Long-lived radioactive waste must be safely isolated and contained for long periods. Current radioactive waste management programmes are focused on disposal of long-lived waste in geological repositories as the most appropriate strategy for ensuring long-term safety of people and the environment.
A successful strategy for the management and disposal of used nuclear fuel and Long-lived radioactive waste should address both technical and societal needs, and monitoring has the potential to contribute to both of these aspects.
Monitoring can underpin a repository safety strategy; it can contribute to verification of the performance of the disposal system and can contribute to demonstration of compliance with regulatory requirements. Monitoring can provide better understanding of components evolution and thus allow to appreciating the optimization possibilities. Monitoring can contribute to public and stakeholder understanding of processes occurring in the repository, and hence, it can respond to public concerns and potentially be used to build confidence in geological disposal. Monitoring can, therefore, play an important role in enabling waste management organisations to work towards the safe and accepted implementation of geological disposal.
Based on the outcomes of the MoDeRn Project, the overall objective of the Modern2020 Project is to provide the means for developing and implementing an effective and efficient repository operational monitoring programme, that will be driven by safety case needs, and that will take into account the requirements of specific national contexts (including inventory, host rocks, repository concepts and regulations, all of which differ between Member States) and public stakeholder expectations (particularly those of local public stakeholders at (potential) disposal sites).
The work in the Modern2020 Project will address the following issues: i) Strategy: development of detailed methodologies for screening safety cases to identify needs-driven repository monitoring strategies and to develop operational approaches for responding to monitoring information; ii) Technology: carry out research and development (R&D) to solve outstanding technical issues in repository monitoring, which are related with wireless data transmission technologies, alternative long term power supplies, new sensors, geophysics, reliability and qualification of components.; iii) Demonstration and Practical Implementation: enhance the knowledge on the operational implementation and demonstrate the performance of state-of-the-art and innovative techniques by running full-scale and in-situ experiments; iv) Societal concerns and Stakeholder Involvement: Develop and evaluate ways for integrating public stakeholders concerns and societal expectations into repository monitoring programmes.
Modern2020 will focus on monitoring of the near-field during repository operational phases.