We have been investigating the technologies and knowledge developed by radioactive waste management organisations in other countries.
This is part of our collaboration work to learn from the experience of other geological disposal programmes.
This approach will help both UK regulators and potential host communities to understand the technology and how many of the related safety issues have been successfully used and tested in other countries’ programmes.
The approach could also cover relevant technology being developed in other industries, such as drilling and mining. Knowing which technologies are available would then help us to decide whether to buy them in, and the best time to do so, or to develop its own technology.
Dr Samantha King, head of disposal system specification, explained:
We commissioned studies with Sweden’s SKB and Andra in France to explore the benefits of sharing technologies. Both of these countries are at a more advanced stage in planning for geological disposal and therefore are a good starting point for us to assess the potential benefits of technology transfer.
The work included:
- analysing SKB’s and Andra’s safety cases and underpinning information to identify how much of this information is applicable to the UK
- exploring options for transferring applicable technology to the UK
- estimating the cost benefits and potential savings that could ultimately be achieved by technology transfer
During the course of the studies we all realised that the value of co-operation is not a simple case of discussing and identifying cost savings but are more in terms of increasing the credibility of the technology with stakeholders using demonstration facilities and showing the evidence of the other country’s work.
We have published two reports on the findings from the studies so far.