While in the US the Obama administration has said it will abandon the nuclear waste disposal project at Yucca Mountain and has set up a “blue-ribbon” commission on America’s future management of nuclear waste, in Europe, two countries (Sweden and Finland) have already selected a disposal site for nuclear waste and France will specify a location by 2013. In a number of other European countries (e.g. Switzerland and UK), geological disposal is the reference management option and things are moving forward to the site selection stage. The scientific and technical challenges associated with geological disposal were highlighted:
- the further reduction in uncertainties regarding the predictions on the repository behaviour in the very long term,
- understanding when knowledge is sufficient for well founded decision-making,
- how to transfer the results of RD&D activities into proven and reliable technologies, and
- aspects related to operational safety of repositories.
At the 2010 Annual Conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the EU JRC organised a scientifdic session on Nuclear Waste Management: From Public Perception to Industrial Reality.