IAEA safety standards

The management of radioactive waste has been under discussion at the IAEA since its establishment in 1957. In 1961 the IAEA published Safety Series No. 5, dealing with the establishment of appropriate safety proce­dures and practices for the disposal of radioactive waste in the sea, and in 1965 the IAEA published guidance on radioactive disposal in the ground (Safety Series No. 15). By the late 1970s, it was clear that sea disposal was not an option favoured by many countries and since then land disposal has been preferred [53]. The first formal safety standard ‘Shallow Ground Disposal of Radioactive Wastes: A Guidebook’ [54] was published in 1981. As mentioned earlier, the IAEA suite of safety standards is made up of a safety fundamentals publication, safety requirements standards for differ­ent activities and facilities and supporting safety guides on meeting the

requirements. The Fundamental Safety Principles publication, SF-1 [37] defines ten safety principles (see Section 3.3) that must be met for all facilities and activities involving radioactive material and ionising radiation from uranium mining through reactor operation to radioactive waste dis­posal. The Safety Fundamentals are supported by the following general safety requirements of relevance to spent fuel and radioactive waste management:

• Basic Safety Standards No. 115 [38], currently under revision as an interim standard No. GSR Part 3 [55] based on the ICRP103 recom­mendations [7] ;

• Governmental, Legal and Regulatory Framework for Safety, No. GSR Part 1 [56] that replaces the previous publication No. GS-R-1 [57] of 2000;

• Safety Requirements on Predisposal Management of Radioactive Waste, No. GSR Part 5 [39] that replaces Safety Requirements No. WS-R-2 on Predisposal Management, Including Decommissioning [58];

• Safety Requirements on Disposal of Radioactive Waste No. SSR-5 [40] (that combines Safety Requirements on Geological Disposal of Radio­active Waste No. WS-R-4 [ 59] and the Safety Requirements on Near Surface Disposal of Radioactive Waste No. WS-R-1 [60] );

• Safety Requirements on Remediation of Areas Contaminated by Past Activities and Accidents Safety Requirements No. WS-R-3 [42] ;

• Safety Requirements on the Management System for Facilities and Activities, No. GS-R-3 [48];

• Safety Requirements on Safety Assessment for Facilities and Activities, No. GSR Part 4 [61];

• Safety Requirements on Decommissioning of Facilities Using Radio­active Material, No. WS-R-5 [41];

• Safety Requirements on Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radio­active Material No. TS-R-1 [62];

• Safety Requirements Preparedness and Response for a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency No. GS-R-2 [63] .

While the safety fundamentals and safety requirements set up provisions that must be complied with by the operators and licensees, the safety guides provide best practice for how to meet the principles and requirements. With respect to the pre-disposal and disposal of radioactive waste (i. e. GSR Part 5 and SSR-5) at present the following safety guides are of relevance: [9]

• Storage of Radioactive Waste, No. WS-G-6.1 [67];

• Management System for the Processing, Handling and Storage of Radi­oactive Waste, No. GS-G-3.3 [68];

• Management System for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste, No. GS-G.3.4. [69];

• Borehole Disposal Facilities for Radioactive Waste, No. SSG-1 [70];

• Management of Waste from the Use of Radioactive Material in Medi­cine, Industry, Agriculture, Research and Education, No. WS-G-2.7 [71];

• Application of the Concepts of Exclusion, Exemption and Clearance, No. RS-G-1.7 [44] .

In the area of decommissioning and management of waste generated during these activities, the following set of safety guides are in place:

• Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Plants and Research Reactors, No. WS-G-2.1 [45] that is currently under revision;

• Decommissioning of Medical, Industrial and Research Facilities, No. WS-G-2.2 [46] that is also currently under revision;

• Decommissioning of Nuclear Fuel Cycle Facilities, No. WS-G-2.4 [47] under revision;

• Safety Assessment for the Decommissioning of Facilities Using Radio­active Material, No. WS-G-5.2 [72] ;

• Release of Sites from Regulatory Control on Termination of Practices, No. WS-G-5.1 [43].

With respect to remediation and management or radioactive waste from mining and milling processing activities (past and current practices) the following IAEA safety guides apply:

• Remediation Process for Areas Affected by Past Practices and Acci­dents, No. WS-G-3.1 [73] ;

• Management of Radioactive Waste from the Mining and Milling of Ores, No. WS-G-1.2 [74] that is planned to be substituted by a new guide on Protection of the Public against Exposure to Natural Sources of Radiation including NORM (DS 421) [75];

• Occupational Radiation Protection in the Mining and Processing of Raw Materials, No. RS-G-1.6 [76].

A number of safety guides dealing mainly with spent fuel, safety assessment and safety case, as well as monitoring of disposal facilities are in a process of development and/or approval, such as:

• Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel, No. SSG-15 [77];

• Safety Case and Safety Assessment for Predisposal Management of Radioactive Waste, DS 284 [78];

• Near Surface Disposal, DS 356 [79];

• Geological Disposal, No. SSG-14 [80];

• Monitoring and Surveillance of Radioactive Waste Disposal Facilities, DS 357 [81];

• Safety Case and Safety Assessment for Radioactive Waste Disposal, No. SSG-23 [82];

• Control of Orphan Sources and Other Radioactive Material in the Metal Recycling and Production Industries, No. SSG-17 [83] .

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