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Country Status Reports

EDRAM Country Status Reports

Organisation : ANDRA


Status of Implementation

Industrial activities :

  • VLLW trench type surface repository (650 000m³ capacity) in operation since 2003. 400,000 m³ of VLLW disposed of in total, by June 2020.
  • LILW vault type surface repository (1 000 000 m³ capacity) in operation since 1992. 35% of the disposal capacity (1,000,000 m³) has been filled by 2020.
  • URL in operation at Bure since 2000 at 490m depth. More than 2 km of underground galleries, 700 boreholes and core-drills, 11000 sensors and probes, 1000000 data collected daily and more than 30 ongoing experiments.

Projects :

  • Cigéo:  deep geological repository for ILW and HLW in clay rock near the URL. Siting and design activities completed. Licensing process for construction in progress. Construction of the pilot phase of Cigéo is scheduled for 2025.
  • ACACI: extension of Andra's VLLW disposal capacity to a total of 900 000 m³.
  • FAVL (LLW - LL): design studies in progress. Safety option file (prior to licensing process) is planned for 2023.

Target Geologic Formation: Sedimentary clay formation (Callovo-Oxfordian argillite, about 500 m depth)

Earliest In-Service Date: 2025

Organisation : BGE


Status of Implementation

    • Konrad repository project: Currently, the surface infrastructure is being implemented successively. In the underground, the emplacement chambers and the openings at the inset have been excavated and stabilised by a specifically designed support system. The mine openings for the infrastructure (e.g. workshop in the control area and backfill preparation) are currently being erected. Commissioning of the Konrad repository is scheduled for 2027.
    • Closure of the Morsleben repository: the preparation of the licensing documents has been completed. A public hearing took place in October/November 2011. A decision in the plan-approval procedure is expected for the next years. As a preparation for closure, the central area of Morsleben repository has been backfilled with concrete until 2011. Currently, in-situ-tests demonstrating the technical feasibility and efficiency of the geotechnical barriers (seals) are ongoing.
    • Gorleben exploration mine: In the interim report on sub-areas, the BGE concluded that the overall geological conditions of the salt dome at in the identified area Gorleben-Rambow are "not favourable". Thus, this area was not declared a sub-area. Gorleben-Rambow will thus not be considered any further in the continued search for a repository for high-level radioactive waste.
    • Asse-research mine: Between 1967 and 1978, 47,000 cubic metres of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste were emplaced on behalf of the federal government. The legal mandate is to decommission the facility without delay after retrieval of the radioactive waste. The overall task of retrieval is divided into several sub-projects, which are interdependent and are being worked on in parallel. The BGE published its retrieval plan in March 2020, centering on a retrieval mine that is to be excavated next to the existing Asse mine. Currently, the BGE is evaluating data from exploration and seismic campaigns, in order identify the best location for this retrieval mine.
    • HLW repository site selection: The site selection procedure is defined in the StandAG (Repository Site Selection Act) with the aim to find the best possible repository site for mainly heat-generating radioactive waste. The process is carried out by means of a science-based and transparent procedure and full participation by the public is envisaged at all times. In September 2020, the BGE published its interim report on sub-areas. The report contains the results of the first evaluation of already existing geological data on the subsurface of Germany. The BGE identified both those areas that are unsuitable for the disposal of highly radioactive waste, as well as those that suggest a favourable overall geological situation for the storage of high-level radioactive waste. 90 of those sub-areas with a total area of over 240,000 km² or around 54 percent of Germany's territory were identified. Those will be further analysed and explored. The interim report is subject to public participation and review during the Sub-Areas Conference, launched in October 2020.

    Target Geologic Formation: Clay, Crystalline, Salt

    Earliest In-Service Date: 2050

    Organisation : ENRESA


    Status of Implementation

      • VLLW, surface repository at El Cabril: license was given in July 2008 for a final capacity of 130,000 m3 (four cells). The first and second cells are already constructed and in operation since October 2008 and July 2016, respectively. A VLLW treatment building was constructed almiost adjacent to the disposal facility.
      • LILW, surface repository at El Cabril. Operating on a routine basis since 1992.
      • Altogether,  LILW and VLLW capacities should be sufficient for the expected volume to be managed under the scenario of the 2006 General Radioactive waste Management Plan (173,000 m3)
      • HLW: In 2006 the Spanish Government approved the 6th General Radioactive Waste Plan.  The main strategic decision is to have a Centralised Temporary Storage Facility for SF/HLW by 2012.
      • The site to host the facility was designated by the Council of Ministers in December 30th 2011 (Villar de Cañas-Cuenca). This decision was published in the Official State Gazette on January 20th 2012 following a volunteer site designation process.
      • For the purpose of planning the preferred basic option is limited temporary storage followed by definitive disposal facility. 
      • Basic Generic Project summarizing the knowledge acquired  in relation to definitive disposal in a deep geological repository

      Organisation : NAGRA


      Status of Implementation

        • Legal responsibility for radioactive waste management lies with the producers of the waste, i.e. the NPP operators and the Federal Govern­ment (for waste from medicine, industry and research). All types of wastes must be disposed of in deep geological repositories. To plan and implement final disposal, the waste producers established the National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste (Nagra) in 1972. Nagra is responsible for the disposal of all types of radioactive waste, including the necessary research and development activities and the preparation of siting proposals and licence applications. The demonstrations of the feasibility of disposal were approved by the Federal Govern­ment in 1988 (L/ILW) and June 2006 (HLW) respectively. To store the waste until the geological repositories are available, a centralised interim storage facility (ZZL) has been operated by ZWILAG AG since 2001.
        • Switzerland has two operating underground research laboratories in two different host rocks - the Grimsel Test Site (GTS) in crystalline rock, operated by Nagra, and the Mont Terri Rock Laboratory in Opalinus Clay, owned by the Republic and Canton of Jura and operated by the Swiss Geological Survey of the Swiss Federal Office of Topography.
        • The Nuclear Energy Act (2003) assigns responsibility for defining and leading the site selection process to the Federal Government. Following a stepwise approach based on spatial planning legislation, siting has to be conducted in close cooperation with regional stakeholders. In April 2008, the Federal Government approved the concept for the site selection process in the form of the “Sectoral Plan for Deep Geological Repositories”; this defines the siting criteria, the steps for implementation, the timeframe and the roles of the various stakeholders.
        • As a first step, Nagra proposed six potential siting regions for the repositories for L/ILW and HLW, based on safety-oriented criteria defined by the regulator. All sites have clay-rich sediments as potential host rocks. The proposals were approved by the Federal Government on 30 November 2011.
        • The second stage of the process, now ongoing, aims at defining the location of the repository surface facilities in each of the siting regions – in collaboration with local stakeholders through the participation process – and narrowing down the number of siting regions to at least two each for the L/ILW and the HLW repository. The highest priority is still given to safety issues, but spatial planning and socio-economic considerations must also be addressed. In January 2015, Nagra proposed two regions, “Jura Ost” and “Zürich Nordost”, for further investigation in Stage 3. The results of the review process were presented by the safety authority ENSI in December 2016. Nagra’s proposals are supported with one exception: ENSI recommends that “Nördlich Lägern”, which had been put in reserve, should also remain in the process for further investigation. All three regions have Opalinus Clay as the host rock and are suitable for the disposal of both L/ILW and HLW. In Stage 3, they will be investigated in depth in seismic surveys and deep boreholes with a view to site selection and preparation of an application for a general licence.
        • A Waste Disposal Programme describing the framework and the steps of implementation – as required by the Nuclear Energy Act – was approved by the Federal Council in 2013. An update was submitted to the authorities in 2016, together with a Research, Development & Demonstration Plan and an updated Cost Study.

          Target Geologic Formation: Opalinus Clay

          Earliest In-Service Date: 2050 (L/ILW), 2060 (HLW)

          Organisation : NUMO


          Status of Implementation

          • Japanese regulation defines three-step site selection process.
          • NUMO started open solicitation of volunteer municipalities in 2002.
          • After the literature survey, NUMO will carry out Preliminary Investigation to select detailed investigation areas in around 2013,aiming the selection of repository site in around 2028.
          • NUMO became an implementing body for geological disposal of TRU waste as of April 1st, 2008
          • To enhance a public relations campaign, workshops, round-table discussion and small forum with local experts and concerned groups have been actively implemented as a part of the interactive grass-roots activities, in cooperation with government and/or electricity companies.

          Target Geologic Formation: 

          Earliest In-Service Date:

          Organisation : NWMO


          Canada’s plan

          • In June 2007 the Government of Canada selected Adaptive Phased Management (APM) as Canada’s plan for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel.
          • The technical end point of APM is the centralized containment and isolation of used fuel in a deep geological repository located at a safe site in an area with an informed and willing host.
          • The NWMO is committed to working collaboratively with interested and potentially affected individuals and organizations in a manner that is socially acceptable, technically sound, environmentally responsible and economically feasible.
          • As it implements Canada’s plan, the organization is committed to using the best available knowledge, including the physical sciences, social science and Indigenous Knowledge.
          • The NWMO is also responsible for the development of a transportation system to safely transport used nuclear fuel to the repository site.

          Status of Implementation

          • In 2010, after extensive input from Canadians, the NWMO launched the site selection process.
          • Twenty-two Canadian communities came forward to express an interest in learning more about the plan and exploring their potential for hosting a national facility for used nuclear fuel.
          • Through a series of progressively more detailed studies and extensive engagement, the NWMO is gradually narrowing its focus to areas with strong potential to meet the project’s requirements.
          • Social engagement activities are deepening and broadening in scope, involving the communities and surrounding areas, including First Nation and Métis groups that could be affected by the project.
          • The NWMO has developed an innovative engineered-barrier system to contain and isolate used CANDU fuel in a repository, and is doing extensive work to demonstrate the safety of this system.
          • The NWMO expects to select a preferred site by 2023, and begin the licensing and regulatory process shortly after.

           Earliest In-Service Date: 2040 to 2045.

          Organisation : ONDRAF-NIRAS


          Status of Implementation

          • ONDRAF/NIRAS does not have an operational solution yet for the long-term management of the radioactive waste which it takes charge of, but a solution has been chosen at institutional level for low-level waste.
          • Low-level waste: On 23 June 2006, the Council of Ministers opted for the surface disposal of this waste on the territory of the municipality of Dessel as part of an integrated project. On 31 January 2013 ONDRAF/NIRAS submitted a license application for the surface disposal project to the Belgian Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC). (cAt-project)
          • High-level and/or long-lived waste: No institutional policy has yet been validated in Belgium for the long-term management of this type of waste. In its Waste Plan (in accordance with the law on the strategic environmental assessment) submitted to the government in September 2011, ONDRAF/NIRAS recommends (Waste Plan, 2011):
            • geological disposal
            • in poorly indurated clays
            • in a single facility
            • on Belgian territory
            • as soon as possible, the pace of development and implementation of the solution being proportionate to its scientific and technical maturity, as well as to the public support it receives.
          • RD&D on geological disposal in poorly indurated clays has been going on for (over) 40 years. To this end, an underground research laboratory (HADES) was built in Boom Clay and is currently operated by EURIDICE (Economic Interest Grouping between SCK.CEN and ONDRAF/NIRAS). A large-scale and long-term heater experiment, called PRACLAY, is scheduled to begin in 2014.  (EURIDICE )
          • Dismantling and remediation: the Belgian Government entrusted ONDRAF/NIRAS with managing nuclear liabilities (BP1 (ex-Eurochemic), BP2 (ex-Waste department of SCK·CEN), SCK·CEN, IRE (Fleurus), and since 2012, due to bankruptcy, Best Medical Belgium S.A. (Fleurus)).

          Target Geologic Formation: Argillaceous formations

          Earliest In-Service Date: 2035-2040

          Organisation : POSIVA


          Status of Implementation

            • Posiva is in charge of construction and operation of a final repository for spent fuel from Olkiluoto and Loviisa NPPs
            • Posiva's construction license application for the repository was submitted in 2012. Construction licence was granted in November 2015. The final disposal is scheduled to start in early 2020's.
            • One element of the site investigations conducted at Olkiluoto is the excavation of the underground rock characterisation facility (ONKALO™) that extends approximately to the depth of 450 meters. ONKALO is a research faclity which will be connected to the final disposal facility. Excavation of ONKALO started in 2004 and disposal depth was reached in the summer of 2010.
            • Posiva has a valid Decision in Principle for a final disposal facility accommodation the spent fuel from five NPPs, totaling 6500 tU
            • For the latter expansion an Environmental Impact Assessment was finalised in October 2008, updating the EIA made in 1990s and addressing the impact of expansion.

              Target Geologic Formation: Crystalline

              Earliest In-Service Date: Early 2020's

              Organisation : RWM

              United Kingdom

              Status of Implementation

                • In June 2014 a Government policy document (White Paper) was published, updating and replacing the previous 2008 White Paper this sets out the UK Government’s framework for managing higher activity radioactive waste through geological disposal.
                • The 2014 framework is informed by lessons learned from previous siting process (2008 onwards) and a Call for Evidence and public consultation held in 2013.
                • The 2014 policy gives a clear role to RWM as the developer of geological disposal, confirms the timing and magnitude of early community investment, and confirms that engagement funding for communities will be provided by RWM.
                • The UK Government is committed to providing access to independent expert views on information produced during the siting process, via learned societies. Government, RWM or a community will be able to use this mechanism.
                • The new policy framework is based on a number of initial actions followed by a process of working with communities. As before, the process is based on willingness of local communities to participate and recognises importance of providing upfront information on issues such as geology, socio-economic impacts, and community investment.
                • The initial actions include:
                  • A national geological screening exercise
                  • Amendments to national land-use planning arrangements for geological disposal facilities and the associated investigation boreholes
                  • Providing greater clarity on how Government and RWM intend to work with communities.
                • Good progress has been made with the initial actions and public consultations on planning arrangements and proposals for working with communities are expected to start later in 2017.
                • Following completion of initial actions, a new consent-based siting process will be launched in the UK.  Currently this is expected to be in early 2018.
                • In the meantime, RWM continues to work closely with the producers of higher activity radioactive waste to ensure it is packaged in a way that is compatible with geological disposal.
                • RWM is also working with the Scottish Government to establish how it can support the implementation of Scottish Higher Activity Radioactive Waste Policy for near-surface, near site storage and disposal.

                  Target Geologic Formation: Unspecified – subject to siting process

                  Earliest In-Service Date: 2040



                  Organisation : U. S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM)


                  Status of Implementation

                  • Major accomplishments
                    •  June 3, 2008 - OCRWM submitted the License Application (LA) to the NRC seeking authorization to construct a repository for SNF and HLW at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.
                    • September 8, 2008 - NRC formally docketed the LA, with a determination that it was sufficiently complete to initiate a full technical review.
                    • September 30, 2008 - EPA released its revised regulations for radiation standards for the proposed disposal facility at Yucca Mountain; NRC is expected to finalize its implementing regulations shortly.
                  •  Other activities 
                    • March, 2008 - OCRWM filed an application for right-of-way and Surface Transportation Board certificate for construction and operation of a rail line in Nevada to Yucca Mountain
                    • May, 2008 - OCRWM awarded contracts for the design, licensing and demonstration of the Transportation, Aging and Disposal (TAD) canister system.
                    • June, 2008 - OCRWM informed nuclear utilities that it is prepared to discuss a revision to the Standard Contract; execution of disposal contracts is an essential step in the licensing of new nuclear plants.
                    • June, 2008 - OCRWM issued Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) on the Geological Repository and Rail Alignment for Construction and Operation of a Railroad in Nevada.
                    • July, 2008 - OCRWM issued two reports relating to the costs of research, construction and operation of the repository:  Analysis of the Total System Life Cycle Cost and Fee Adequacy Assessment.
                  • Upcoming activities
                    • OCRWM is preparing two reports for the U.S. Congress:  Interim Storage of SNF from Decommissioned Reactors; and Second Repository.
                    • Significant challenge
                    • If funding reforms are not enacted consistent with the Administration's legislative proposal, DOE will not be able to set a credible opening date for the repository.
                  Target Geologic Formation:  Volcanic tuff

                  Earliest In-Service DateTBD - Pending resolution of funding issues