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An e-newsletter from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

International deliberation on waste management

18 March 2009

Signage: Welcome to the 2009 Waste Management Symposium.

Over 2,000 delegates from around the world gathered in Pheonix, US, at the largest annual international conference on radioactive waste management. As well as being the largest conference, it is also the most diverse, with over 80 sessions over four days, giving comprehensive and in-depth coverage on the technical and scientific, socio-economic and contractual aspects of radioactive waste management.

NDA attended the event since the UK Government's Managing Radioactive Waste Safely White Paper gives the NDA responsibility for planning and delivering the UK's geological disposal facility. Our Radioactive Waste Management Directorate will be responsible for implementing the facility.

More information on Our Role in Geological Disposal

NDA were involved in a number of sessions including:

  • Providing information on how clients and contractors are working together in the UK for the benefit for all
  • Explaining that a key milestone has been achieved in the UK with the publication of the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) White Paper
  • Contributing to panel sessions on waste management, fuel cycle issues and Yucca Mountain.

Steve Barlow, NDA Head of Assessments, speaking at Waste Management 09 in Pheonix, US.
We also took the opportunity to hold the regular six monthly bilateral meeting with relevant US DoE staff who were also in Phoenix. This high-level meeting enabled both parties to share information on recent developments in both countries and move forward on specific collaboration projects to work more effectively and efficiently and help reduce costs.

A number of significant issues emerged including:

 - Funding for Yucca Mountain (the US geological disposal facility for high-level waste) has been cut to only allowing the license application to be determined; and

 - President Obama has announced that US DoE Environmental Management contractors are to receive around $6 billion to speed clean-up activities and stimulate employment.


It is expected that both these developments are likely to have knock-on implications for the work we plan to do in the UK.

The NDA values this opportunity to gain international buy-in to what we do. Delegates have a better understanding of how we do business and recognise that we are different to the US DoE and that the way we work is different to that in the US. We in turn gain an understanding of what is happening internationally and how that can help with our programmes.