International experts consider Swiss participation process to be exemplary

Switzerland presents its waste management activities at the IAEA Review Meeting and garners high praise for its approach to site selection.

In May, the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA held its fifth Review Meeting on the Joint Convention in Vienna. The Joint Convention is an international treaty on the safety of spent fuel management and radioactive waste management. The objective of the Convention is to achieve and maintain a high global standard in the field of nuclear waste management. Each Contracting Party is required to submit a national report outlining the measures taken to implement the obligations of the Convention to the Review Meeting, which is held every three years. The national reports are then reviewed by international experts. Switzerland ratified the Joint Convention in 2000 and submitted its last national report in October 2014.

69 countries took part in this year’s Review Meeting, including Switzerland, Germany and France. Switzerland was represented by the Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI). Nagra (Piet Zuidema, Head of Science and Technology) was also part of the Swiss delegation.

The results of the review of the national reports were presented at the Meeting. The international experts praised Switzerland for its approach to selecting sites for deep geological repositories. The broad participation process set out in the Sectoral Plan for Deep Geological Repositories was seen as exemplary in an international context.

Much work remains to be done and many challenges met before the next national report is submitted in 2018. For example, Nagra has to submit the next waste management programme to the Federal Government in 2016. In its capacity as regulatory authority, the Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate ENSI is currently reviewing Nagra’s ‘2x2’ proposal (proposal of at least two sites each for the two repository types) and will later also review the waste management programme.

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