Regulatory and policy issues related to post-accident management of radioactive waste


A nuclear accident resulting in an off-site release of radioactive contamination is likely to generate significant quantities of radioactive waste, due to the redeposition of such waste in the surroundings, apart from the problem of dealing with the damaged nuclear fuel remaining in the plant. That is the case after the Fukushima catastrophe.

Existing legislation, albeit applicable, is generic in nature and will need to be supplemented by policy and regulatory measures, as dictated by the particular circumstances of the accident (inventory, removal and storage of contaminated material, extraction of damaged fuel, processing, etc.). Their social and economic implications will inevitably be huge and sensitive. Past experience from earlier accidents like TMI 2 in the USA or Chernobyl (USSR) is not going to be very helpful for the post-accident management of Fukushima for various reasons.

To make more socially acceptable and efficient decisions, competent authorities must seek the best technical expertise available and consult with stakeholders. Authorities will also need to engage the affected population, with a view to arrive at informed choices and build confidence.


Download Mr Reyners’s presentation in PDF format.

About the Speaker

Patrick Reyners is the former Head of Legal Affairs of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (Paris). In 2001 he created the International School of Nuclear Law, in Montpellier (France) and remains a member of its Supervisory Board today. He served as a legal consultant for the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (UAE), and for the International Atomic Energy Agency (Vienna), with respect to legislative assistance and the Nuclear Law Institute.

He has also served over the years as an associate professor with the Universities of Poitiers-Angoulême and Montpellier (France), Dundee-CEPMLP (Scotland), Louvain (Belgium), Lomonosov (Geneva), Paris-Sorbonne Abu Dhabi (UAE) and Hitotshubashi (Japan). He is the Secretary General and Scientific Adviser of the International Nuclear Law Association. He is well published in the field of nuclear law.

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