Scope and Objectives

Background

Long-lived radioactive waste must be safely contained and isolated for very long periods. Current programmes for its long-term management are focused on disposal in deep geological repositories. A successful implementation strategy for radioactive waste disposal should address both technical and societal needs. Monitoring is considered key in addressing these needs. It underpins the technical safety strategy and quality of the engineering design, contributes to public and stakeholder understanding of repository processes and adds confidence to the geological disposal programme.

To further develop this aspect of development, the European Commission is co-financing the MoDeRn (Monitoring Developments for Safe Repository Operation and Staged Closure) project within its seventh Euratom Framework Programme (www.modern-fp7.eu). MoDeRn project members represent:

  • Organisations responsible for radioactive waste management in nine EU countries, Switzerland, the US and Japan
  • Organisations offering relevant technical monitoring expertise, and
  • Organisations offering relevant social science expertise on how technology and society interact, and on finding ways for diverse stakeholders (e.g. citizens, civil society, experts, technical safety organisations, industry) to engage with highly technical issues.

The overarching motivations for monitoring are to support confidence building and to inform staged decisions in the management of the disposal process. While several main monitoring objectives are pursued – to support environmental impact assessments, to support operational safety, to support nuclear safeguards – special attention is focused on the need to support evaluations of barrier performance as the basis for long term safety and to evaluate the options available to the stepwise management of the disposal process.

     

Target audience

The conference is targeted at all interested stakeholders, in particular MoDeRn partners; technical experts in monitoring technology, repository science, social science and public engagement; regulators; possibly interested local representatives.

     

Conference and workshop objectives

The objective of the conference is twofold: (i) to present and discuss the results of the MoDeRn project; (ii) to invite further contributions and provide a forum for discussion on how monitoring informs the disposal process, responds to regulatory requirements, and contributes to enhancing confidence in and acceptance of geological disposal of radioactive waste.

The associated workshop will provide an opportunity for further, in-depth discussions on the conference topics and to investigate whether a shared understanding of repository monitoring can be developed.

  

Main topics

The conference focuses on monitoring activities to support evaluations of barrier performance as the basis for long term safety. The overall understanding of monitoring and its potential role in the disposal process will be presented and discussed in light of expected monitoring needs, associated technical requirements, the current state of art of monitoring technology and its future potential and limitations.

Abstracts are invited on the following topics:

  • Monitoring objectives and associated processes and parameters: Why, when and what to monitor; relevance and potential importance in supporting the basis for safety.
  • Monitoring examples and case studies: To illustrate potential implementation of a repository monitoring programme.
  • Monitoring and societal expectations: How monitoring responds to legal and regulatory frameworks and guidelines; how regulations are developed; and how monitoring contributes to developing stakeholder confidence.
  • Monitoring technologies - Feasibility and limitations: Technical requirements, challenges and potential solutions; state of the art; and in situ demonstrators.
  • Monitoring and its role in the safe geological disposal of radioactive waste: Synthesis and lessons learned.
MoDeRn Workflow

The MoDeRn International Repository Monitoring Conference and Workshop will be held on 19-21 March 2013 in Luxembourg.