’s supply chain also provide training, but the latter often have<br />

difficulties planning <strong>and</strong> supporting high-level training over 3 years or more owing<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the short-term nature of their c<strong>on</strong>tracts. Although not providers of training,<br />

Cogent <strong>and</strong> NSAN are working <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop “products” <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> help <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> sustain this<br />

important resource <strong>and</strong> NSAN has recently announced a round of bursaries <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

support training all the way up the pyramid. There is clear evidence that the<br />

situati<strong>on</strong> is improving gradually but there is still some way <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> go.<br />

Figure 5. Illustrative decline in manpower employed in nuclear fissi<strong>on</strong> related<br />

R&D<br />

Source: NNL<br />

Universities<br />

4.23 <strong>Research</strong> skills appropriate <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> nuclear R&D activities are provided in the higher<br />

educati<strong>on</strong> sec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r over a range of levels <strong>and</strong> disciplines. Starting with taught<br />

Master degrees, most of which involve research projects, these opportunities<br />

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advance through research-based Master degrees <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> Doc<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rates (PhDs) <strong>and</strong> postdoc<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ral<br />

research.<br />

4.24 There are fourteen taught Master courses in the nuclear-related technical <strong>and</strong><br />

scientific disciplines currently available in the UK. These are listed in Box 4.<br />

Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> clean-up are reas<strong>on</strong>ably well represented but there are<br />

few of direct relevance <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> interim s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage or geological disposal. The principal<br />

excepti<strong>on</strong>s are the MSc degree offered by the NTEC c<strong>on</strong>sortium <strong>and</strong> the MSc in<br />

Nuclear Envir<strong>on</strong>mental Science <strong>and</strong> Technology offered by the University of<br />

Sheffield (Box 4).<br />

4.25 A range of PhD research training is available in universities, with PhD provisi<strong>on</strong><br />

particularly relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the MRWS programme c<strong>on</strong>centrated in: the University<br />

<strong>Research</strong> Alliances (URAs); the nuclear research c<strong>on</strong>sortia; <strong>and</strong> a number of<br />

other smaller university research groups undertaking research <strong>and</strong> providing<br />

training in nuclear-related areas (see Box 4).<br />

4.26 The four BNFL URAs were established in 1999-2001 as a resp<strong>on</strong>se <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

decline in the UK research skills base as described in Box 4. Following their initial<br />

5 years of funding from BNFL these have become largely self-sustaining (with<br />

partial funding from NDA) <strong>and</strong> have proved very effective sources of skilled<br />

people. They have produced over 100 PhDs <strong>and</strong> trained more than 80 postdoc<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ral<br />

research associates (PDRAs) <strong>and</strong>, although not all are in the nuclear<br />

area (a c<strong>on</strong>sequence of the need for self-funding), many are now employed in<br />

the nuclear industry.<br />

4.27 The <strong>Research</strong> Councils, principally EPSRC, have funded a small number of large<br />

research <strong>and</strong> training c<strong>on</strong>sortia (Box 4), am<strong>on</strong>g the functi<strong>on</strong>s of which is <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

provide PhD training in areas pertinent <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> their research brief.<br />

4.28 There are at least a dozen other university groups providing research training in<br />

relevant areas spread across eight English <strong>and</strong> Welsh universities. Details of the<br />

URAs, nuclear research <strong>and</strong> training c<strong>on</strong>sortia <strong>and</strong> other nuclear-related<br />

research groups are given in Box 4. Scrutiny of the published details of research<br />

activities in the URAs, groups <strong>and</strong> c<strong>on</strong>sortia reveals that, while many relate <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

waste c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> other pre-disposal aspects of waste management, very<br />

few are orientated <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>wards geological disposal.<br />

NDA High Level Skills Training for R&D<br />

4.29 Although the NDA’s Skills <strong>and</strong> Capability Strategy is focused mainly <strong>on</strong> the lower<br />

parts of the skills pyramid, NDA does sp<strong>on</strong>sor PhD studentships in universities,<br />

through its PhD Bursaries Scheme, recently incorporated in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> its DRP, which<br />

typically supports 5 students per year, <strong>and</strong> through SLCs via CASE (Co-operative<br />

Awards in Science <strong>and</strong> Engineering) studentships. There is, however, c<strong>on</strong>cern in<br />

some quarters (CoRWM doc. 2630) that the DRP is not c<strong>on</strong>ducive <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> graduatelevel<br />

skills development, which is best achieved through PhD research training in<br />

universities. Typical DRP projects are <strong>on</strong> a much shorter timescale than a PhD<br />

project, which can require a commitment of up <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> 4 years.<br />

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Box 4. Postgraduate University Provisi<strong>on</strong><br />

There are several nuclear-related post-graduate taught courses in UK universities, of which, those in<br />

italics below are most likely <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be potentially relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing, clean up <strong>and</strong> waste<br />

management programmes.<br />

• University of Birmingham<br />

- MSc in Physics <strong>and</strong> Technology of Nuclear Reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs<br />

- Certificate & Diploma in Radioactive Waste Management & Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing<br />

• Imperial College<br />

- MEng in Chemical <strong>and</strong> Nuclear Engineering<br />

- MEng in Materials <strong>and</strong> Nuclear Engineering<br />

- MEng in Mechanical <strong>and</strong> Nuclear Engineering<br />

• Lancaster University<br />

- MEng in Nuclear Engineering<br />

- MSc in Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing & Clean-Up<br />

- MSc in Safety Engineering<br />

• University of Central Lancashire<br />

- MSc, Diploma, Certificate in Energy <strong>and</strong> Envir<strong>on</strong>mental Engineering (Nuclear<br />

Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing)<br />

- Certificate in English for Nuclear Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing<br />

• University of Liverpool<br />

- MSc in Radiometrics: Instrumentati<strong>on</strong> & Modelling<br />

- Certificate in Radioactive Waste M<strong>on</strong>i<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ring & Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing<br />

• University of Sheffield<br />

- MSc in Nuclear Envir<strong>on</strong>mental Science & Technology<br />

- MSc in Nuclear Science <strong>and</strong> Technology<br />

• University of Surrey<br />

- MSc in Radiati<strong>on</strong> & Envir<strong>on</strong>mental Protecti<strong>on</strong><br />

- MSc in Radiati<strong>on</strong> Detecti<strong>on</strong> & Measurement<br />

The Nuclear Technology Educati<strong>on</strong> C<strong>on</strong>sortium (NTEC), collaborati<strong>on</strong> between 11 universities <strong>and</strong><br />

research institutes, offers programmes leading <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> MSc, Diploma, Certificate or C<strong>on</strong>tinuing Professi<strong>on</strong>al<br />

Development (CPD) qualificati<strong>on</strong>s. The MSc combines the best elements from each of the instituti<strong>on</strong>s by<br />

allowing selecti<strong>on</strong> of 8 modules from a <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>tal of 31 available across the partnership, combined with a<br />

project. Four of the core modules relate specifically <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> the management,<br />

processing, s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> disposal of wastes.<br />

Undoubtedly the major sources of high-level research skills from the university sec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r are PhD graduates<br />

<strong>and</strong> post-doc<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ral research assistants/fellows. Increasing numbers of these are becoming available<br />

across a wide range of scientific <strong>and</strong> engineering disciplines <strong>and</strong> am<strong>on</strong>g the most appropriate for the<br />

R&D needed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> underpin the MRWS programme will be those from the nuclear-related University<br />

<strong>Research</strong> Alliances (URAs), research & training c<strong>on</strong>sortia <strong>and</strong> specialised research groups described<br />

below.<br />

A drop in public funding of nuclear R&D from over £450M in the 1970s <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> less than £10M in the mid-<br />

1990s combined with a rapid decline in the UK skills base created grave c<strong>on</strong>cerns about the future of<br />

nuclear-related research. In resp<strong>on</strong>se <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> this, BNFL established four URAs with initial core funding of<br />

£2M each. These were set up from 1999-2001 as follows, with staff (as of January <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>) in square<br />

brackets.<br />

• Centre for Radiochemistry <strong>Research</strong> (CRR) – University of Manchester [4 academic<br />

staff]<br />

• Institute for Particle Science & Engineering (IPSE) – University of Leeds [3 academic<br />

staff <strong>and</strong> a technology manager]<br />

• Immobilisati<strong>on</strong> Science Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry (ISL) – University of Sheffield [11 academic staff <strong>and</strong><br />

a technical manager]<br />

• Materials Performance Centre (MPC) – UMIST/University of Manchester [10 academic<br />

staff]<br />

These have proved very effective in terms of the numbers of PhD students attracted <strong>and</strong> degrees<br />

awarded; post-doc<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ral research assistants (PDRAs) employed <strong>and</strong> trained; research projects<br />

undertaken <strong>and</strong> papers published (data in table below as of Oc<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ber 2008).<br />

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Box 4. (c<strong>on</strong>tinued)<br />

URA PhDs PDRAs Papers<br />

CRR 49 29 104<br />

IPSE 14 17 78<br />

ISL 11 13 75<br />

MPC 35 24 60<br />

Each of the URAs has generated several milli<strong>on</strong> pounds of research funding in additi<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> their initial<br />

core funding <strong>and</strong> they are clearly an invaluable comp<strong>on</strong>ent of the research <strong>and</strong> high-level skills bases.<br />

After their 5-year, start-up period, BNFL intended the URAs <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be self-sufficient <strong>and</strong> all have achieved<br />

this. However, they have all had <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> diversify their funding sources <strong>and</strong> as a result, a substantial part of<br />

their activities are directed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> areas other than s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> disposal. In some cases, their research<br />

portfolios now include significant n<strong>on</strong>-nuclear activities.<br />

There are a number of other university groups undertaking nuclear-related research <strong>and</strong> providing PhD<br />

training in areas relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the management of higher activity wastes. These are:<br />

• University of Birmingham<br />

- Nuclear Power Technology Group, Department of Physics<br />

- Radiati<strong>on</strong> Biophysics Group, Department of Physics<br />

• University of Cardiff<br />

- Geotechnical <strong>Research</strong> Centre, School of Engineering<br />

• University of Cambridge<br />

- Various groups, Department of Earth Sciences<br />

• Hull University<br />

- Design, Materials & Process Performance, Department of Engineering<br />

• Imperial College<br />

- Centre for Nuclear Engineering<br />

• Lancaster University<br />

- C<strong>on</strong>trol & Instrumentati<strong>on</strong> <strong>Research</strong> Group, Department of Engineering<br />

• Loughborough University<br />

- Envir<strong>on</strong>mental Radiochemistry <strong>Research</strong> Group, Department of Chemistry<br />

- Radiati<strong>on</strong> Damage Predicti<strong>on</strong> Group, Department of Mathematics<br />

• University of Manchester<br />

- School of Earth, Atmospheric <strong>and</strong> Envir<strong>on</strong>mental Science<br />

- School of Mechanical, Aer<strong>on</strong>autical <strong>and</strong> Civil Engineering<br />

- School of Chemistry.<br />

A number of c<strong>on</strong>sortia have been funded by the research councils (notably EPSRC) <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> undertake<br />

research <strong>and</strong> provide doc<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ral-level research training in the nuclear area. These include:<br />

• The Nuclear Engineering Doc<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rate (EngD) programme. This is a collaborati<strong>on</strong> between six<br />

universities: Manchester, Imperial College, Sheffield, Leeds, Strathclyde <strong>and</strong> Bris<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>l. It<br />

provides a 4-year PhD programme that includes taught modules <strong>and</strong> research projects <strong>on</strong><br />

the management, immobilisati<strong>on</strong>, s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> disposal of radioactive wastes.<br />

• Keeping the Nuclear Opti<strong>on</strong> Open (KNOO - see Box 1) has been established <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> maintain <strong>and</strong><br />

develop PhD level skills relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> nuclear power generati<strong>on</strong>.<br />

• DIAMOND (Box 1) funded mainly by EPSRC, is a 4-year programme which also seeks <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

address a growing EU-wide skills gap in the decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> waste field <strong>and</strong> offers<br />

PhD <strong>and</strong> post-doc<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ral training.<br />

• The Biogeochemical Applicati<strong>on</strong>s in Nuclear Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> Waste Disposal<br />

C<strong>on</strong>sortium (Box 1), A 4-year programme involving 5 universities <strong>and</strong> BGS.<br />

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4.30 The NDA also operates a graduate recruitment scheme, which covers a wide<br />

range of disciplines <strong>and</strong> involves over 20 companies. The scheme currently<br />

attracts over 1,000 applicants a year, of which, about 10 are recruited annually<br />

(CoRWM doc. 2373). During the three-year scheme, the recruits receive two<br />

years of post-graduate training <strong>and</strong> are placed with SLCs <strong>and</strong> supply chain<br />

companies <strong>on</strong> a rotati<strong>on</strong>al basis <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> gain practical <strong>and</strong> industrial experience. This<br />

is an excellent scheme <strong>and</strong>, although relatively new, appears <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be working well<br />

(CoRWM doc. 2373). There is, however, some c<strong>on</strong>cern that without any<br />

guarantee of, or commitment <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>, employment up<strong>on</strong> completi<strong>on</strong> (as was the case<br />

with the first cohort recruited) these people could subsequently be lost <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> n<strong>on</strong>nuclear<br />

careers (CoRWM doc. 2630).<br />

4.31 NDA is a partner with the University of Manchester in the Dal<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>n Cumbria Facility.<br />

Although small (3 academic posts), this aims <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> undertake nuclear-related<br />

research <strong>and</strong> provide research training <strong>and</strong> post-graduate level educati<strong>on</strong> in<br />

radiati<strong>on</strong> sciences <strong>and</strong> in decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing engineering.<br />

The Nati<strong>on</strong>al Nuclear Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry<br />

4.32 NNL has a specific resp<strong>on</strong>sibility <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> maintain the critical skills required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support<br />

civil nuclear R&D. Arising from a skills review in which 72 essential areas were<br />

identified, it now maintains an R&D skills risk register. A key functi<strong>on</strong> of this<br />

register is <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> suggest acti<strong>on</strong>s <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> mitigate the risks, such as initiating recruitment<br />

before a skills gap appears. The NNL governance process will enable it <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> raise<br />

skills issues <strong>and</strong> this should ensure that skills are not lost by chance.<br />

4.33 One of NNL’s c<strong>on</strong>cerns is that NDA’s tendering process has led <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the need for<br />

nuclear skills <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> become spread across a much larger number of organisati<strong>on</strong>s<br />

than previously, with potential problems in maintaining appropriate technical<br />

st<strong>and</strong>ards.<br />

4.34 In the view of NNL (CoRWM doc. 2630), in order <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> deliver its commitment <strong>on</strong><br />

training, NNL needs <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensure that it has access <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a wide range of R&D skills. It<br />

plans <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> pursue a growth strategy that increases staff numbers.<br />

Relevant N<strong>on</strong>-Nuclear Skills<br />

4.35 A substantial range of n<strong>on</strong>-nuclear skills will be required for the successful<br />

implementati<strong>on</strong> of the MRWS programme, particularly in the geological, materials<br />

<strong>and</strong> engineering sciences. It is bey<strong>on</strong>d the scope of this report <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> assess the level<br />

of skills provisi<strong>on</strong> in these areas, as each is a substantial sec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r in its own right.<br />

C<strong>on</strong>sequently, text here is limited <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> comment <strong>on</strong> the geosciences sec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r where<br />

serious c<strong>on</strong>cerns have been directly expressed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> CoRWM through bilateral<br />

meetings (CoRWM docs. 2455, 2456). It is noted, however, that it has also been<br />

drawn <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> CoRWM’s attenti<strong>on</strong> that fewer than ten UK universities have “full<br />

capability” first degree courses in materials science, despite the dem<strong>and</strong> for<br />

graduates (CoRWM doc. 2630).<br />

4.36 At present, there are 25 university departments teaching first degrees in<br />

geological sciences or envir<strong>on</strong>mental geosciences in the UK. The universities<br />

listed in Box 5 produce about 1,000 graduates a year, with around half staying in<br />

earth-sciences-related employment. Of these, many are recruited by overseas<br />

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employers (especially in the mining, hydrocarb<strong>on</strong>, water <strong>and</strong> civil engineering<br />

industries in which geosciences skills shortages are worldwide).<br />

4.37 Undergraduate geophysics courses are offered by 13 universities. Owing <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

high st<strong>and</strong>ards required from school leavers in maths <strong>and</strong> physics, these courses<br />

traditi<strong>on</strong>ally have far lower student numbers than geological sciences degrees.<br />

4.38 The geological disposal R&D programme will also require specialist subdisciplines<br />

like engineering geology <strong>and</strong> hydrogeology (Box 5). Taught MSc<br />

degrees in engineering geology are available at 22 UK universities but the levels<br />

of recruitment are such that many of them do not run. Only six universities offer a<br />

taught MSc in hydrogeology <strong>and</strong> again, the number of students taking these is<br />

small.<br />

4.39 Nati<strong>on</strong>ally <strong>and</strong> internati<strong>on</strong>ally, graduates in geophysics, engineering geology <strong>and</strong><br />

hydrogeology are currently all in short supply; the nuclear industry will need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

compete str<strong>on</strong>gly with the mining, hydrocarb<strong>on</strong>, water <strong>and</strong> civil engineering<br />

industries <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> attract highly-qualified researchers <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> work in the nuclear sec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r.<br />

C<strong>on</strong>cerns about this were raised during meetings between CoRWM <strong>and</strong> the<br />

Learned Societies (including the Geological Society of L<strong>on</strong>d<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> the<br />

Internati<strong>on</strong>al Associati<strong>on</strong> of Hydrogeologists) (CoRWM docs. 2484, 2455). These<br />

discussed the availability of geosciences graduates <strong>and</strong> postgraduates <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> enter<br />

the nuclear industry <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> proceed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> PhDs in key sub-disciplines of particular<br />

relevance <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> R&D for the geological disposal programme, e.g. hydrogeology:<br />

NDA estimates that the maximum number of hydrogeologists required at the<br />

peak of site characterisati<strong>on</strong> activity will be around 100 <strong>and</strong> it hopes <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> exploit the<br />

experience gained by hydrogeologists who have been involved in delivering<br />

geological disposal overseas rather than relying <strong>on</strong> UK-based experts.<br />

4.40 A specific c<strong>on</strong>cern was also raised by BGS (CoRWM doc. 2456) about the<br />

increasing shortage of geosciences graduates who are also highly numerate.<br />

This arises because A-level mathematics is not a prerequisite for most<br />

geosciences degree courses <strong>and</strong> so graduates from these programmes have<br />

limited mathematical <strong>and</strong> modelling ability. Numerate geoscientists are essential<br />

for numerical modelling of radi<strong>on</strong>uclide migrati<strong>on</strong> through the geosphere that<br />

surrounds a GDF. Numerate geoscientists are also highly sought after by the oil<br />

<strong>and</strong> gas industry, <strong>and</strong> for the development of potential carb<strong>on</strong> capture <strong>and</strong><br />

s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage capability <strong>and</strong> a nati<strong>on</strong>al shortage will inevitably impact <strong>on</strong> R&D related<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> geological disposal.<br />

4.41 Bilateral meetings between CoRWM <strong>and</strong> a range of learned societies, industry<br />

organisati<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong> <strong>Research</strong> Councils have not identified any other particular<br />

c<strong>on</strong>cerns regarding skills provisi<strong>on</strong> in the materials <strong>and</strong> engineering (other than<br />

engineering geology) disciplines bey<strong>on</strong>d the more general nati<strong>on</strong>al c<strong>on</strong>cern<br />

regarding shortages of well-qualified recruits with suitable backgrounds in<br />

mathematics <strong>and</strong> the physical sciences.<br />

NDA Skills Requirements for Implementati<strong>on</strong> of Geological Disposal<br />

4.42 NDA’s Skills <strong>and</strong> Capability strategy was written before Nirex was fully<br />

incorporated in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> NDA (NDA, 2008d) <strong>and</strong> does not identify any substantive need<br />

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for NDA <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> acquire additi<strong>on</strong>al or specialised skills <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> implement geological<br />

disposal. When CoRWM met with NDA in April 2008 (CoRWM doc. 2373), it was<br />

informed that NDA’s skills development was being extended <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the geological<br />

disposal programme with input <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the NDA Skills <strong>and</strong> Capability Strategy from<br />

RWMD.<br />

4.43 CoRWM questi<strong>on</strong>ed (CoRWM doc. 2456) whether NDA has the necessary level<br />

of in-house geosciences expertise <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> enable external work (e.g., in site<br />

characterisati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> geosphere studies) <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be integrated effectively in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> its<br />

overall programme. It was assured that NDA recognises this issue <strong>and</strong> is actively<br />

recruiting <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> match programme needs. CoRWM underst<strong>and</strong>s two senior staff<br />

members have recently been recruited in this area (CoRWM doc. 2630).<br />

4.44 Of particular importance <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the geological disposal programme is the need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

underst<strong>and</strong> the interacti<strong>on</strong>s that will occur over very l<strong>on</strong>g periods between<br />

emplaced wastes, c<strong>on</strong>tainers <strong>and</strong> buffer materials <strong>and</strong> the geosphere. The<br />

geosphere comp<strong>on</strong>ents include not <strong>on</strong>ly the rocks within which a GDF is<br />

c<strong>on</strong>structed, but also the fracture systems in these rocks, the groundwater fluids<br />

percolating through the rocks <strong>and</strong> GDF, <strong>and</strong> any introduced micro-organisms.<br />

Underst<strong>and</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> predicting these interacti<strong>on</strong>s in enough detail <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop a<br />

safety case requires a combinati<strong>on</strong> of sophisticated mathematical modelling <strong>and</strong><br />

high quality experimental data that, for geological systems, are often extremely<br />

difficult <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> obtain.<br />

4.45 There is evidence that the UK needs more skills capability in the area of ‘coupled<br />

thermal-hydraulic-chemical-mechanical’ (THCM) processes. Study of these<br />

processes is a major feature of the leading internati<strong>on</strong>al R&D programmes<br />

(CoRWM docs 2455, 2484).<br />

4.46 There is also the issue of experience in underground R&D. Many countries that<br />

are implementing geological disposal have had URLs for many years <strong>and</strong> have<br />

built up c<strong>on</strong>siderable experience (Secti<strong>on</strong> 5). Some UK researchers have worked<br />

in URLs in other countries but the numbers of people involved are small <strong>and</strong><br />

some of the experience was gained many years ago by people who are now<br />

close <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> retirement. It is important that UK-based pers<strong>on</strong>nel are trained in<br />

underground R&D skills <strong>and</strong> working practices through active participati<strong>on</strong> in<br />

overseas URL programmes <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensure the UK has a suitably experienced<br />

workforce when required (Secti<strong>on</strong> 5).<br />

C<strong>on</strong>sultant <strong>and</strong> C<strong>on</strong>trac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r based R&D Skills<br />

4.47 An important pool of UK geoscience experience relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the geological<br />

disposal of radioactive waste currently resides in c<strong>on</strong>sulting organisati<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong><br />

am<strong>on</strong>g independent c<strong>on</strong>sultants. A large amount of commissi<strong>on</strong>ed work has<br />

been (<strong>and</strong> is still being) d<strong>on</strong>e by UK-based c<strong>on</strong>sultants for overseas WMOs, most<br />

notably in Sweden, Finl<strong>and</strong>, the USA, France <strong>and</strong> Japan. Many of these<br />

scientists have 20-30 years of experience but, as with much of the nuclear<br />

industry, they are approaching retirement, <strong>and</strong> in many cases are working<br />

bey<strong>on</strong>d retirement.<br />

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Box 5. Skills <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> Support the Geological Disposal Programme<br />

In terms of the skills required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support the geological disposal programme, the three areas most likely <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

called up<strong>on</strong> for provisi<strong>on</strong> are the geological <strong>and</strong> materials sciences, <strong>and</strong> civil engineering. At a meeting with<br />

the learned societies <strong>and</strong> NERC (CoRWM doc. 2455), c<strong>on</strong>cern was expressed about the supply of<br />

geosciences graduates both for entry <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> radioactive waste management in the nuclear industry <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> go <strong>on</strong><br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> higher degree programmes in key sub-disciplines relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> R&D for geological disposal such as<br />

geochemistry, hydrogeology, engineering geology <strong>and</strong> mining.<br />

At present there are 25 university departments teaching first degrees in geological sciences or envir<strong>on</strong>mental<br />

geosciences in the UK. These are at the following universities:<br />

Aberdeen Cardiff Leeds Oxford University College<br />

Aberystwyth Durham Leicester Plymouth<br />

Birmingham Edinburgh Liverpool Portsmouth<br />

Bris<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>l Imperial Manchester Royal Holloway<br />

Camborne Keele Newcastle Southamp<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>n<br />

Cambridge Lancaster Open St Andrews<br />

The universities listed produce about 1,000 graduates a year, of which, around half stay in earth sciences<br />

related employment. Of these many are recruited by overseas employers (especially the mining,<br />

hydrocarb<strong>on</strong>, water <strong>and</strong> civil engineering industries in which geosciences skills shortages are worldwide).<br />

BGS has <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ld CoRWM (CoRWM doc. 2456) that, while it can still recruit satisfac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry numbers of good<br />

geosciences graduates, it is becoming increasingly c<strong>on</strong>cerned about the shortage of highly numerate recruits<br />

who will be needed in ever greater numbers for modelling <strong>and</strong> other work. This is probably part of a wider<br />

problem in the numbers of students doing mathematics <strong>and</strong> physical sciences in the sec<strong>on</strong>dary <strong>and</strong> tertiary<br />

educati<strong>on</strong> systems. It could impact <strong>on</strong> the implementati<strong>on</strong> of geological disposal in the UK, including the<br />

ability <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> learn from, <strong>and</strong> c<strong>on</strong>tribute <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>, internati<strong>on</strong>al programmes.<br />

There is also c<strong>on</strong>cern from the geological disposal perspective about the situati<strong>on</strong> regarding taught Master<br />

degrees in the relevant specialist sub-disciplines like engineering geology <strong>and</strong> hydrogeology.<br />

Within the broader definiti<strong>on</strong> of engineering geology (i.e., including soil/rock mechanics <strong>and</strong> mining) 22<br />

instituti<strong>on</strong>s offer a taught MSc, namely the following universities –<br />

Bangor Durham Leeds Reading<br />

Birmingham Glasgow Manchester Sheffield<br />

Camborne Greenwich Newcastle South Bank<br />

Cambridge Herriot-Watt Nottingham Southamp<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>n<br />

Cardiff Imperial Nottingham Trent<br />

Dundee Kings<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>n Portsmouth<br />

while <strong>on</strong>ly six universities have a taught MSc in hydrogeology, namely –<br />

Birmingham Imperial Newcastle<br />

Cardiff Leeds Sheffield<br />

Given the relatively small numbers of students involved, the latter is of particular c<strong>on</strong>cern in view of the likely<br />

requirements for expertise in hydrogeology throughout the geological disposal programme.<br />

Worthy of menti<strong>on</strong> in this c<strong>on</strong>text is the Empower programme. This is a scheme whereby students taking a<br />

Master’s course in earth sciences or envir<strong>on</strong>mental geology (at any university) are given exposure <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

nuclear sec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r through research project placements or other activities. A pilot scheme ran in 2008 <strong>and</strong> the full<br />

programme, funded by the NDA, EA, AWE <strong>and</strong> British Energy, commenced in <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>. It is hoped this will lead<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> greater recruitment of geoscientists <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the industry at a critical time.<br />

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Retenti<strong>on</strong> of Skills<br />

4.48 It has been brought <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> CoRWM’s attenti<strong>on</strong> that the radioactive waste<br />

management side of the industry will face severe competiti<strong>on</strong> for its skilled staff<br />

(CoRWM doc. 2677), not <strong>on</strong>ly from existing industries like hydrocarb<strong>on</strong>s, water<br />

<strong>and</strong> civil engineering but also from emerging activities such as nuclear new build<br />

<strong>and</strong> carb<strong>on</strong> capture <strong>and</strong> sequestrati<strong>on</strong>. Also, a proporti<strong>on</strong> of the R&D skilled staff<br />

would be expected <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> move in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> other roles in the nuclear industry <strong>and</strong> its<br />

regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs, rather than remaining in R&D roles (CoRWM doc. 2630).<br />

C<strong>on</strong>clusi<strong>on</strong>s <strong>on</strong> Skills<br />

4.49 For nuclear skills in general, but R&D in particular, the picture in the UK has been<br />

<strong>on</strong>e of decline since the 1980s, largely a result of research labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry closures<br />

but not helped by the "unfashi<strong>on</strong>able" percepti<strong>on</strong> of careers in the nuclear<br />

industry. By 2000, this was giving grounds for serious c<strong>on</strong>cern. It is therefore<br />

encouraging that recently there have been significant improvements in the skills<br />

<strong>and</strong> training area. These are partly a c<strong>on</strong>sequence of the setting up of NDA <strong>and</strong><br />

the "skills alliance" formed between Cogent <strong>and</strong> NSAN. They should be further<br />

helped by the improving image of the industry, due partly <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the media<br />

associati<strong>on</strong> of the new build, energy gap <strong>and</strong> climate change issues.<br />

Nevertheless, arrangements for providing R&D skills are not yet adequately<br />

rebuilt for the future. The large number of organisati<strong>on</strong>s involved <strong>and</strong> the<br />

complexity of the relati<strong>on</strong>s between them means the provisi<strong>on</strong> of R&D skills <strong>and</strong><br />

training in the UK is fragmented. Simplificati<strong>on</strong> of the resp<strong>on</strong>sibilities for ensuring<br />

the UK has the requisite skills should therefore be seriously c<strong>on</strong>sidered.<br />

4.50 NDA appears <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be making good progress within the area of its own remit but<br />

nati<strong>on</strong>ally the wider scenario lacks strategic c<strong>on</strong>trol. The inter-relati<strong>on</strong>ships<br />

between the resp<strong>on</strong>sible organisati<strong>on</strong>s are extremely complex <strong>and</strong> it is far from<br />

clear which take overall resp<strong>on</strong>sibility for providing leadership <strong>and</strong> co-ordinati<strong>on</strong>.<br />

This applies both <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the identificati<strong>on</strong> of skills requirements <strong>and</strong> the provisi<strong>on</strong> of<br />

training. NSAN is an important initiative but has tended <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> focus <strong>on</strong> industry’s<br />

more immediate needs. With Cogent, NSAN is now looking <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>wards skills<br />

shortages <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> 2025 but these are still defined by current industry profiles. CoRWM<br />

encourages NSAN <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop some pro-active initiatives rather than relying<br />

entirely <strong>on</strong> employers’ perceived needs <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> do so over a timescale of<br />

decades.<br />

4.51 In parallel with the depleti<strong>on</strong> in R&D skills in the UK nuclear industry, the<br />

provisi<strong>on</strong> of research skills via higher degrees was seen as very “fragile” until<br />

recently. The establishment of the URAs by BNFL marked the beginning of a<br />

c<strong>on</strong>siderable improvement in the nuclear area which has c<strong>on</strong>tinued with the<br />

funding by the <strong>Research</strong> Councils (mainly EPSRC) of nuclear-related research<br />

<strong>and</strong> training c<strong>on</strong>sortia <strong>and</strong> other university-based programmes. However, there<br />

appears <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be an assumpti<strong>on</strong> in the industry that now the URAs are established<br />

the higher level skills problem is solved (CoRWM doc. 2630). These research<br />

centres require c<strong>on</strong>tinued support <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> go <strong>on</strong> delivering skilled researchers in the<br />

relevant areas <strong>and</strong> without it may be forced <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> further reduce their nuclear-related<br />

activities. The commitment of the NDA <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> supporting research through its DRP,<br />

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SLCs <strong>and</strong> other avenues has also c<strong>on</strong>tributed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the improving situati<strong>on</strong>, although<br />

questi<strong>on</strong>s have been raised about the effectiveness of this support.<br />

4.52 It is <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be hoped that the establishment of the NNL will provide further impetus <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

skills improvement but CoRWM has c<strong>on</strong>cerns about how training <strong>and</strong> provisi<strong>on</strong> of<br />

research skills will be rec<strong>on</strong>ciled with the need for commercial operati<strong>on</strong>. While<br />

NNL will be a cus<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>mer-funded organisati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> it is appropriate that it operates<br />

as “just another supplier” in most circumstances, it is important <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> identify <strong>and</strong><br />

agree those areas in which a strategic role needs <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be played. In these areas it<br />

will be necessary <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensure that arrangements are in place <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> facilitate delivery of<br />

such strategic support. Skills provisi<strong>on</strong> is a strategic area <strong>and</strong> it is unclear <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

CoRWM how NNL funding for this will be assured.<br />

4.53 There is still a shortage of Master-level courses with a significant nuclear<br />

comp<strong>on</strong>ent. In additi<strong>on</strong>, EPSRC has now terminated its funding for the NTEC<br />

Masters’ programme so, although NDA has provided interim funding for <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>, its<br />

future is unclear. The supply of relevant, n<strong>on</strong>-nuclear, research skills in other<br />

disciplines is perceived as better but in some areas, like geoscience, not as<br />

healthy as it should be. Particular deficiencies remain in the numbers of MSc <strong>and</strong><br />

PhD graduates in key sub-disciplines for implementing geological disposal, such<br />

as hydrogeology <strong>and</strong> numerical modelling. Since other countries’ geological<br />

disposal programmes are likely <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> overlap with that of the UK, as will other<br />

challenging <strong>and</strong> attractive internati<strong>on</strong>al projects, such as carb<strong>on</strong> capture <strong>and</strong><br />

sequestrati<strong>on</strong>, CoRWM believes there is significant risk in over-reliance <strong>on</strong><br />

attracting this expertise from overseas.<br />

4.54 Despite some positive developments, research with its integral skills training in<br />

areas relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the R&D needed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> underpin the implementati<strong>on</strong> of geological<br />

disposal, remains fragmented overall. Resp<strong>on</strong>sibility for the provisi<strong>on</strong> of R&D<br />

skills is split between many organisati<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong> there appears <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be little effective<br />

nati<strong>on</strong>al leadership <strong>and</strong> insufficient strategic directi<strong>on</strong>.<br />

4.55 Although not focused specifically <strong>on</strong> the nuclear industry, Cogent is well placed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

provide guidance <strong>on</strong> the basic skills <strong>and</strong> training requirements of the industry<br />

through its employer-driven approach <strong>and</strong> alliance with NSAN. However, it is not<br />

directly involved in the provisi<strong>on</strong> of higher level research training of the sort<br />

required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> underpin the MRWS programme nor is it in a positi<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> make<br />

strategic judgements <strong>on</strong> the research programmes of which such training is part,<br />

especially those <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>wards the fundamental end of the research spectrum.<br />

C<strong>on</strong>sequently, CoRWM c<strong>on</strong>siders that additi<strong>on</strong>al expertise would be required<br />

within Cogent <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> enable it <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> provide effective nati<strong>on</strong>al leadership <strong>and</strong> strategic<br />

directi<strong>on</strong> for the provisi<strong>on</strong> of R&D skills pertinent <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the management of higher<br />

activity wastes.<br />

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5.1 In this c<strong>on</strong>text, infrastructure means labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ries <strong>and</strong> other research facilities <strong>and</strong><br />

the equipment within them.<br />

5.2 R&D <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support the MRWS programme may be viewed as falling in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> two groups:<br />

that which is specific <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the nuclear industry (for example development of<br />

plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium wasteforms), <strong>and</strong> other broadly applicable R&D which is relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

management of higher activity wastes as well as other industries (for example,<br />

remote subsurface investigati<strong>on</strong> in support of structural geological<br />

characterisati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> mapping). The former usually requires work with radioactive<br />

materials <strong>and</strong> has very specific <strong>and</strong> complex infrastructure requirements. By<br />

c<strong>on</strong>trast, the latter relies mainly <strong>on</strong> the UK’s broader nati<strong>on</strong>al R&D capability.<br />

CoRWM hopes <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> examine the broader group in more detail in future. This report<br />

focuses <strong>on</strong> infrastructure <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support nuclear specific R&D.<br />

5.3 This secti<strong>on</strong> begins with c<strong>on</strong>siderati<strong>on</strong> of “active facilities”, that is research<br />

facilities where work with radioactive materials can be carried out, in the UK <strong>and</strong><br />

other countries. There is then a discussi<strong>on</strong> of underground facilities for geological<br />

disposal R&D.<br />

UK Active Facilities<br />

Universities<br />

5.4 Within UK universities there is very little capacity <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> work with radioactive<br />

materials relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the nuclear fuel cycle. Several groups (e.g. Sussex,<br />

Edinburgh, Oxford, Imperial College) work <strong>on</strong> fundamental aspects of the<br />

chemistry <strong>and</strong> materials science of uranium <strong>and</strong> thorium but have no<br />

infrastructure <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support experiments with transuranium elements. The majority of<br />

this research is based around <strong>on</strong>e or two academic staff in each instituti<strong>on</strong>.<br />

Loughborough University has dedicated radiochemistry labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ries, but limited<br />

capacity <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> work with high hazard radioiso<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pes.<br />

5.5 Starting in 1999, BNFL created a series of university partnerships (University<br />

<strong>Research</strong> Alliances, para 4.26 <strong>and</strong> Box 4). The MPC <strong>and</strong> ISL have the capacity<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> work with uranium-active materials (<strong>and</strong> irradiated graphite in the case of<br />

MPC), while the CRR has some capacity for work with neptunium <strong>and</strong> plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium,<br />

including the UK’s remaining supply of plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium-242, whose l<strong>on</strong>g half-life allows<br />

work with milligram quantities in a limited range of c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>s. All four URAs have<br />

access <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a wide range of instruments although their use, even with uranium, can<br />

be quite restricted.<br />

5.6 BNFL’s start-up funding was provided <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> each URA for 5 years, with the<br />

expectati<strong>on</strong> that they would become self-sufficient after that time. This is the case<br />

for all four URAs, which have diversified <strong>and</strong> now have major programmes in<br />

areas such as propulsi<strong>on</strong>, new build, nati<strong>on</strong>al security <strong>and</strong> n<strong>on</strong>-nuclear <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics.<br />

Nati<strong>on</strong>al Nuclear Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry Facilities<br />

5.7 NNL runs facilities at Springfields (relatively new uranium-active labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ries) <strong>and</strong><br />

Sellafield, specifically the B13 <strong>and</strong> recently built BTC (BNFL Technology Centre)<br />

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facilities. The BTC has been renamed the Central Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry. NNL does not own<br />

these B13 <strong>and</strong> Central Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry facilities but leases them from NDA <strong>and</strong><br />

operates them under the Sellafield SLC site licence (para 3.28). The c<strong>on</strong>tractual<br />

arrangements are not currently the same in all its facilities although this is set <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

change with the informal arrangements currently in place being progressively<br />

replaced by more formal c<strong>on</strong>tracts. The time frame for this is not yet established,<br />

although NNL c<strong>on</strong>siders that in the meantime the various interfaces could all be<br />

managed.<br />

5.8 B13 c<strong>on</strong>tains shielded caves <strong>and</strong> a range of instruments <strong>and</strong> is undergoing<br />

refurbishment <strong>and</strong> improvements with the aim of ensuring it can c<strong>on</strong>tinue <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> play<br />

a role through <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> 2025. The availability of equivalent facilities after this date is<br />

unclear though they will still be needed. The Central Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry is not yet fully<br />

commissi<strong>on</strong>ed. Phase 1 (gloveboxes, fumehoods <strong>and</strong> a graphite labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry) has<br />

been commissi<strong>on</strong>ed. Phases 2 <strong>and</strong> 3, the MOX labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ries <strong>and</strong> hot cells<br />

respectively, have been in care <strong>and</strong> maintenance for 1-2 years. NNL is currently<br />

preparing a business case for the commissi<strong>on</strong>ing of Phases 2 <strong>and</strong> 3, based <strong>on</strong><br />

HM Treasury Green Book guidance, <strong>and</strong> is hopeful the case will be accepted.<br />

Emphasis is being put <strong>on</strong> dem<strong>on</strong>strating there is a dem<strong>and</strong> for the facilities<br />

proposed for Phases 2 <strong>and</strong> 3. NNL can provide, at least in outline, several<br />

programmes which would require these facilities <strong>and</strong> its cus<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>mers, particularly<br />

Sellafield Ltd., are starting <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop l<strong>on</strong>ger term projects, which would justify<br />

commissi<strong>on</strong>ing. Even if fully commissi<strong>on</strong>ed, the Central Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry will require<br />

significant changes <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>, or further development of, its infrastructure (e.g.<br />

installati<strong>on</strong> of specialised c<strong>on</strong>trolled atmosphere gloveboxes; instruments for<br />

characterisati<strong>on</strong> of active samples) <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> carry out a research programme in<br />

geological disposal comparable <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> those undertaken overseas.<br />

5.9 Further commissi<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> expansi<strong>on</strong> of capability in NNL facilities will be<br />

dependent <strong>on</strong> cus<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>mer dem<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> successful preparati<strong>on</strong> of business cases <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

support this dem<strong>and</strong> (e.g. from NDA, SLCs <strong>and</strong> <strong>Research</strong> Councils).<br />

5.10 While STFC <strong>and</strong> NNL have held discussi<strong>on</strong>s, CoRWM underst<strong>and</strong>s that there are<br />

currently no plans <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> include any major facilities at the NNL under the auspices of<br />

the STFC in order <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensure access for industry-independent R&D (CoRWM doc.<br />

2443).<br />

5.11 In general NNL has a limited equipment base for characterisati<strong>on</strong> of radioactive<br />

materials, funded either by cus<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>mers through specific projects or, in some<br />

cases, through self-investment. The Central Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry has <strong>on</strong>ly a limited range<br />

of equipment <strong>and</strong> has few routes <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> exp<strong>and</strong>ing this. As a result, this facility is<br />

significantly less well equipped than its overseas equivalents. This situati<strong>on</strong><br />

arises because NNL makes an annual profit of £5-6M which is insufficient <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

allow investment in high capital cost items, especially in a nuclear envir<strong>on</strong>ment.<br />

5.12 CoRWM underst<strong>and</strong>s that the management c<strong>on</strong>trac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r for the NNL is required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

increase access <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> facilities for universities <strong>and</strong> other organisati<strong>on</strong>s that carry out<br />

R&D. Although it is intended <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> provide access <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> allow fundamental research<br />

funded by the <strong>Research</strong> Councils <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be carried out, <strong>and</strong> discussi<strong>on</strong>s are in<br />

progress, at present there is no mechanism by which the <strong>Research</strong> Councils can<br />

fund university research in NNL facilities, particularly when it involves the<br />

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purchase of equipment. In additi<strong>on</strong>, the potential user community is c<strong>on</strong>fused<br />

about the process <strong>and</strong> terms of access <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> NNL active facilities (CoRWM doc.<br />

2630).<br />

Other Facilities<br />

5.13 There are a number of supply chain organisati<strong>on</strong>s that have some capacity <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

work with radioactive materials. These include AMEC, which operates the NIRAS<br />

facility, Serco <strong>and</strong> Waste Management Technology. Most of these facilities can<br />

<strong>on</strong>ly h<strong>and</strong>le low levels of activity. For example, most of the NIRAS facility is<br />

geared <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>wards envir<strong>on</strong>mental radioactivity <strong>and</strong> it can <strong>on</strong>ly accommodate<br />

experiments with the less active ILW. The MoD also has some facilities, for<br />

example <strong>on</strong> the Aldermas<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>n site.<br />

Internati<strong>on</strong>al Examples of Active Facilities<br />

5.14 Several countries, particularly the major nuclear nati<strong>on</strong>s, have R&D facilities <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

support civil <strong>and</strong>/or military programmes. However, direct comparis<strong>on</strong>s of UK<br />

facilities with those overseas are not straightforward. There are substantial<br />

differences in nati<strong>on</strong>al requirements, depending largely <strong>on</strong> whether or not fuel<br />

has been reprocessed <strong>on</strong> an industrial scale, while some labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ries incorporate<br />

nuclear research in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a more general energy programme, <strong>and</strong> some support both<br />

civil <strong>and</strong> military programmes. Nevertheless, it is possible <strong>and</strong> instructive <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

identify a few illustrative examples for comparis<strong>on</strong>.<br />

France<br />

5.15 France operates a nuclear fuel cycle that includes reprocessing of irradiated fuel<br />

<strong>and</strong> recycling of plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium in mixed oxide fuel (MOX), <strong>and</strong> has d<strong>on</strong>e so for some<br />

decades. In France, much R&D is c<strong>on</strong>ducted by CEA, which has resp<strong>on</strong>sibilities<br />

in both civil <strong>and</strong> military nuclear energy. This includes decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong><br />

some aspects of waste disposal, <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>gether with new reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs, nuclear fusi<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

novel waste management technologies such as partiti<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> transmutati<strong>on</strong><br />

(para. 3.14).<br />

5.16 The focus of R&D <strong>on</strong> radioactive waste in CEA is Marcoule, <strong>and</strong> particularly the<br />

recently (2003) completed Atalante facility. 20 In many ways, this is a close<br />

parallel <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the Central Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry of the UK NNL (para 5.7). Marcoule is a l<strong>on</strong>gestablished<br />

site, with both old <strong>and</strong> current facilities, <strong>and</strong> Atalante is a purposebuilt<br />

R&D facility <strong>on</strong> that site. Atalante has 19,000 m 2 of labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ries, including 17<br />

glovebox-equipped labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ries <strong>and</strong> seven sets of shielded hot cells <strong>and</strong> remote<br />

manipula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs. Some other specialist facilities have also been developed by, or<br />

with the involvement of, the CEA, for example, the Soleil synchrotr<strong>on</strong> built at<br />

Saclay, <strong>and</strong> the dedicated radioactive materials beamline (MARS) <strong>on</strong> Soleil.<br />

Recent <strong>and</strong> planned CEA active facilities include the Phénix fast neutr<strong>on</strong><br />

radiati<strong>on</strong> source, which was taken off-line in March <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>, the pro<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>type sodium<br />

fast reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r ASTRID (which can be used <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> produce plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium, americium <strong>and</strong><br />

other actinides) that is planned <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be operati<strong>on</strong>al by 2020, <strong>and</strong> the Jules Horowitz<br />

reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r that will provide irradiated materials by 2015.<br />

20 http://www-marcoule.cea.fr<br />

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Germany<br />

5.17 Although Germany has operated civil nuclear reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs for many years, fuel has<br />

never been reprocessed <strong>on</strong> a large scale in that country. A significant quantity of<br />

German fuel has been shipped <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> France <strong>and</strong> the UK for reprocessing <strong>and</strong>, under<br />

the terms of these c<strong>on</strong>tracts, vitrified HLW has been returned <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> Germany for<br />

disposal. Germany also proposes geological disposal of spent fuel <strong>and</strong> its early<br />

power reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs are now being decommissi<strong>on</strong>ed. In the former East Germany,<br />

large scale uranium mining has led <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> extensive c<strong>on</strong>taminati<strong>on</strong> both <strong>on</strong> the<br />

surface <strong>and</strong> underground.<br />

5.18 R&D in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> cleanup <strong>and</strong> waste disposal is c<strong>on</strong>centrated in two federally-supported<br />

research centres, Institut fur Nukleare Entsorgung (INE) at Karlsruhe <strong>and</strong><br />

Forschungszentrum Dresden (FZD). Both have links <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> universities, <strong>and</strong><br />

academic instituti<strong>on</strong>s such as the Technical University, Munich, or the University<br />

of Mainz which have significant infrastructure, including a research reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r at<br />

Mainz.<br />

5.19 INE is co-located with the ANKA synchrotr<strong>on</strong> <strong>on</strong> the Forschungszentrum<br />

Karlsruhe site, <strong>and</strong> has a dedicated beamline <strong>on</strong> ANKA which can be used with<br />

radioactive materials. FZD operates the ROBL radioactive materials beamline at<br />

the European Synchrotr<strong>on</strong> Radiati<strong>on</strong> Facility, Grenoble. Both INE <strong>and</strong> FZD have<br />

extensive glovebox facilities optimised for geological disposal research.<br />

5.20 Germany also hosts the European Institute for Transuranium Elements (ITU) <strong>on</strong><br />

the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe site. This is <strong>on</strong>e of the EU Joint <strong>Research</strong><br />

Centres <strong>and</strong> has extensive glovebox <strong>and</strong> hot cell facilities in which it c<strong>on</strong>ducts<br />

experiments <strong>on</strong> wasteform development <strong>and</strong> performance, <strong>and</strong> the behaviour of<br />

fuel in disposal c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>s. Its EU-funded instituti<strong>on</strong>al budget is €37.9m per year.<br />

USA<br />

5.21 The USA has exploited nuclear fissi<strong>on</strong> <strong>on</strong> a large scale since the 1940s. Most<br />

reprocessing was focused <strong>on</strong> producti<strong>on</strong> of plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium for weap<strong>on</strong>s, while the<br />

West Valley reprocessing plant, built <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support civil nuclear power, never<br />

entered full operati<strong>on</strong>. Spent fuel from USA nuclear power stati<strong>on</strong>s is currently<br />

s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red awaiting disposal but there is a policy review <strong>and</strong> there is increasing<br />

interest in reprocessing this material <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> reduce the volumes of waste for disposal.<br />

Decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> cleanup of the weap<strong>on</strong>s plants, in particular the Hanford<br />

<strong>and</strong> Savannah River sites, present many challenges comparable <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> those faced<br />

in the UK. Transuranic waste from the USA military programme (in many<br />

respects similar <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> UK plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium c<strong>on</strong>taminated material (PCM)) is disposed of<br />

underground in the Waste Isolati<strong>on</strong> Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico.<br />

5.22 The majority of relevant R&D in the USA is c<strong>on</strong>ducted in the “DOE complex”.<br />

Within this, seven Nati<strong>on</strong>al Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ries have active facilities which are, or could<br />

be, used <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support radioactive waste management <strong>and</strong> disposal R&D. The DOE<br />

programme also includes collaborati<strong>on</strong> with numerous universities, including<br />

Washing<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>n State, Florida State, University of Nevada at Las Vegas, <strong>and</strong><br />

University of California, Berkeley. Several of these universities have glovebox<br />

facilities.<br />

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5.23 The Pacific Northwest Nati<strong>on</strong>al Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry (PNNL) is close <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the Hanford site,<br />

which was a major USA plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium producti<strong>on</strong> facility for many decades <strong>and</strong> is<br />

now decommissi<strong>on</strong>ing. Two of PNNL’s flagship facilities are the Radiochemical<br />

Processing Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry, 21 which is equipped with gloveboxes <strong>and</strong> hot cells,<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>gether with a wide range of instrumentati<strong>on</strong> for use with radioactive samples,<br />

<strong>and</strong> the Envir<strong>on</strong>mental Molecular Science Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry, which has a major<br />

programme in subsurface science.<br />

5.24 The USA has several synchrotr<strong>on</strong> radiati<strong>on</strong> sources which can be used with<br />

radioactive materials, including SSRL (Stanford Synchrotr<strong>on</strong> Radiati<strong>on</strong><br />

Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry) at Stanford, APS (Advanced Pho<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>n Source) at Arg<strong>on</strong>ne <strong>and</strong> ALS<br />

(Advanced Light Source) at Berkeley.<br />

5.25 USDOE recently commissi<strong>on</strong>ed from the Nati<strong>on</strong>al Academy of Sciences (NAS)<br />

an independent evaluati<strong>on</strong> of its nuclear energy research programme (USDOE,<br />

2008b). A comm<strong>on</strong> theme am<strong>on</strong>g the NAS recommendati<strong>on</strong>s was the need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

invest in research facilities that enable the Office of Nuclear Energy (ONE) <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

meet its research priorities <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop a process for prioritising, evaluating<br />

<strong>and</strong> obtaining those capabilities. Battelle Memorial Institute <strong>and</strong> Idaho Nati<strong>on</strong>al<br />

Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry were then asked <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> report <strong>on</strong> the type of facilities needed for the next<br />

twenty years as summarised by NAS (USDOE, 2008b). The facilities that ONE<br />

plans <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> invest in include hot cells, materials test reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs including fast reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs<br />

<strong>and</strong> dem<strong>on</strong>strati<strong>on</strong> reprocessing technologies.<br />

Accessibility <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the UK of Active Facilities in Other Countries<br />

5.26 Access <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> USA Nati<strong>on</strong>al Labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ries is difficult because they are generally not<br />

open <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> collaborati<strong>on</strong>s, bey<strong>on</strong>d USDOE-funded research, in which overseas<br />

instituti<strong>on</strong>s rarely participate. In additi<strong>on</strong>, for the nuclear weap<strong>on</strong>s labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ries,<br />

there are major issues with security clearance (a US Q-clearance, rarely allowed<br />

for n<strong>on</strong>-US nati<strong>on</strong>als, is generally required).<br />

5.27 European facilities can be accessed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a limited degree through, for example, the<br />

FP6 Actinet-6 Network of Excellence <strong>and</strong> its proposed successor, Actinet I3.<br />

However, access through this route is very competitive, relatively limited in scale,<br />

short term (project durati<strong>on</strong> less than a year) <strong>and</strong> lacking in c<strong>on</strong>tinuity (the last<br />

call for Actinet-6 was in November 2007 <strong>and</strong> the first call under Actinet I3 is still<br />

awaited). Most significantly, users accessing the facilities through Actinet have no<br />

say in specifying the capability of the facilities or the instrumentati<strong>on</strong> available.<br />

Given these c<strong>on</strong>straints, the UK could not rely <strong>on</strong> these access routes <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> sustain<br />

major strategic R&D programmes.<br />

5.28 The logistics of transporting radioactive materials make working overseas<br />

complex <strong>and</strong> expensive. For example, it is prohibited <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> move fissile material by<br />

air in the USA, so samples have <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be transported by sea <strong>and</strong> road. UK groups<br />

have moved small transuranic samples <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> both European <strong>and</strong> USA facilities as<br />

Excepted Packages. The lead time is up <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> 4 weeks, which is an issue for<br />

unstable materials, while the cost for a single movement is normally £1K <strong>and</strong> can<br />

be up <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> £4K, depending <strong>on</strong> the material moved. Further, real time analyses of<br />

21 http://rpl.pnl.gov/documents/pdf/rpl2008.pdf<br />

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eacti<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong> atmosphere sensitive materials cannot be performed at these<br />

facilities.<br />

5.29 Larger samples of transuranic materials or samples with high external dose rates<br />

require large, often heavily-shielded c<strong>on</strong>tainers, sometimes specially designed,<br />

for shipping <strong>and</strong> again, this is logistically complex <strong>and</strong> very expensive.<br />

5.30 Internati<strong>on</strong>al nuclear materials safeguards agreements require detailed<br />

accountancy <strong>and</strong> record-keeping. This is complex within the EU (the Eura<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>m<br />

system) <strong>and</strong> even more so if material is exported from the EU.<br />

Underground Facilities<br />

5.31 Many countries have radioactive waste management policies that involve<br />

geological disposal. Waste management organisati<strong>on</strong>s (WMOs) in these<br />

countries face broadly similar challenges in dem<strong>on</strong>strating, not <strong>on</strong>ly <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs<br />

but also <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the broader scientific/technical communities, politicians <strong>and</strong> the<br />

general public, that any proposed GDF is technically feasible, that it can be<br />

operated <strong>and</strong> maintained safely <strong>and</strong> that it will remain safe over very l<strong>on</strong>g periods<br />

of time after it has been closed <strong>and</strong> sealed. The scientific <strong>and</strong> engineering<br />

arguments that have <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be developed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> satisfy this level of scrutiny must be<br />

extremely robust.<br />

5.32 WMOs in many countries have developed underground research facilities (URFs)<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> assist in this process by filling knowledge gaps <strong>and</strong> providing evidence <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

support the technical case for GDF development. This is the situati<strong>on</strong> in Belgium,<br />

Canada, Finl<strong>and</strong>, France, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Switzerl<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> the USA.<br />

In each case the WMO has made a decisi<strong>on</strong> that the level of knowledge in<br />

certain areas can <strong>on</strong>ly be brought <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> that required by performing R&D<br />

underground in an envir<strong>on</strong>ment that approaches real c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>s for a GDF.<br />

5.33 Underground facilities fall in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> three categories:<br />

1. facilities c<strong>on</strong>structed as part of, or in c<strong>on</strong>juncti<strong>on</strong> with, other underground<br />

developments (e.g. mines or civil engineering projects)<br />

2. generic URFs developed at sites that are not scheduled for geological<br />

disposal<br />

3. site-specific facilities developed at sites at which geological disposal is<br />

planned.<br />

5.34 Facilities in the first category were used in the early years of geological disposal<br />

R&D <strong>and</strong> have now largely been superseded by facilities in the other two<br />

categories (examples were the Stripa mine in Sweden <strong>and</strong> the Climax mine in the<br />

USA). Generic facilities have been developed in Japan, Canada, Belgium,<br />

Switzerl<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> Sweden. The current policy in France, Finl<strong>and</strong>, USA <strong>and</strong><br />

Germany has been <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop site-specific facilities. However, the technical<br />

cases for both the operati<strong>on</strong>al WIPP GDF in the USA <strong>and</strong> the licensed GDF at<br />

K<strong>on</strong>rad in Germany were developed without the aid of site-specific underground<br />

facilities.<br />

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5.35 The range of possible functi<strong>on</strong>s of underground facilities can be summarised as<br />

follows:<br />

1. Comparis<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> calibrati<strong>on</strong> of geosphere data collected from surface-based<br />

investigati<strong>on</strong>s with that from underground investigati<strong>on</strong>s.<br />

2. Comparis<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> calibrati<strong>on</strong> of data collecti<strong>on</strong> methods <strong>and</strong> equipment for<br />

geosphere characterisati<strong>on</strong> purposes.<br />

3. To develop <strong>and</strong> enhance underst<strong>and</strong>ing of the impacts of rock excavati<strong>on</strong> <strong>on</strong><br />

both the rock mass <strong>and</strong> existing underground openings.<br />

4. To develop <strong>and</strong> enhance underst<strong>and</strong>ing, through simulating the effects of the<br />

placement of waste in actual c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>s that replicate those in a GDF.<br />

5. To develop <strong>and</strong> enhance c<strong>on</strong>ceptual <strong>and</strong> numerical models for the transport<br />

of radi<strong>on</strong>uclides through a rock mass.<br />

6. To develop an improved underst<strong>and</strong>ing of, <strong>and</strong> test how, a proposed<br />

engineered barrier system (EBS) will perform under c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>s that replicate<br />

those in a GDF.<br />

7. To design <strong>and</strong> undertake experiments that will give an underst<strong>and</strong>ing of the<br />

l<strong>on</strong>g-term performance of the disposal facility as a whole <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensure the<br />

robustness of the safety case for a GDF.<br />

8. Build <strong>and</strong> maintain public c<strong>on</strong>fidence that all practical steps are being<br />

undertaken <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> establish the technical feasibility <strong>and</strong> safety performance of a<br />

GDF.<br />

5.36 Some of the activities carried out in underground facilities come under the<br />

heading of site characterisati<strong>on</strong> (e.g. items 1 <strong>and</strong> 2 above); others are R&D.<br />

Some of the R&D activities are required as input <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> GDF design or safety case<br />

development. Others will be needed during much of the period that a GDF is<br />

open in order <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> maintain the safety case <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> allow improvements <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be made<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>, for example, backfilling <strong>and</strong> sealing materials <strong>and</strong> methods. Examples of R&D<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics are shown in Box 6.<br />

5.37 The UK has never had a URF. However, UK scientists have participated in R&D<br />

programmes in facilities in several other countries.<br />

5.38 By <strong>on</strong>ly menti<strong>on</strong>ing site-specific underground investigati<strong>on</strong>s, the White Paper<br />

(Defra et al., 2008) implicitly rules out the c<strong>on</strong>structi<strong>on</strong> of a generic URF in the<br />

UK. It states that the NDA shall undertake l<strong>on</strong>g-term underground investigati<strong>on</strong>s<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> c<strong>on</strong>firm that the site selected <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> host a GDF is suitable <strong>and</strong> that a facility can<br />

be c<strong>on</strong>structed that can meet all safety <strong>and</strong> envir<strong>on</strong>mental regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry<br />

requirements. The process of site characterisati<strong>on</strong> will commence with n<strong>on</strong>intrusive<br />

surface based investigati<strong>on</strong>s followed by intrusive borehole<br />

investigati<strong>on</strong>s from ground surface (Stage 5 in the MRWS site selecti<strong>on</strong> process).<br />

The White Paper makes it clear that characterisati<strong>on</strong> work will c<strong>on</strong>tinue in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

Stage 6, during which tunnels at depths of hundreds of metres will be c<strong>on</strong>structed<br />

for the purpose of underground investigati<strong>on</strong>. The investigati<strong>on</strong>s in this<br />

underground envir<strong>on</strong>ment are planned <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be l<strong>on</strong>g-term <strong>and</strong> are intended <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> draw<br />

<strong>on</strong> a range of scientific <strong>and</strong> technical disciplines such as geology, geophysics,<br />

hydrogeology, chemistry <strong>and</strong> others. In the c<strong>on</strong>text of Stage 6 of the MRWS<br />

process, underground investigati<strong>on</strong>s will in effect be the first stage of the<br />

c<strong>on</strong>structi<strong>on</strong> of a GDF.<br />

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Box 6. Examples of Topics <strong>on</strong> which Underground R&D is needed for GDF<br />

Design <strong>and</strong> Safety Case Development<br />

• The resp<strong>on</strong>ses of the rock mass <strong>and</strong> existing underground openings <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

excavati<strong>on</strong>, this could include:<br />

• excavati<strong>on</strong> techniques <strong>and</strong> excavati<strong>on</strong> support techniques for the l<strong>on</strong>g term<br />

• deep drilling techniques<br />

• research in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the resp<strong>on</strong>se of rock masses <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> excavati<strong>on</strong> technique, <strong>and</strong><br />

opening size <strong>and</strong> orientati<strong>on</strong>;<br />

• the development of EDZs<br />

• the possible effect of excavati<strong>on</strong> <strong>on</strong> existing underground openings in given<br />

in situ stress c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong> the influence of excavati<strong>on</strong> <strong>on</strong> stress fields.<br />

• Engineered barrier performance:<br />

• full scale barrier tests<br />

• c<strong>on</strong>tainer tests<br />

• buffer <strong>and</strong> overpack tests<br />

• tunnel <strong>and</strong> shaft seals <strong>and</strong> ultimately facility seals<br />

• borehole sealing<br />

• Radi<strong>on</strong>uclide movement through the geosphere:<br />

• solute advecti<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> diffusi<strong>on</strong><br />

• colloidal transport<br />

• radi<strong>on</strong>uclide sorpti<strong>on</strong><br />

• gas threshold pressure relati<strong>on</strong>ships<br />

• Waste h<strong>and</strong>ling under realistic c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>s:<br />

• effects of heat <strong>and</strong> radiati<strong>on</strong> <strong>on</strong> the host rock<br />

• heat effect <strong>on</strong> structures<br />

• thermal-hydraulic-chemical-mechanical testing<br />

• The l<strong>on</strong>g-term performance of the GDF <strong>and</strong> the efficacy of the EBS under<br />

realistic c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>s:<br />

• dem<strong>on</strong>strati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> testing of disposal c<strong>on</strong>cept<br />

• materials interfaces, for example surrounding the co-locati<strong>on</strong> c<strong>on</strong>cept<br />

• backfill behaviour <strong>and</strong> efficacy<br />

• corrosi<strong>on</strong> of waste c<strong>on</strong>tainers<br />

• degradati<strong>on</strong> of waste forms<br />

• l<strong>on</strong>g-term performance of multiple underground openings.<br />

5.39 The RWMD R&D Strategy explains how its R&D will evolve during the MRWS<br />

process (NDA, <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>b). It states that during Stage 5 (surface-based<br />

investigati<strong>on</strong>s) its R&D will focus <strong>on</strong> the site-specific processes that will<br />

determine the performance of engineered barriers or c<strong>on</strong>trol the movement of<br />

fluids <strong>and</strong> radi<strong>on</strong>uclides. For Stage 6 it states that:<br />

“A key aspect of this phase will be underground investigati<strong>on</strong>s. There will be<br />

some site-specific informati<strong>on</strong> at a large spatial scale, which can <strong>on</strong>ly be<br />

obtained by investigati<strong>on</strong> underground in the specific geology <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

c<strong>on</strong>sidered for hosting the facility. We will carry out these investigati<strong>on</strong>s as<br />

part of the c<strong>on</strong>structi<strong>on</strong> of the facility <strong>and</strong> therefore our planning does not<br />

include a separate phase for R&D in an underground research labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry.”<br />

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5.40 Early in <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g> the emphasis in RWMD planning seemed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be <strong>on</strong> site<br />

characterisati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>on</strong> c<strong>on</strong>firming that R&D results obtained in the labora<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry or<br />

in URFs in other countries would be applicable <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the specific site at which it is<br />

proposed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> c<strong>on</strong>struct a GDF in the UK (NDA, <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>b). This would be similar <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

the approach in Finl<strong>and</strong>, where the ONKALO facility at the Olkiluo<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> GDF site is<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be used for characterisati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> c<strong>on</strong>firmati<strong>on</strong> but not for extensive R&D.<br />

However, scientists from Finl<strong>and</strong> have for many years participated in R&D<br />

programmes in URFs in Sweden, which are in geological envir<strong>on</strong>ments that are<br />

relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> Olkiluo<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>. RWMD has recently indicated that its underground<br />

investigati<strong>on</strong>s will include R&D <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> address uncertainties <strong>and</strong> support safety case<br />

development (CoRWM doc. 2630; NDA, <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>k).<br />

C<strong>on</strong>clusi<strong>on</strong>s <strong>on</strong> Infrastructure for R&D<br />

Active Facilities<br />

5.41 The UK has a limited number of facilities that are able <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support research with<br />

radioactive materials. In particular, the country has very few research facilities in<br />

which it is possible <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> h<strong>and</strong>le materials with levels of radioactivity above the very<br />

low c<strong>on</strong>centrati<strong>on</strong>s found in the envir<strong>on</strong>ment. The key facilities are those run by<br />

the NNL, which as a result of rati<strong>on</strong>alisati<strong>on</strong> operates the majority of the UK’s<br />

active civil research infrastructure.<br />

5.42 In CoRWM’s view, the NNL’s currently planned facilities, even when fully<br />

commissi<strong>on</strong>ed, will be inadequate <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support the full range of research required<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> manage higher activity wastes. Significant improvements <strong>and</strong> additi<strong>on</strong>al<br />

facilities are needed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> provide the UK with the capability <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> do research for its<br />

wide range of higher activity wastes.<br />

5.43 It is unclear <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> CoRWM how the NNL facilities will be made available for the full<br />

spectrum of research that is needed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> underpin the MRWS programme. The<br />

<strong>on</strong>ly R&D that can be performed in NNL facilities is that funded by NNL<br />

cus<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>mers, namely NDA <strong>and</strong> other nuclear industry organisati<strong>on</strong>s, who are<br />

unlikely <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support much fundamental research. There is currently no mechanism<br />

for the <strong>Research</strong> Councils <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> fund university research carried out in NNL active<br />

facilities, particularly that for which equipment must be bought.<br />

5.44 CoRWM believes that further development of NNL facilities for research with<br />

highly radioactive materials, <strong>and</strong> greater access <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> them, are the <strong>on</strong>ly realistic<br />

route <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the provisi<strong>on</strong> of the nati<strong>on</strong>al research infrastructure needed for the<br />

management of higher activity wastes.<br />

Underground <strong>Research</strong> Facilities<br />

5.45 It is clear <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> CoRWM that both underground site characterisati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

underground R&D are needed at any prospective GDF site in the UK. Surfacebased<br />

investigati<strong>on</strong>s will not be sufficient for site characterisati<strong>on</strong>. Even with the<br />

latest investigative techniques, significant underground site characterisati<strong>on</strong> will<br />

be required in relati<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> rock mass characteristics, hydrogeology, geochemistry<br />

<strong>and</strong> stress c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>s. Underground R&D will be needed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> inform GDF design<br />

<strong>and</strong> support safety case development, including by finding out whether R&D<br />

results obtained elsewhere are applicable <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a UK site. In practice, there is<br />

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unlikely <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be a clear distincti<strong>on</strong> between site characterisati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> R&D; rather<br />

there will be a c<strong>on</strong>tinuum of activities, all supporting GDF design <strong>and</strong> safety case<br />

development.<br />

5.46 In CoRWM’s view, the most effective way <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> carry out the necessary<br />

underground R&D would be in a URF at any site where it is proposed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

c<strong>on</strong>struct a GDF. The URF could share access with the GDF but should be<br />

c<strong>on</strong>structed so as <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> avoid interacti<strong>on</strong> with it. The URF would be used prior <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

start of waste emplacement <strong>and</strong> for as l<strong>on</strong>g as necessary while the GDF is open.<br />

It could, for example, hold dummy waste packages that could be retrieved for<br />

detailed inspecti<strong>on</strong>, or be used <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop <strong>and</strong> test post-closure m<strong>on</strong>i<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ring<br />

techniques.<br />

5.47 The R&D <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be carried out in a URF before waste emplacement begins must be<br />

clearly specified, discussed with a wide range of stakeholders, including the host<br />

community <strong>and</strong> researchers independent of the NDA, <strong>and</strong> agreed with regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs.<br />

It is important <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> allow sufficient time <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> carry out the R&D, <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> process <strong>and</strong><br />

assimilate the results, before a decisi<strong>on</strong> is taken <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> c<strong>on</strong>struct the GDF. All those<br />

involved in the geological disposal programme need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be aware that the R&D<br />

may take decades.<br />

5.48 Until a site-specific URF is available in the UK, there will need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be increased<br />

participati<strong>on</strong> in generic R&D programmes in underground facilities in other<br />

countries. This would enable UK researchers <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> gain experience <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop<br />

techniques for use in this country, as well as providing additi<strong>on</strong>al knowledge for<br />

the UK’s geological disposal programme.<br />

5.49 Other countries that are investigating the feasibility of geological disposal have<br />

carried out underground R&D, either at prospective disposal sites or in separate<br />

facilities in similar geologies <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> such sites. The internati<strong>on</strong>al c<strong>on</strong>sensus is that<br />

underground R&D helps <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> increase public c<strong>on</strong>fidence. Carrying it out at a<br />

prospective disposal site will be more cost effective than establishing a separate<br />

URF in a similar geological envir<strong>on</strong>ment.<br />

5.50 RCUK (Secti<strong>on</strong> 3) has the ability <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> fund, or part-fund directly, large scale<br />

research facilities. Examples of generic large-scale facilities are aircraft, ships<br />

<strong>and</strong> large data sets. It is possible that RCUK could c<strong>on</strong>tribute <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the funding of a<br />

URF, particularly supporting provisi<strong>on</strong> of infrastructure or equipment, or access <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

underground facilities, for fundamental research.<br />

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6. SOME R&D ISSUES<br />

6.1 R&D carried out over the last few decades in the UK <strong>and</strong> other countries has<br />

produced a substantial body of knowledge about the c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing, packaging,<br />

s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> geological disposal of higher activity wastes. This knowledge base is<br />

sufficient <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support the choice of l<strong>on</strong>g-term management methods for these<br />

wastes. In particular, CoRWM is c<strong>on</strong>vinced that enough is currently known about<br />

geological disposal <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> engender c<strong>on</strong>fidence that it is the right way forward.<br />

However, there are still uncertainties that need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be addressed <strong>and</strong> knowledge<br />

gaps that need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be filled before it can be implemented at a specific site in the<br />

UK. Further informati<strong>on</strong> is also required as input <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> detailed decisi<strong>on</strong>s <strong>on</strong> the<br />

c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing, packaging <strong>and</strong> s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage of the UK’s higher activity wastes. R&D over<br />

the next few decades must focus <strong>on</strong> these uncertainties <strong>and</strong> gaps in knowledge.<br />

6.2 During the course of its work in 2008 <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>, CoRWM became aware of a<br />

number of specific <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics which it believes may require significant R&D. Details of<br />

these <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics are given in Appendix A. In this secti<strong>on</strong> CoRWM highlights key<br />

points arising from its examinati<strong>on</strong> of these <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics. The Committee’s<br />

c<strong>on</strong>siderati<strong>on</strong> of specific <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics was by no means exhaustive but serves <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

illustrate the nature <strong>and</strong> extent of some of the key issues. It is not in CoRWM’s<br />

remit, nor does it have the resources, <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> cover all issues in detail.<br />

Key Points <strong>on</strong> Waste C<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing, Packaging <strong>and</strong> S<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage R&D<br />

ILW Product Lifetimes<br />

6.3 CoRWM is c<strong>on</strong>cerned about the level of R&D effort being devoted <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> determining<br />

the lifetimes of ILW wasteforms. Given the number <strong>and</strong> diversity of ILW<br />

packages that will be produced over the rest of the lifetime of the UK’s nuclear<br />

sites, <strong>and</strong> the potential significance of wasteform performance for transportability<br />

<strong>and</strong> disposability, the effort being devoted <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> resolving uncertainties over product<br />

lifetimes does not seem <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be sufficient. NDA’s UK s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage review (NDA, <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>d)<br />

identifies the existence <strong>and</strong> nature of this problem but gives no indicati<strong>on</strong> that<br />

there will be substantial further R&D.<br />

Graphite<br />

6.4 If immobilised <strong>and</strong> packaged in similar ways <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> other ILW, bulk graphite would<br />

occupy a great deal of space in a GDF. It is therefore important <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> explore<br />

treatment opti<strong>on</strong>s that would reduce the volume of graphite for geological<br />

disposal. Current graphite R&D is being carried out under the 4-year EC<br />

Carbowaste programme. NDA is taking the lead <strong>on</strong> UK strategy development for<br />

graphite, with support from its Magnox SLCs <strong>and</strong> involvement of British Energy.<br />

CoRWM underst<strong>and</strong>s that the IAEA is also establishing a Co-ordinated <strong>Research</strong><br />

Project <strong>on</strong> graphite. This is <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be welcomed because it will enable a wider range<br />

of countries <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> share expertise <strong>and</strong> ideas. There may also be a need for bilateral<br />

co-operative approaches.<br />

Management of Spent Fuels<br />

6.5 There are several <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics <strong>on</strong> which R&D is likely <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be needed in order <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop<br />

reference <strong>and</strong> c<strong>on</strong>tingent strategies for the management of spent fuels. These<br />

include:<br />

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• drying Magnox fuel, prior <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> dry s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage<br />

• encapsulati<strong>on</strong> of Magnox fuel for geological disposal<br />

• drying AGR fuel, prior <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> dry s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage<br />

• c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> packaging of AGR fuel for geological disposal<br />

• c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> packaging Sizewell B PWR fuel for geological disposal.<br />

6.6 R&D <strong>on</strong> some of these <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics is in h<strong>and</strong> but some have yet <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be addressed. It is<br />

anticipated that work <strong>on</strong> management strategies for “exotic fuels” <strong>and</strong> for<br />

submarine fuel will lead <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the identificati<strong>on</strong> of a number of R&D needs.<br />

Key Points <strong>on</strong> Geological Disposal R&D<br />

Radi<strong>on</strong>uclide Migrati<strong>on</strong> with Groundwater from a Closed GDF<br />

6.7 If predicti<strong>on</strong>s of radi<strong>on</strong>uclide migrati<strong>on</strong> with groundwater are <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be reliable they<br />

need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be based <strong>on</strong> a good underst<strong>and</strong>ing of the mechanisms involved. This<br />

requires, for the key radi<strong>on</strong>uclides, advances in knowledge of:<br />

• the physico-chemical forms of the radi<strong>on</strong>uclides<br />

• the spatial variability, temporal evoluti<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> reactivity of mineral surfaces<br />

• upscaling molecular level models <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> estimate bulk chemical properties<br />

<strong>and</strong> predict transport over hundreds of metres.<br />

Gas Generati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> Migrati<strong>on</strong> in a Closed GDF<br />

6.8 Gas generati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> migrati<strong>on</strong> are of particular importance <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> geological disposal<br />

in the UK because of the high volumes <strong>and</strong> diverse nature of higher activity<br />

wastes, <strong>and</strong> the volumes of groundwater that could be present in a closed GDF<br />

after resaturati<strong>on</strong>. The bulk gases of c<strong>on</strong>cern are hydrogen <strong>and</strong> methane. BGS is<br />

the lead researcher in the EU FORGE project <strong>and</strong> is supported in this by the<br />

NDA. This is a good example of working with the internati<strong>on</strong>al community <strong>on</strong> an<br />

issue of particular relevance <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the UK.<br />

Criticality in a Closed GDF<br />

6.9 Previous UK work <strong>on</strong> criticality in a closed GDF has focused <strong>on</strong> ILW, for which<br />

the criticality hazard appears <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be low. The hazard for spent fuel <strong>and</strong>/or<br />

plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium is higher <strong>and</strong> requires rigorous assessment for the purposes of safety<br />

case development <strong>and</strong> optimisati<strong>on</strong> of GDF design. The assessment of criticality<br />

hazard is dem<strong>and</strong>ing, requiring knowledge of wasteform performance, nuclear<br />

physics data, fissile material migrati<strong>on</strong> in the GDF envir<strong>on</strong>ment, <strong>and</strong> neutr<strong>on</strong><br />

transport modelling. In the absence of specific informati<strong>on</strong> <strong>on</strong> the GDF,<br />

wasteforms <strong>and</strong> inven<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry, the primary need for research in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> criticality is <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

preserve <strong>and</strong> develop UK capability <strong>and</strong> make the most use of work carried out in<br />

countries that have been working <strong>on</strong> geological disposal of spent fuel for many<br />

years.<br />

Co-Locati<strong>on</strong> of Various Types of Waste in a GDF<br />

6.10 There are several issues <strong>on</strong> which research is likely <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> inform a<br />

decisi<strong>on</strong> <strong>on</strong> whether it is preferable <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> have <strong>on</strong>e GDF in which all higher activity<br />

waste is co-located or two (or more) GDFs for different types of higher activity<br />

wastes. These issues include: the potential for <strong>and</strong> extent of cement-ben<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nite<br />

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interacti<strong>on</strong>s, the impact of highly alkaline waters <strong>on</strong> HLW, the effects of<br />

thermally-driven circulati<strong>on</strong> <strong>on</strong> performance of the ILW disposal system, <strong>and</strong> the<br />

impact of gas generati<strong>on</strong> in the ILW/LLW part of a GDF <strong>on</strong> groundwater<br />

movement in the HLW/spent fuel part.<br />

GDF Design<br />

6.11 CoRWM recommended (CoRWM doc. 2550) that there should be an integrated<br />

process for GDF design, site assessment <strong>and</strong> safety case development. Such a<br />

process is likely <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> highlight areas of uncertainty in relati<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> design<br />

development, detailed design <strong>and</strong> assessment of design performance throughout<br />

the operati<strong>on</strong>al life of a GDF. For example, R&D may be required at the c<strong>on</strong>cept<br />

development stage <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> underst<strong>and</strong> the impact that co-locati<strong>on</strong> will have <strong>on</strong> GDF<br />

design. At the detailed design stage the site specific resp<strong>on</strong>se of the rock mass<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> c<strong>on</strong>structi<strong>on</strong> activity will need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be unders<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>od <strong>and</strong> the l<strong>on</strong>g-term stability of all<br />

underground openings will need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be established.<br />

Geosphere Characterisati<strong>on</strong><br />

6.12 Surface-based characterisati<strong>on</strong> will be undertaken during Stage 5 of the MRWS<br />

site selecti<strong>on</strong> process <strong>and</strong> underground characterisati<strong>on</strong> during Stage 6. The<br />

NDA is carrying out a Geosphere Characterisati<strong>on</strong> project that aims <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop<br />

<strong>and</strong> maintain an underst<strong>and</strong>ing of the approaches <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the design <strong>and</strong><br />

implementati<strong>on</strong> of the investigati<strong>on</strong>s (both surface <strong>and</strong> sub-surface) that will be<br />

required <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> prepare for such work.<br />

6.13 The project has not yet c<strong>on</strong>cluded but areas have been identified that, CoRWM<br />

c<strong>on</strong>siders, would benefit from R&D. For example, R&D may be required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> define<br />

the chemical descripti<strong>on</strong>s <strong>and</strong> models for the near field, geosphere <strong>and</strong><br />

biosphere <strong>and</strong> in the definiti<strong>on</strong> of models of site-scale hydrology, hydrogeology<br />

<strong>and</strong> paleohydrogeology. As the project progresses other <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics for R&D will be<br />

identified. It is unclear, <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> CoRWM, whether R&D needs identified from this<br />

project are progressing or are being planned, or whether the skills <strong>and</strong> resources<br />

have been identified <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> undertake the work.<br />

Microbiology<br />

6.14 Microbial processes are poorly unders<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>od <strong>and</strong> may impact <strong>on</strong> the performance<br />

of a GDF. Whilst many aspects of a GDF’s microbial ecology will be site specific,<br />

there is a need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> build capability <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> c<strong>on</strong>duct site specific R&D <strong>and</strong> it is desirable<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> carry out generic research in advance of site specific studies. It is necessary <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

develop UK capability in techniques for the sampling <strong>and</strong> characterisati<strong>on</strong> of<br />

subsurface microbial communities, which are technically difficult. Generic<br />

research areas could include the ecology of high pH, anaerobes <strong>and</strong><br />

thermophiles <strong>and</strong> the ecology of radioactive, hydrogen-rich systems.<br />

Geosphere Evoluti<strong>on</strong><br />

6.15 Over the lifespan of a GDF there will potentially be significant changes in<br />

groundwater chemistry, regi<strong>on</strong>al groundwater gradients, rock hydraulic<br />

properties, geochemical properties (including mineralogical surfaces for<br />

adsorpti<strong>on</strong>), mechanical loading, microbial ecology <strong>and</strong> sea level. To reduce<br />

uncertainty in model predicti<strong>on</strong>s of physical, chemical <strong>and</strong> microbiological<br />

geosphere evoluti<strong>on</strong> there is a need for further research <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop fundamental<br />

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process-based models. Further, <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> validate such models, new field analogues<br />

should be sought that illuminate the role of individual processes in geosphere<br />

evoluti<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> are applicable <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the timescales appropriate for geological disposal<br />

of higher activity wastes.<br />

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Strategic Co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> of UK Radioactive Waste Management R&D<br />

7.1 CoRWM c<strong>on</strong>siders that there is a need for more strategic co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> of R&D<br />

for the management of higher activity wastes throughout the UK. This strategic<br />

co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> is required within NDA (including its SLCs), between NDA <strong>and</strong><br />

other parts of the nuclear industry (including MoD), am<strong>on</strong>gst the <strong>Research</strong><br />

Councils, <strong>and</strong> between the nuclear industry, its regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs <strong>and</strong> the <strong>Research</strong><br />

Councils.<br />

7.2 Within NDA the need is for more strategic co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> of R&D carried out by its<br />

SLCs, RWMD <strong>and</strong> within its DRP. It is particularly important <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> co-ordinate<br />

RWMD’s R&D for implementati<strong>on</strong> of geological disposal with SLC <strong>and</strong> DRP R&D<br />

for waste c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing, packaging <strong>and</strong> s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> <strong>on</strong> the management of spent<br />

fuels, plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium <strong>and</strong> uranium that may be declared <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be wastes. The lack of<br />

such co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> would lead <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a poor use of the NDA’s resources (effort, time<br />

<strong>and</strong> m<strong>on</strong>ey).<br />

7.3 Between NDA <strong>and</strong> the nuclear industry there is a need for strategic co-ordinati<strong>on</strong><br />

of R&D <strong>and</strong> agreement <strong>on</strong> nati<strong>on</strong>al priorities. As well as enabling better use <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

made of resources, this would ensure that key issues are tackled in a timely way.<br />

7.4 Of the five <strong>Research</strong> Councils that could potentially fund research relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

management of higher activity radioactive wastes, <strong>on</strong>ly two are doing so at<br />

present <strong>and</strong> <strong>on</strong>ly <strong>on</strong>e at a substantial level. The <strong>Research</strong> Councils do not seem<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> have recognised the need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> come <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>gether <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> identify the fundamental<br />

research required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> underpin the MRWS programme. They should work <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>gether<br />

in an open <strong>and</strong> transparent way <strong>and</strong> involve prospective researchers in all the<br />

relevant fields, as well as the nuclear industry <strong>and</strong> its regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs. All these<br />

stakeholders should agree nati<strong>on</strong>al priorities for the research <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be funded by the<br />

Councils. This will maximise the benefits of the <strong>Research</strong> Councils’ resources <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

the MRWS programme.<br />

7.5 CoRWM does not wish <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be prescriptive about the co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> mechanisms <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

be used in any of these cases. However, it has identified a number of attributes it<br />

thinks the mechanisms should have in all cases. These are that the mechanisms<br />

should:<br />

• cover the R&D needs of all the relevant UK organisati<strong>on</strong>s<br />

• be open <strong>and</strong> transparent<br />

• involve researchers, the nuclear industry, its regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs <strong>and</strong> other<br />

stakeholders<br />

• agree nati<strong>on</strong>al priorities for R&D<br />

• encourage innovati<strong>on</strong><br />

• foster collaborati<strong>on</strong> with other countries<br />

• ensure R&D is carried out in a timely manner<br />

• involve independent nati<strong>on</strong>al <strong>and</strong> internati<strong>on</strong>al review<br />

• ensure R&D results are disseminated <strong>and</strong> acted up<strong>on</strong>.<br />

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7.6 In CoRWM’s view no single existing body, as presently c<strong>on</strong>stituted, is capable of<br />

overseeing the necessary strategic co-ordinati<strong>on</strong> mechanisms. Either several<br />

bodies would need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> work <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>gether or an existing body would need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

augmented in order <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> fulfil the oversight role.<br />

7.7 It is essential that future UK R&D programmes for the management of higher<br />

activity wastes c<strong>on</strong>tain sufficient fundamental research, as well as applied<br />

research <strong>and</strong> development. In deciding which R&D <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> fund <strong>and</strong> when, account<br />

should be taken of the needs of the overall programme for the management of<br />

higher activity wastes, the needs for safety case development <strong>and</strong> the lead times<br />

<strong>and</strong> durati<strong>on</strong>s of R&D projects.<br />

Recommendati<strong>on</strong> 1<br />

CoRWM recommends <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> that it ensures that there is strategic coordinati<strong>on</strong><br />

of UK R&D for the management of higher activity wastes. Such coordinati<strong>on</strong><br />

is required within the NDA, between the NDA <strong>and</strong> the rest of the nuclear<br />

industry, am<strong>on</strong>gst the <strong>Research</strong> Councils <strong>and</strong> between the whole of the nuclear<br />

industry, its regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs <strong>and</strong> the <strong>Research</strong> Councils.<br />

Regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry <strong>Research</strong><br />

7.8 HSE has a resp<strong>on</strong>sibility <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensure that appropriate nuclear safety research<br />

programmes are carried out, including nuclear safety research related <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

management of higher activity waste. It has a well-established mechanism for<br />

fulfilling this resp<strong>on</strong>sibility. HSE commissi<strong>on</strong>s its own research <strong>and</strong> sets out the<br />

research <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics that nuclear site licensees should address.<br />

7.9 EA <strong>and</strong> SEPA have relatively modest research programmes <strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics of<br />

regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry interest in the areas of radioactive waste management <strong>and</strong> related<br />

health <strong>and</strong> envir<strong>on</strong>mental protecti<strong>on</strong> issues. CoRWM believes that EA will need<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> commissi<strong>on</strong> more independent research as the MRWS programme proceeds<br />

in order <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> carry out its role as a regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r of geological disposal of higher activity<br />

wastes. CoRWM also expects that SEPA will need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> commissi<strong>on</strong> research <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

assist it in the regulati<strong>on</strong> of the management of higher activity wastes in Scotl<strong>and</strong>.<br />

Recommendati<strong>on</strong> 2<br />

CoRWM recommends <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> that it ensures that the Envir<strong>on</strong>ment Agency<br />

<strong>and</strong> the Scottish Envir<strong>on</strong>ment Protecti<strong>on</strong> Agency obtain the resources that they need<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> access <strong>and</strong> commissi<strong>on</strong> the additi<strong>on</strong>al independent research required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support<br />

them fully in their regulati<strong>on</strong> of the management of higher activity wastes.<br />

R&D Skills <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> Support the MRWS Programme<br />

7.10 The importance of maintaining nuclear skills in the UK was recognised some<br />

years ago <strong>and</strong> steps have been taken <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> reverse the decline that was occurring.<br />

In recent years there has been a significant improvement but there is some way<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> go, particularly for R&D skills.<br />

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7.11 CoRWM has found that resp<strong>on</strong>sibility for the provisi<strong>on</strong> of R&D skills is split<br />

between many organisati<strong>on</strong>s. Although each organisati<strong>on</strong> is playing its part, there<br />

seems <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be a lack of nati<strong>on</strong>al leadership <strong>and</strong> strategic directi<strong>on</strong>. CoRWM thinks<br />

that this would be best rectified by assigning <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a single organisati<strong>on</strong> the<br />

resp<strong>on</strong>sibility for providing this leadership <strong>and</strong> directi<strong>on</strong>. This organisati<strong>on</strong> should<br />

be capable of taking a clear overview of the R&D skills needs of the whole of the<br />

nuclear industry, existing <strong>and</strong> new, civil <strong>and</strong> defence. CoRWM believes that the<br />

Cogent Sec<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r Skills Council, with additi<strong>on</strong>al expertise, could fulfil this role.<br />

Recommendati<strong>on</strong> 3<br />

CoRWM recommends <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> that it assigns <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a single organisati<strong>on</strong> the<br />

resp<strong>on</strong>sibility for providing nati<strong>on</strong>al leadership <strong>and</strong> strategic directi<strong>on</strong> for provisi<strong>on</strong> of<br />

R&D skills relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the l<strong>on</strong>g-term management of radioactive wastes.<br />

Infrastructure Required for R&D – Facilities for <strong>Research</strong> with Highly Radioactive<br />

Materials<br />

7.12 CoRWM c<strong>on</strong>siders that the UK’s existing facilities for research with highly<br />

radioactive materials are inadequate <strong>and</strong> in need of improvement. In additi<strong>on</strong>,<br />

new facilities need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be established in order <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> support the full spectrum of<br />

research relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the management of higher activity wastes, including<br />

geological disposal.<br />

7.13 Almost all of the existing facilities for research with highly radioactive materials<br />

are operated by NNL. There are plans <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> widen access, but at present the <strong>on</strong>ly<br />

R&D that can be performed in these facilities is that funded by NNL cus<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>mers,<br />

primarily the NDA <strong>and</strong> other nuclear industry organisati<strong>on</strong>s. It is essential that<br />

funders <strong>and</strong> providers of fundamental research can access the facilities they<br />

need in order <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> c<strong>on</strong>tribute <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> R&D for the management of higher activity wastes,<br />

both now <strong>and</strong> in the future.<br />

Recommendati<strong>on</strong> 4<br />

CoRWM recommends <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> that it ensures that facilities for research with<br />

highly radioactive materials are improved <strong>and</strong> their capability enhanced so that they<br />

can be used for the full spectrum of research relevant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the l<strong>on</strong>g-term management<br />

of higher activity wastes. These facilities should be accessible <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> all researchers who<br />

need them.<br />

Infrastructure Required for R&D – Underground <strong>Research</strong> Facility<br />

7.14 Underground investigati<strong>on</strong>s will be needed at the site of any proposed GDF in the<br />

UK. These investigati<strong>on</strong>s need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> include both underground site characterisati<strong>on</strong><br />

work <strong>and</strong> underground R&D if they are <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> provide sufficient input <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> GDF design<br />

<strong>and</strong> safety case development. CoRWM is of the view that this R&D should be<br />

carried out in a URF at any site where it is proposed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> c<strong>on</strong>struct a GDF.<br />

7.15 An R&D programme should be carried out in the URF prior <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the decisi<strong>on</strong> as <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

whether <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> proceed with GDF c<strong>on</strong>structi<strong>on</strong>. This programme should be discussed<br />

with a range of stakeholders, including the community local <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the site <strong>and</strong><br />

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independent scientists, <strong>and</strong> agreed with regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs. The geological disposal<br />

programme should allow time <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> carry out the required R&D <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> disseminate<br />

<strong>and</strong> assimilate its results. It should be recognised that this underground R&D<br />

may take decades. The URF should c<strong>on</strong>tinue <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be used for as l<strong>on</strong>g as is<br />

necessary while the GDF is open.<br />

7.16 Until a URF is available in the UK, generic R&D should be carried out in<br />

underground facilities in other countries. This would allow UK researchers <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> gain<br />

the necessary experience, as well as providing informati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> techniques <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

used in the UK geological disposal programme.<br />

Recommendati<strong>on</strong> 5<br />

CoRWM recommends <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> that an underground research facility be<br />

c<strong>on</strong>structed at any site where it is proposed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> c<strong>on</strong>struct a geological disposal facility.<br />

Public <strong>and</strong> Stakeholder Engagement for R&D<br />

7.17 At present, as in the past, stakeholders who are outside the organisati<strong>on</strong>s that<br />

fund <strong>and</strong> carry out R&D have little opportunity <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> influence UK R&D programmes<br />

<strong>on</strong> radioactive waste management. There is a general lack of transparency in<br />

establishing R&D requirements <strong>and</strong> commercial reas<strong>on</strong>s are often cited as a<br />

reas<strong>on</strong> for not publishing results.<br />

7.18 CoRWM believes that this situati<strong>on</strong> must change. As implied in Recommendati<strong>on</strong><br />

1, a wider range of stakeholders should be involved in establishing R&D<br />

requirements. It is also necessary <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> make accessible informati<strong>on</strong> available <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

public about R&D needs, progress <strong>and</strong> plans.<br />

Recommendati<strong>on</strong> 6<br />

CoRWM recommends <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> that mechanisms are put in place <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ensure<br />

that a wider range of stakeholders than <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> date will be involved in establishing R&D<br />

requirements for the l<strong>on</strong>g-term management of higher activity wastes <strong>and</strong> that<br />

accessible informati<strong>on</strong> will be made available <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the public about R&D needs, plans<br />

<strong>and</strong> progress.<br />

Specific R&D Issues<br />

7.19 In additi<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> arrangements for providing R&D <strong>and</strong> the skills <strong>and</strong> infrastructure<br />

needed for it, CoRWM also c<strong>on</strong>sidered some of the <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics <strong>on</strong> which further R&D<br />

is likely <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be required for the l<strong>on</strong>g-term management of the UK’s higher activity<br />

wastes. In doing so it recognised that future R&D programmes will need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> build<br />

<strong>on</strong> the substantial body of knowledge that already exists as a result of past R&D<br />

in the UK <strong>and</strong> other countries. This current knowledge base is sufficient <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

c<strong>on</strong>fident that geological disposal is the right way forward. In future R&D it will be<br />

necessary <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> focus <strong>on</strong> knowledge gaps <strong>and</strong> uncertainties that are important for<br />

UK wastes <strong>and</strong>, in the case of geological disposal, for the types of rocks in which<br />

a GDF may be located. The results of CoRWM’s c<strong>on</strong>siderati<strong>on</strong> of specific <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics<br />

are in Secti<strong>on</strong> 6 <strong>and</strong> Appendix A. CoRWM did not attempt <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> identify, c<strong>on</strong>sider or<br />

prioritise every <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pic <strong>on</strong> which R&D may be needed. The material in Secti<strong>on</strong> 6<br />

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<strong>and</strong> Appendix A is <strong>on</strong>ly intended <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> illustrate the range of R&D that could be<br />

required over the next few decades.<br />

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A.1 As highlighted in paragraphs 6.1 <strong>and</strong> 6.2, a substantial body of knowledge exists<br />

about the c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing, packaging, s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> geological disposal of higher<br />

activity wastes. This knowledge base is sufficient for CoRWM <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be c<strong>on</strong>fident that<br />

geological disposal is the right way forward. During its work CoRWM became<br />

aware of a number of <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics, given in this Appendix, which it believes may require<br />

significant R&D. This list of <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics, while extensive, should not be taken as a<br />

reas<strong>on</strong> for not proceeding with geological disposal. It simply highlights that there<br />

are still uncertainties <strong>and</strong> knowledge gaps, inevitable in such a large undertaking,<br />

which will need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be addressed by further R&D.<br />

Waste Package Specificati<strong>on</strong>s, Post-Closure Safety <strong>and</strong> Retrievability<br />

A.2 The waste package specificati<strong>on</strong>s used by the NDA were developed by Nirex <strong>and</strong><br />

are closely linked <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> its c<strong>on</strong>cepts for geological disposal of ILW (Nirex, 2007). The<br />

post-closure safety cases for these c<strong>on</strong>cepts did not take any credit for the waste<br />

c<strong>on</strong>tainer or the physical durability of the waste form. However, they assumed<br />

cementitious waste forms <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ok in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> account a c<strong>on</strong>tributi<strong>on</strong> of these <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

alkaline envir<strong>on</strong>ment which would exist within a disposal facility, largely as a<br />

result of the cementitious backfill. The package specificati<strong>on</strong>s now include a<br />

target c<strong>on</strong>tainer life (500 years) <strong>and</strong> target time for the waste form <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> retain its<br />

integrity (200 years) based <strong>on</strong> s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage, emplacement in a GDF <strong>and</strong> the potential<br />

for the GDF <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> remain open for a few hundred years with waste packages readily<br />

retrievable (NDA, 2008a). Post-closure safety is dealt with in the LoC process by<br />

assessing whether the proposed waste form will be compatible with the assumed<br />

cementitious backfill, rather than by explicit specificati<strong>on</strong>s. This lack of a clear link<br />

between the safety case <strong>and</strong> the waste package specificati<strong>on</strong>s causes c<strong>on</strong>fusi<strong>on</strong><br />

<strong>and</strong> makes it difficult <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> specify R&D requirements <strong>on</strong> the behaviour of waste<br />

packages after disposal.<br />

A.3 In the IoP S<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage meeting (CoRWM doc. 2519) the issue of the impact of the<br />

need for retrievability <strong>on</strong> R&D programmes was emphasised. However, like the<br />

issue of s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re lifetime, the lack of clarity <strong>on</strong> retrievability makes defining R&D<br />

programmes difficult for those in the industry. In its 2006 recommendati<strong>on</strong>s<br />

CoRWM made it clear that it did not see retrievability as a necessary prerequisite<br />

of any geological disposal c<strong>on</strong>cept for the UK’s higher activity wastes. However,<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g> decided (Defra et al., 2008) that host communities should have a<br />

role in deciding <strong>on</strong> the time for which a GDF is designed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> remain open, with<br />

waste packages retrievable.<br />

A.4 NDA waste package specificati<strong>on</strong>s are currently based <strong>on</strong> an assumpti<strong>on</strong> that<br />

retrievability may be needed for up <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> 300 years. This leads <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a target c<strong>on</strong>tainer<br />

life of 500 years. Dem<strong>on</strong>strating this target could be met would require<br />

c<strong>on</strong>siderable R&D. It is thus important <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> clarify the status of the target. This in<br />

turn requires an examinati<strong>on</strong> of the technical implicati<strong>on</strong>s of retrievability. In<br />

additi<strong>on</strong>, earlier waste packages have been prepared <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> different, less stringent<br />

specificati<strong>on</strong>s, <strong>and</strong> it is uncertain whether these will comply with the newer, more<br />

dem<strong>and</strong>ing specificati<strong>on</strong>s.<br />

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Current <strong>and</strong> Planned R&D for ILW<br />

A.5 In CoRWM’s meetings with NDA, NNL, SLCs, other waste producers, regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs<br />

<strong>and</strong> others it has been made aware of some <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pics that are, or it believes should<br />

be, the focus of R&D programmes for ILW. CoRWM has some c<strong>on</strong>cerns that the<br />

2006 NDA Needs, Risks <strong>and</strong> Opportunities in R&D document (NDA, 2006a) does<br />

not address c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing, packaging <strong>and</strong> s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage of ILW <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the extent that is now<br />

appropriate. It hopes the versi<strong>on</strong> currently in preparati<strong>on</strong> will cover these issues<br />

in this secti<strong>on</strong> of Appendix A in more detail. Documents that proved useful in<br />

preparing this secti<strong>on</strong> include the NDA’s Review of UK S<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage Related R&D<br />

(draft seen by CoRWM) <strong>and</strong> Nexia Soluti<strong>on</strong>s (now NNL) Review of the Current<br />

Status of Underpinning R&D Relating <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ILW Package L<strong>on</strong>gevity (Nexia, 2007).<br />

The latter report is based <strong>on</strong> a meeting of interested groups including EA, SEPA,<br />

Nirex, UKAEA, BNGSL, Magnox SLC <strong>and</strong> Nexia Soluti<strong>on</strong>s which was chaired by<br />

the NDA <strong>and</strong> is an example of good practice in terms of bringing all relevant<br />

stakeholders <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>gether.<br />

ILW C<strong>on</strong>taining Reactive Metals<br />

A.6 After about 15 years of s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage localised surface bulges have been observed <strong>on</strong><br />

Magnox Encapsulati<strong>on</strong> Plant (MEP) drums c<strong>on</strong>taining reactive metals (EA, 2008).<br />

Since these anomalies were discovered the regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs have required Sellafield<br />

Ltd <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> investigate what caused them <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> appear, as input <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> determining whether<br />

remedial acti<strong>on</strong> is required. The original LoC for the MEP drums <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ok full account<br />

of the likely corrosi<strong>on</strong> of Magnox metal in the drums during s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong><br />

c<strong>on</strong>tained a caveat about the uranium c<strong>on</strong>tent of the drums. The bulges are<br />

thought <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be a result of the presence of large (kilogramme-sized) pieces of<br />

uranium in the drums <strong>and</strong> operati<strong>on</strong>al procedures have been changed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> prevent<br />

this in future. Work is c<strong>on</strong>tinuing <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> c<strong>on</strong>firm the causes of the bulges <strong>and</strong> assess<br />

their significance (CoRWM doc. 2464; NDA, 2008a).<br />

A.7 Questi<strong>on</strong>s of wasteform durability are described within SLC TBuRDs, for example<br />

35185 Encapsulated ILW Drum S<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> 35125 Magnox Waste<br />

Encapsulati<strong>on</strong> in the Sellafield TBuRD. It is stated explicitly in the Sellafield<br />

TBuRD “This strategy covers encapsulati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> safe s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage of ILW products<br />

produced by c<strong>on</strong>signor plants <strong>on</strong> the Sellafield site up <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the point at which a<br />

disposal route becomes available”.<br />

A.8 In the c<strong>on</strong>text of a 500-year target lifetime for the waste c<strong>on</strong>tainer (CoRWM doc.<br />

2389), both measurement of “s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re corrosivity” <strong>and</strong> quantitative assessment of<br />

“waste package degradati<strong>on</strong>” are very challenging, not least because there is no<br />

current c<strong>on</strong>sensus <strong>on</strong> those parameters which need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be measured, <strong>and</strong> there<br />

will be a need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> measure n<strong>on</strong>-linear processes which give rise <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> very small<br />

changes <strong>and</strong> operate at very slow rates. A required element of the safety cases<br />

for s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> disposal will be a well-founded predictive model for waste<br />

package behaviour. Due <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the l<strong>on</strong>g timescales, CoRWM believes that any such<br />

model will need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be derived from a process-based, mechanistic underst<strong>and</strong>ing;<br />

extrapolati<strong>on</strong> from empirical data is unlikely <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be sufficient. Currently, this<br />

required level of mechanistic underst<strong>and</strong>ing does not exist for UK waste<br />

packages.<br />

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Graphite<br />

A.9 The UK has a large volume (about 86,300 <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nnes of ILW equivalent <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a raw<br />

volume of about 73,000m 3 ) of graphite that is activated or c<strong>on</strong>taminated. This has<br />

implicati<strong>on</strong>s for the geological disposal programme due <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the large space the<br />

graphite would potentially occupy in any GDF unless waste volume minimisati<strong>on</strong><br />

technology is applied. Opti<strong>on</strong>s for graphite treatment, reuse <strong>and</strong> disposal have<br />

been discussed at several recent workshops (Norris et al., 2007; NDA, 2006b).<br />

Apart from its volume, a key c<strong>on</strong>cern with this waste is that it c<strong>on</strong>tains significant<br />

quantities of the potentially mobile <strong>and</strong> relatively l<strong>on</strong>g-lived radi<strong>on</strong>uclides carb<strong>on</strong>-<br />

14 <strong>and</strong> chlorine-36. Since geological disposal of the current volume of graphite<br />

may not be the optimal route, R&D is being undertaken <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> identify the better<br />

soluti<strong>on</strong>s. The opti<strong>on</strong>s being c<strong>on</strong>sidered for bulk reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r graphite are:<br />

• Treat all graphite waste as ILW <strong>and</strong> ensure the GDF caters for the large<br />

volumes of material. This is the baseline opti<strong>on</strong>.<br />

• C<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong> graphite waste <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> remove the l<strong>on</strong>g-lived radioiso<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>pes <strong>and</strong> dispose<br />

of the residual graphite at LLWR or an alternative near-surface disposal<br />

facility.<br />

• C<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong> LLW <strong>and</strong>/or ILW graphite waste <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> remove most of the<br />

c<strong>on</strong>taminati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> free release or reuse the graphite where possible.<br />

• Separate disposal facility (or facilities) for graphitic wastes, including a nearsurface<br />

disposal opti<strong>on</strong>.<br />

• Interim s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re ILW graphitic wastes <strong>and</strong> c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong> for either LLW disposal or<br />

free release.<br />

A.10 Current graphite R&D is being carried out under the 4-year EC Carbowaste<br />

programme. The NDA is taking the lead in UK strategy development for graphite,<br />

with support from its Magnox SLCs who are opti<strong>on</strong>eering potential treatment <strong>and</strong><br />

disposal opti<strong>on</strong>s for irradiated graphite for NDA. Currently, the reference positi<strong>on</strong><br />

in the UK for the disposal of graphite is geological disposal. The reference<br />

positi<strong>on</strong> in France is underground disposal at depths of between 15 <strong>and</strong> 200<br />

metres, though preliminary investigati<strong>on</strong>s by CEA that indicated potential for<br />

migrati<strong>on</strong> of chlorine-36 have led <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a recommendati<strong>on</strong> for disposal at depths of<br />

greater than 100 metres in thick mudrock. Russia also has a major interest in the<br />

disposal of graphite <strong>and</strong> Spain <strong>and</strong> Italy have graphite reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs. CoRWM<br />

underst<strong>and</strong>s that the forthcoming IAEA Co-ordinated <strong>Research</strong> Project <strong>on</strong><br />

graphite will bring all these countries <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>gether <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> share expertise <strong>and</strong> ideas.<br />

There may also be a need for bilateral co-operative approaches, for example<br />

between the UK <strong>and</strong> France.<br />

Other Planned ILW R&D<br />

A.11 The NDA’s 2006 Needs, Risks <strong>and</strong> Opportunities document (NDA, 2006b)<br />

identified some key issues for R&D. For ILW these included increasing the ratio<br />

of waste <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> cement, improving grout percolati<strong>on</strong> through waste <strong>and</strong> reducing the<br />

difficulties of reactive metals. Other needs highlighted included alternative (but<br />

cheap <strong>and</strong> room temperature) matrices for ILW wastes that currently are reacting<br />

with cement, an underst<strong>and</strong>ing of the l<strong>on</strong>g-term behaviour of s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red wastes so<br />

minimising degradati<strong>on</strong>, <strong>and</strong> remedial acti<strong>on</strong> <strong>on</strong> s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red sea dump drums. In<br />

additi<strong>on</strong> the Review of the Current Status of Underpinning R&D Relating <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ILW<br />

Package L<strong>on</strong>gevity (Nexia, 2007) identified issues including: failure criteria,<br />

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wasteform integrity at end of s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage period, overpack strategy <strong>and</strong> reworking,<br />

reactive metals, alternative opti<strong>on</strong>s <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> encapsulati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> alternative c<strong>on</strong>tainers<br />

(materials/design).<br />

A.12 CoRWM believes that R&D in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> remedial acti<strong>on</strong> <strong>on</strong> failed or out of specificati<strong>on</strong><br />

packages should be addressed as a priority. Opti<strong>on</strong>s have been examined in a<br />

review by EA (EA, 2005). NDA has also carried out some work <strong>on</strong> overpacking<br />

(NDA, 2008a), as have Magnox sites (McHugh, 2008).<br />

Steel Corrosi<strong>on</strong><br />

A.13 A recent review of the l<strong>on</strong>g-term behaviour of the steels used for ILW s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage<br />

c<strong>on</strong>tainers (Ly<strong>on</strong>, 2008) supports the general asserti<strong>on</strong> that the current c<strong>on</strong>tainer<br />

materials (typically 316L <strong>and</strong> some 304 austenitic stainless steels although some<br />

early drums were mild steel) will last suitable (500 year) timescales if<br />

manufactured appropriately <strong>and</strong> s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red in c<strong>on</strong>trolled atmospheric c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>s.<br />

However, there were c<strong>on</strong>cerns that limited overall c<strong>on</strong>fidence including c<strong>on</strong>tainer<br />

material specificati<strong>on</strong>s, manufacture <strong>and</strong> failure criteria; aspects of internal <strong>and</strong><br />

external corrosi<strong>on</strong>; <strong>and</strong> the nature of the desired s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage atmosphere. A specific<br />

c<strong>on</strong>cern is the ability of current steels <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> resist atmosphere assisted stress<br />

corrosi<strong>on</strong> cracking (ASCC) which is exacerbated by the saline atmospheres<br />

prevalent at many UK s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage locati<strong>on</strong>s.<br />

A.14 Current research is focused <strong>on</strong> using high performance duplex alloy (mixed<br />

austenite <strong>and</strong> ferrite) stainless steels which are more resistant <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> ASCC.<br />

Currently, there is no nati<strong>on</strong>al programme of developing a single best (in terms of<br />

corrosi<strong>on</strong> resistance, cost <strong>and</strong> ease of fabricati<strong>on</strong>) c<strong>on</strong>tainer material <strong>and</strong><br />

different nuclear site licensees use different steels. Other key drivers in c<strong>on</strong>tainer<br />

development (CoRWM doc. 2386) are <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> match the c<strong>on</strong>tainer <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the wasteform it<br />

c<strong>on</strong>tains (so high risk wastes can be packaged in a more robust c<strong>on</strong>tainer),<br />

matching c<strong>on</strong>tainers <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re <strong>and</strong> eventual GDF envir<strong>on</strong>ment <strong>and</strong><br />

st<strong>and</strong>ardising <strong>and</strong> simplifying c<strong>on</strong>tainer design. In additi<strong>on</strong> failure criteria for the<br />

c<strong>on</strong>tainers are not well established making it difficult <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop a safety case<br />

since, in principle, any microscopic pinhole c<strong>on</strong>stitutes failure.<br />

High Temperature C<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing Processes<br />

A.15 To date, high temperature c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing processes have not been used in the UK<br />

for ILW. They are used in Europe <strong>and</strong> have the advantage of producing durable<br />

waste forms with low volumes. Interest in such processes has increased recently.<br />

For example, British Energy is c<strong>on</strong>sidering hot pressing for the Sizewell B i<strong>on</strong><br />

exchange resins (CoRWM docs. 2419, 2489), <strong>and</strong> Sellafield is c<strong>on</strong>sidering<br />

thermal treatment for SIXEP s<strong>and</strong>, clinoptilolite <strong>and</strong> sludge (NDA, 2008a). These<br />

investigati<strong>on</strong>s of alternatives <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> encapsulati<strong>on</strong> in cement are timely.<br />

S<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage Systems<br />

A.16 An issue in s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage systems is the balance between the c<strong>on</strong>tributi<strong>on</strong> of the s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re<br />

building <strong>and</strong> that of the c<strong>on</strong>tainer. Some s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>res (e.g. the EPS1 s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re at Sellafield)<br />

are massive <strong>and</strong> provide the radiati<strong>on</strong> shielding for the packages they hold but<br />

are expensive. Alternatives are simpler weatherproof s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re buildings with selfshielded<br />

c<strong>on</strong>tainers, such as mini s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re systems, inside. The mini s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re c<strong>on</strong>cept<br />

in which ILW waste is s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red in robust, thick-walled, self-shielding cast ir<strong>on</strong><br />

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c<strong>on</strong>tainers is <strong>on</strong>e of several which may offer more flexibility in terms of s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage<br />

<strong>and</strong> disposal opti<strong>on</strong>s but it is at an early stage of development in the UK c<strong>on</strong>text.<br />

Other research <strong>and</strong> development issues for s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage systems brought <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> our<br />

attenti<strong>on</strong> in meetings with NDA, SLCs, British Energy <strong>and</strong> at the IoP S<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage<br />

R&D meeting (CoRWM doc. 2519) include:<br />

• Especially for older existing s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>res, how do we make better predicti<strong>on</strong>s of<br />

their lifetimes, how can ventilati<strong>on</strong> systems be improved, how can c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>s<br />

in the s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re be better m<strong>on</strong>i<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red <strong>and</strong> better arrangements be introduced for<br />

inspecting waste packages?<br />

• For future s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>res, who is performing R&D <strong>on</strong> the newer mini-s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re c<strong>on</strong>cept<br />

now being c<strong>on</strong>sidered?<br />

• If Scotl<strong>and</strong> plans extended near-site, near-surface s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage as an opti<strong>on</strong> in its<br />

own right then R&D will be needed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop appropriate c<strong>on</strong>cepts <strong>and</strong><br />

detailed designs.<br />

A.17 The first point is highlighted in paragraphs 3.36-3.38 of the CoRWM Interim<br />

S<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage report (CoRWM doc. 2500) which covers the lack of suitable atmosphere<br />

c<strong>on</strong>trol in some older s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>res. This has led <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> waste c<strong>on</strong>tainer corrosi<strong>on</strong> that is<br />

faster than that envisaged when the LoC was issued, due in large part <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> salty<br />

coastal atmospheres. As a result it is more likely that remedial acti<strong>on</strong> (e.g.<br />

overpacking will eventually be needed prior <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> waste transport <strong>and</strong> disposal.<br />

There is a need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> assess opti<strong>on</strong>s for improving ventilati<strong>on</strong> systems <strong>and</strong> for<br />

m<strong>on</strong>i<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ring atmospheric c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>s in s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>res where such c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>s exist or could<br />

occur in future. It is also essential that new s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage systems are designed with<br />

appropriate ventilati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> atmosphere m<strong>on</strong>i<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ring provisi<strong>on</strong>s. They should also<br />

have appropriate arrangements <strong>and</strong> regimes for m<strong>on</strong>i<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ring <strong>and</strong> inspecting waste<br />

packages. The industry recognises it is not able <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> carry out more than very<br />

limited inspecti<strong>on</strong> <strong>on</strong> ILW packages in some s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>res <strong>and</strong> that R&D is required <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

develop remote m<strong>on</strong>i<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ring <strong>and</strong> inspecti<strong>on</strong> techniques (CoRWM doc. 2630).<br />

Some of these points are recognised in the NDA UK s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage review (NDA,<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>d).<br />

A.18 Further R&D is needed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> dem<strong>on</strong>strate that existing s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>res will achieve the<br />

design lives claimed for them <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> assess whether these lives can be<br />

extended, <strong>and</strong> if so by how much. If c<strong>on</strong>trolled atmosphere s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>res are <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

required for many decades, R&D in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> atmosphere-independent packages (such<br />

as ceramic overpacks) may be needed. The opti<strong>on</strong> of using of such packages<br />

could then be compared with the c<strong>on</strong>trolled atmosphere opti<strong>on</strong>.<br />

Management of Spent Fuels<br />

A.19 The existing <strong>and</strong> committed UK inven<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry of spent or used nuclear fuels can be<br />

divided in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> categories depending <strong>on</strong> type <strong>and</strong> source. The categories are:<br />

Magnox fuel, advanced gas cooled reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r (AGR), pressurised water reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r<br />

(PWR) fuel, “exotic” fuels <strong>and</strong> MoD fuels. The current management strategy for<br />

each is summarised below al<strong>on</strong>g with the related current <strong>and</strong> planned R&D <strong>and</strong><br />

areas in which further R&D is likely <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be needed are highlighted. An opti<strong>on</strong><br />

related <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the l<strong>on</strong>g-term management of spent fuels that is rapidly gaining favour<br />

is dry s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> R&D issues c<strong>on</strong>nected <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> this are also identified below.<br />

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Magnox Fuel<br />

A.20 Magnox fuel c<strong>on</strong>sists of uranium metal in a magnesium-alloy cladding. The<br />

NDA's current strategy, as embodied in the Magnox Operating Plan, MOP8<br />

(NDA, <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>e) is <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> reprocess all spent Magnox fuel. The UK Inven<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry indicates<br />

that around 5,800 <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nnes (heavy metal, tHM) of Magnox fuel remains <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

reprocessed (Defra/NDA, 2008b). Some of it is in operating reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs, some in<br />

temporary dry s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage in shut-down reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs <strong>and</strong> in the Wylfa dry s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re, <strong>and</strong> the<br />

rest is s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red under water, mainly at Sellafield. The reprocessing strategy is<br />

c<strong>on</strong>tingent up<strong>on</strong> the Sellafield Magnox Reprocessing Plant c<strong>on</strong>tinuing <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> operate<br />

until all Magnox spent fuel that can be reprocessed has been. Given the elderly<br />

nature of the Magnox Reprocessing Plant, c<strong>on</strong>siderable effort <strong>and</strong> resource is<br />

being expended <strong>on</strong> keeping it operating but the possibility of chr<strong>on</strong>ic or acute<br />

failure before reprocessing is completed (currently projected as 2016) must be<br />

c<strong>on</strong>sidered (CoRWM doc. 2520).<br />

A.21 Accordingly, c<strong>on</strong>tingency plans for any un-reprocessed Magnox fuel are required<br />

(CoRWM doc. 2520). The NDA is investigating these (NDA, 2008d; CoRWM<br />

docs. 2418, 2500, 2624) al<strong>on</strong>g three principal lines, namely:<br />

• Reprocessing through the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (THORP) with<br />

the recovered uranium <strong>and</strong> plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium <strong>and</strong> the associated HLW being<br />

managed in the same way as other THORP products. This would be difficult<br />

<strong>and</strong> costly, entailing modificati<strong>on</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the THORP head end, <strong>and</strong> would require<br />

significant R&D for the necessary adaptati<strong>on</strong>s of the THORP process. It<br />

would also disrupt <strong>and</strong> prol<strong>on</strong>g the THORP programme. For these reas<strong>on</strong>s<br />

this opti<strong>on</strong> is currently 'shelved' by the NDA.<br />

• Dry s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage followed by geological disposal. This necessitates drying the<br />

spent fuel before placing it in <strong>on</strong>e of the preferred forms of dry s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage (para<br />

A.34). An issue is how dry <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> make the fuel. There is at present no capability<br />

in the UK for drying spent fuel of any kind <strong>on</strong> a large scale but there is<br />

c<strong>on</strong>siderable experience in other countries. The work at Hanford in the USA,<br />

where metal fuels have been successfully dried as a prelude <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> dry s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage<br />

<strong>and</strong> eventual disposal, is of relevance <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> Magnox fuel. Although the Hanford<br />

process has been shown <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be viable, even for seriously corroded fuel<br />

elements, it is unlikely it could be transferred <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the UK for Magnox fuel<br />

without substantial R&D (CoRWM doc. 2520). The Hanford experience is<br />

with smooth zircaloy clad metal fuel. In c<strong>on</strong>trast, Magnox fuel cladding has<br />

large fins which result in a much higher surface area. Magnox fuel cladding<br />

is c<strong>on</strong>siderably more reactive than zircaloy <strong>and</strong> hence is much more<br />

susceptible <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> corrosi<strong>on</strong> in water. In additi<strong>on</strong>, carb<strong>on</strong>aceous deposits, which<br />

may be particularly difficult <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> dry out, are often found <strong>on</strong> Magnox fuel. Due<br />

<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the potential for c<strong>on</strong>tinued reactivity of uranium metal further R&D would<br />

be needed <strong>on</strong> packaging the dried product for s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> geological<br />

disposal in a UK facility (CoRWM doc. 2500). Our underst<strong>and</strong>ing is (CoRWM<br />

docs. 2418, 2523, 2624) that the NDA is funding some R&D in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the drying<br />

of Magnox fuel <strong>and</strong> in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> packaging it for disposal, <strong>and</strong> will evaluate this<br />

opti<strong>on</strong> shortly with a view <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> pursuing it further.<br />

• Encapsulati<strong>on</strong> in preparati<strong>on</strong> for interim s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> geological disposal.<br />

Experience with encapsulati<strong>on</strong> of relatively small amounts of reactive metals<br />

such as uranium has shown that existing cement formulati<strong>on</strong>s would not be<br />

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suitable for uranium metal fuels. It would thus be necessary <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> carry out a<br />

substantial (<strong>and</strong> successful) programme of R&D in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> new encapsulants, such<br />

as polymers, glasses <strong>and</strong> alternative cements, before this opti<strong>on</strong> could be<br />

pursued. This would need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> include R&D <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> dem<strong>on</strong>strate that the selected<br />

encapsulati<strong>on</strong> system was suitable for geological disposal.<br />

A.22 Even in the event that the reprocessing strategy proceeds <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> 'completi<strong>on</strong>', it is<br />

inevitable that there will be some spent Magnox fuel that cannot be reprocessed<br />

(Defra & NDA, 2008a). In particular, the corroded <strong>and</strong> degraded fuel from the<br />

legacy p<strong>on</strong>ds <strong>and</strong> silos at Sellafield (CoRWM docs. 2418, 2520) will have <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

treated as waste. R&D is in progress <strong>on</strong> suitable c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> packaging<br />

opti<strong>on</strong>s for legacy p<strong>on</strong>ds <strong>and</strong> silos waste, in parallel with the development of<br />

methods <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> retrieve it (CoRWM doc. 2520; NDA, 2008a). Reducing the hazards<br />

associated with the Sellafield legacy p<strong>on</strong>ds <strong>and</strong> silos has been identified as a<br />

matter of urgency by the regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs <strong>and</strong> NDA has prioritised funding <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> undertake<br />

the necessary work as quickly as possible (NDA, <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>a, d).<br />

AGR Fuel<br />

A.23 AGR fuel c<strong>on</strong>sists of low-enriched uranium oxide pellets in stainless steel<br />

cladding with graphite sleeves. For management purposes it is divided in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> two<br />

tranches, referred <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> as "his<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ric" <strong>and</strong> "new" (CoRWM doc. 2419). The former<br />

includes all AGR fuel loaded in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs <strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> before 14 January 2005 <strong>and</strong><br />

the latter all fuel loaded after that date. The his<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ric AGR fuel is the property of<br />

British Energy <strong>and</strong> about three quarters of it is c<strong>on</strong>tracted for reprocessing<br />

through THORP with the rest c<strong>on</strong>tracted <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the NDA <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re or reprocess at their<br />

discreti<strong>on</strong>. The new AGR fuel, including any arising from extensi<strong>on</strong>s of AGR<br />

lifetimes, is c<strong>on</strong>tracted <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the NDA <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> manage as they see fit.<br />

A.24 For ec<strong>on</strong>omic reas<strong>on</strong>s, it is unlikely that THORP will c<strong>on</strong>tinue operati<strong>on</strong> bey<strong>on</strong>d<br />

its baseload reprocessing (due by 2015) <strong>and</strong> it is predicted that between 5,500<br />

(Defra/NDA, 2008b) <strong>and</strong> 7,000 (CoRWM doc. 2520) tHM of AGR spent fuel will<br />

remain in s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage at Sellafield. The current plan for AGR spent fuel is essentially<br />

for it <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> remain in p<strong>on</strong>d s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage. Apart from capacity issues, this is not a<br />

satisfac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ry l<strong>on</strong>g-term strategy <strong>and</strong> it is incumbent up<strong>on</strong> the NDA <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> develop an<br />

alternative.<br />

A.25 AGR spent fuel is s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red in p<strong>on</strong>ds at Sellafield. Some of it is in the THORP<br />

Receipt <strong>and</strong> S<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage p<strong>on</strong>d al<strong>on</strong>gside (overseas owned) light water reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r (LWR)<br />

spent fuel <strong>and</strong> a large number of empty multi-element bottles. The p<strong>on</strong>d water<br />

chemistry cannot be kept sufficiently alkaline <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> prevent corrosi<strong>on</strong> of the steel<br />

cladding <strong>on</strong> the AGR fuel <strong>and</strong> there is a risk of leakage in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the p<strong>on</strong>d water.<br />

Sellafield Ltd has introduced short-term measures <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> manage the situati<strong>on</strong>,<br />

including the prioritisati<strong>on</strong> of reprocessing for corroded AGR fuel (CoRWM docs.<br />

2386, 2520) <strong>and</strong> work is in progress <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> find a l<strong>on</strong>ger-term soluti<strong>on</strong>.<br />

A.26 In resp<strong>on</strong>se <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the regula<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs, the NDA is developing an “oxide fuels strategy”<br />

(NDA, <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>d; CoRWM docs. 2418, 2520, 2624) in which it will set targets for how<br />

much of the remaining AGR fuel will be reprocessed <strong>and</strong> how <strong>and</strong> where the rest<br />

will be s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red. The baseline plan is wet s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage pending c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing for disposal,<br />

with dry s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage being looked at as an opti<strong>on</strong>. However, this would require drying<br />

of the fuel which has been s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red under water. As with Magnox spent fuel, no<br />

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capability exists in the UK for doing this <strong>and</strong> a substantial programme of R&D will<br />

be needed in order <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> pursue the dry s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage opti<strong>on</strong>.<br />

A.27 There has been much R&D in other countries <strong>on</strong> the c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> packaging<br />

of LWR spent fuel for geological disposal but there are significant differences<br />

between these fuels <strong>and</strong> AGR fuel (CoRWM docs. 2480, 2520, 2533). It is of<br />

some c<strong>on</strong>cern that relatively little R&D has been undertaken in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing<br />

<strong>and</strong> packaging of AGR spent fuel for geological disposal (e.g. CoRWM doc.<br />

2520). NDA has investigated whether the Swedish KBS-3 c<strong>on</strong>cept could be<br />

adapted for this purpose <strong>and</strong> has identified R&D requirements for such<br />

adaptati<strong>on</strong> (CoRWM doc. 2630). Another possibility worth investigating could be<br />

the encapsulati<strong>on</strong> of AGR fuel pins in lead, as has been proposed (Gibb et al.,<br />

2008) as a prelude <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the geological disposal of LWR spent fuel pins. Other<br />

issues likely <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be important include the type of canister <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be used <strong>and</strong> the<br />

leaching behaviour of the fuel <strong>on</strong>ce it comes in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> c<strong>on</strong>tact with groundwater.<br />

A.28 Without dem<strong>on</strong>strating that geological disposal of AGR spent fuel is feasible,<br />

AGR fuel strategies are incomplete. Given the amount of spent AGR fuel likely <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

require disposal <strong>and</strong> the fact that it is almost unique <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the UK, it would be<br />

sensible <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> give AGR fuel priority in any NDA/RWMD R&D programme in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

geological disposal of spent fuels, including transport <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a GDF.<br />

PWR Fuel<br />

A.29 PWR fuel c<strong>on</strong>sists of low-enriched uranium oxide pellets in a zircaloy cladding. At<br />

present it is used in the UK <strong>on</strong>ly at Sizewell B, where the spent fuel is s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red in<br />

the fuel p<strong>on</strong>d. Over the scheduled 40-year lifetime of the reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r it is expected <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

generate around 1,200 tHM of spent fuel (Defra & NDA, 2008b), which remains<br />

the resp<strong>on</strong>sibility of British Energy. British Energy has no plans <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> reprocess<br />

Sizewell B spent fuel (CoRWM doc. 2489). It is currently seeking <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> increase the<br />

approved capacity of the Sizewell s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage p<strong>on</strong>d by re-racking but the potential for<br />

further increase is limited.<br />

A.30 British Energy is currently investigating dry s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage (CoRWM docs. 2419, 2489)<br />

with a view <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> having “dry cask” s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage (para A.35) <strong>on</strong> site at Sizewell by 2015.<br />

Drying of PWR fuel is much simpler than drying Magnox or AGR fuel because of<br />

its robust zircaloy cladding. PWR spent fuel is dry s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red in several other<br />

countries, particularly the USA, <strong>and</strong> British Energy sees an opportunity <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> buy<br />

in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> 'off the shelf' technology. A further issue relates <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the fate of the s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red<br />

spent fuel. There will need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be R&D <strong>on</strong> c<strong>on</strong>diti<strong>on</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> packaging Sizewell B<br />

spent fuel for geological disposal, <strong>and</strong> this should take in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> account the extensive<br />

research carried out in other countries <strong>on</strong> geological disposal of PWR fuels.<br />

Exotic Fuels<br />

A.31 Metal, oxide <strong>and</strong> carbide fuels from a number of experimental <strong>and</strong> other reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rs,<br />

such as the Windscale Piles <strong>and</strong> the Dounreay Fast Reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r (DFR) <strong>and</strong><br />

Pro<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>type Fast Reac<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>r (PFR), are grouped <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>gether as ‘exotic’ fuels. Baseline<br />

plans for the management of these exist but are poorly underpinned by R&D<br />

(CoRWM doc. 2520) <strong>and</strong> the NDA is now developing an exotic fuels strategy<br />

(CoRWM doc. 2624). Dealing with such a wide range of materials is a complex<br />

problem <strong>and</strong> it is a matter of some urgency <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> identify the preferred opti<strong>on</strong>s for<br />

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some of them, such as the DFR fuel, because they could involve utilising the<br />

Magnox Reprocessing Plant or THORP, both of which have limited life<br />

expectancy. DFR breeder fuel has been used as an example of the approach <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

be followed <strong>and</strong> the preferred strategy for it has been identified <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be<br />

reprocessing in the Magnox plant at Sellafield (CoRWM doc. 2523). At present it<br />

is unclear which of the other exotic fuels can be recycled <strong>and</strong> which will have <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g><br />

be declared as waste (some, such as the Windscale Piles fuel, already have<br />

(Defra & NDA, 2008a)).<br />

A.32 CoRWM agrees with the NDA that it is important <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> have plans for dealing with<br />

exotic fuels, so that plant, infrastructure <strong>and</strong> R&D requirements are clear<br />

(CoRWM doc. 2500).<br />

MoD Used Fuel<br />

A.33 Naval PWR fuel c<strong>on</strong>sists of zirc<strong>on</strong>ium-clad highly enriched uranium. The used<br />

fuel is s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red under water at Sellafield <strong>on</strong> behalf of MoD, which regards it as an<br />

asset, but has no current plans for reprocessing or anything bey<strong>on</strong>d the status<br />

quo. Reprocessing of such highly enriched fuel could prove difficult <strong>and</strong> could not<br />

be undertaken without a programme of R&D. The s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red fuel is showing no<br />

evidence of corrosi<strong>on</strong> so there is less urgency for decisi<strong>on</strong>s <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be made<br />

compared <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> other forms of nuclear fuel; but it cannot remain in s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage<br />

indefinitely. It is encouraging that the MoD is joining the NDA groups (such as the<br />

Strategy Development <strong>and</strong> Delivery Group <strong>and</strong> the Spent Fuel <strong>and</strong> Nuclear<br />

Materials Topic Overview Group) that deal with spent fuel management (CoRWM<br />

docs. 2523, 2500).<br />

Dry S<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage of Spent Fuels<br />

A.34 Magnox <strong>and</strong> AGR fuels are designed for use in dry envir<strong>on</strong>ments. They can <strong>on</strong>ly<br />

be s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red underwater for limited periods because of the risk of corrosi<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

degradati<strong>on</strong>. C<strong>on</strong>trol of the water chemistry can reduce these effects but is<br />

complex, especially where different types of fuel <strong>and</strong> other materials are present<br />

in the same p<strong>on</strong>d. Dry s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage is an alternative that is in use for spent fuels in a<br />

number of countries, especially for LWR fuels. It has also been used in the UK<br />

but <strong>on</strong>ly <strong>on</strong> a very limited scale <strong>and</strong> mostly for fuels that have not been previously<br />

s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red in p<strong>on</strong>ds (CoRWM doc. 2480). It is potentially cheaper than p<strong>on</strong>d s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage,<br />

minimises degradati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> would be an appropriate precursor <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> geological<br />

disposal.<br />

A.35 The spent fuel is dried, usually with hot air, <strong>and</strong> sealed in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> steel c<strong>on</strong>tainers<br />

under an inert atmosphere (e.g., helium, nitrogen). The c<strong>on</strong>tainers are then<br />

s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red either in modular c<strong>on</strong>crete vaults (called 'silos' in the USA) or in freest<strong>and</strong>ing<br />

casks of c<strong>on</strong>crete, steel or other materials. Vault systems are<br />

substantial buildings, often partly below ground, in which the c<strong>on</strong>tainers are<br />

s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red in vertical tubes cooled by passive buoyant advecting air that does not<br />

come in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> c<strong>on</strong>tact with the spent fuel. These can be c<strong>on</strong>structed in 2-3 years. An<br />

example of such a system is the Paks MVDS project in Hungary. Casks are large<br />

cylinders, usually of c<strong>on</strong>crete <strong>and</strong> steel, <strong>and</strong> can be designed for vertical (more<br />

usual) or horiz<strong>on</strong>tal s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage. They are cooled by c<strong>on</strong>vecti<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> heat radiati<strong>on</strong><br />

from their outer surface <strong>and</strong> may be s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>od <strong>on</strong> outdoor dispersal pads (similar <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> a<br />

fenced car park) exposed <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the elements in remote areas or inside a simple,<br />

CoRWM Document 2543, Oc<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ber <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g> Page 106 of 151

purpose-built building. The former is comm<strong>on</strong> in the USA but the latter would be<br />

more appropriate for the UK.<br />

A.36 Although much of the dry s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage technology could be bought 'off the shelf',<br />

especially from the USA, there are a number of significant R&D issues that would<br />

need <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be addressed before it could be used in the UK for Magnox <strong>and</strong> AGR<br />

spent fuels. For AGR fuel, foremost am<strong>on</strong>g these are studies related <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> how dry<br />

the fuel needs <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> be in order <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> avoid corrosi<strong>on</strong> of its steel cladding during<br />

s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage <strong>and</strong> so be safely s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>red (<strong>and</strong> subsequently disposed of), <strong>and</strong> <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> potential<br />

drying processes (CoRWM docs. 2480, 2500, 2520, 2533). The former include<br />

studies of the fuel clad corrosi<strong>on</strong> processes in the presence of residual moisture<br />

<strong>and</strong> under different 'inert' gases. USA experience of drying metal fuels <strong>and</strong><br />

worldwide experience of drying LWR fuels is valuable but R&D specific <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the<br />

UK’s fuels is required.<br />

Management of Plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium<br />

A.37 R&D in<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> management of the UK’s civil plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium 22 s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>ckpile has been an NDA<br />

priority since its incepti<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> has, CoRWM believes, been an example of good<br />

practice which could be used as a model for future R&D programmes. It has<br />

involved collaborati<strong>on</strong> between the NDA, NNL, universities <strong>and</strong> learned societies<br />

in a co-ordinated manner. The str<strong>on</strong>g input from the Royal Society (Royal<br />

Society, 2007; CoRWM doc. 2374) has lent credibility <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> the programme as has<br />

participati<strong>on</strong> in the EU-funded Eura<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>m programme entitled Red Impact (Red<br />

Impact, 2007).<br />

A.38 In 2008 the NDA issued a c<strong>on</strong>sultati<strong>on</strong> paper <strong>on</strong> opti<strong>on</strong>s for the management of<br />

plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium <strong>and</strong> held two stakeholder workshops (NDA, 2008e). It used the results<br />

of the c<strong>on</strong>sultati<strong>on</strong> <strong>and</strong> the workshops in preparing a paper <strong>on</strong> “credible opti<strong>on</strong>s”<br />

for plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium management that was submitted <str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g> <str<strong>on</strong>g>Government</str<strong>on</strong>g>, with supporting<br />

technical documents (NDA, <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g>f, g, h, i). The <str<strong>on</strong>g>2009</str<strong>on</strong>g> NDA documents identify four<br />

high level strategy opti<strong>on</strong>s for managing the UK’s separated plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium:<br />

i) c<strong>on</strong>tinued s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>rage until 2120, then immobilise the plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium in a suitable<br />

waste form <strong>and</strong> dispose of the waste in a geological facility<br />

ii) immobilise the plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium as so<strong>on</strong> as practicable, s<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>re the resulting waste,<br />

then dispose of it in a GDF when <strong>on</strong>e is available<br />

iii) sell or lease the plu<str<strong>on</strong>g>to</str<strong>on</strong>g>nium for recycling, then dispose of the resulting spent<br />

fuel<br />

iv) some combinati<strong>on</strong> of the above.<