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[en] Archaeology, the study of the remains of the ancient past, may be relevant to the long-term preservation of RK and M, because it works to recover information, knowledge and meaning that have been lost. As a discipline, archaeology studies how the past is understood in the present, potentially drawing lessons that could guide future action concerning the preservation of RK and M across time by indicating how future societies could make sense of the past. Case studies, such as an examination of European megalithic tombs, show that the understanding of the past varies across time. It was emphasised that archaeological interpretation always reflects contemporary perceptions of past and future, which are socially and culturally embedded and highly mutable over time. What is more, archaeology is a fairly recent discipline and there is no certainty that it will exist in the long term, to help recover and reconstruct lost RK and M. As a result, it cannot be assumed that information, knowledge and meaning of the past can be transmitted reliably in the long term. Based on this understanding Profs. Cornelius Holtorf and Anders Hoegberg made a case for trying to keep knowledge alive over time, continuously engaging each present. They used the notion of 'living heritage', which refers to striving for continuity in the short and medium terms as a way to reach the long term, keeping in mind that reinterpretation and knowledge development over time is a given. As a result, they suggest to 'think about the long term but act for the short and medium terms'
[en] The need to pass knowledge on to future generations is not unique to radioactive waste management. Think, for instance, of chemical waste, space debris, the location of land mines, or the genetic code of manipulated organisms, etc.. In all these cases we have to handle the impacts and effects of technologies over the long term. The time frame of these effects surmounts the lifetime of one generation and more. In order to enable future generations to handle this precarious legacy we need to hand on suitable information. However, this is not enough; we have to facilitate the understanding of the very meaning of this information, too. This can be referred to as a 'wicked problem', since the legacy of the nuclear age is distributed all over the world and huge amounts of wastes have been accumulated. There is not yet any solution available which could reduce the half-life of nuclear waste on a large industrial scale. Information is constantly decaying, e.g. due to copy processes and the limited lifetime of information carriers such as paper, chemical, electronic and nano-storage technologies. For time frames greater than 1 000 years none of the present technologies seems to be long lasting enough or effective by itself. It can be shown that no presently known information and communication technology (ICT) can preserve written or electronically stored information over 4 000 years, say. The preservation effort would have to include the reception, deciphering, and the semantically correct understanding. The decay of information entails the decay of knowledge. This leads to a decrease of possibilities to act. However, we and future generations need this knowledge (including the basics of physics and relevant technology) in order to be able to take action in the future. This task is still unresolved, both for nuclear waste management and for other issues. One can only try to pass knowledge on to future generations via institutions. However, an organisational solution via institutions will not be effective, unless we know what kind of knowledge will be important in the future. Thus, selection processes need to be managed. To do so in an effective way, there are three preconditions: - We have to transfer not only the scientific and technological information, but we also have to ensure that it might be understood in an adequate way. - We have to collect the information about nuclear waste sites with the help of stable institutions, which are responsible for the appropriate availability of the data. The option 'bury it and forget it' does not seem to be a reasonable one. All sites should be kept in a reversible mode. If new scientific or technologic findings will become available, one should have the possibility to manage the waste problem under new points of view. Hence, any information handed on should include the reversibility of the relevant technology. To gain knowledge, it is necessary to understand information as a message in a given context; hence context information (language, culture, technology) must be passed on, too. This is not a technical problem of databases. It remains the question how we can organise public education in technology. Information can be transformed into knowledge, when it has been understood (reception, reading, interpretation etc.). This transformation process needs time. Hence, the availability of information is a necessary but not sufficient condition to gain knowledge. Written papers, databases, web pages, and even books, are not enough, because we do need certain pre-knowledge to understand them. Additionally, we need practice and implicit knowledge to understand the information about the nuclear waste legacy. All this must be kept vivid and well trained. This task cannot be substituted by an automated technology but by already existing institutions like universities, academies or libraries with political support by international organisations like the OECD or the United Nations. Finally, we need to clarify the ethical foundation of any obligation to future individuals, whom we would force to deal with our technological heritage. We have also to hand on the strong conviction that the dissemination of information about the nuclear waste for each subsequent generation is essential in order to enable knowledge. There is a simple ethical reason for that: We should not lead future generations into dilemmatic situations in which they cannot act in a responsible way anymore. The least we can do is to keep them informed effectively. The next generation will have the same task, and so on and so on. This can be considered as a kind of induction. Nevertheless, this will be only a necessary condition for them to keep the possibilities open to act in a responsible way today and in far future years. But it is a way to propagate responsibility
[en] Various NEA member countries are currently developing and constructing deep geological disposal projects for high-level and/or long-lived radioactive waste and spent fuel. These take decades to develop and implement, and the facilities are to operate passively and safely for millennia. Although different countries are in various stages of development with regard to their programmes for final radioactive waste management (RWM), for all countries with nuclear waste the question arises which relevant records, knowledge and memory should be preserved, why, how, by whom, and for how long? Consideration of this question has led to the launching of the OECD NEA Project on the 'Preservation of Records, Knowledge and Memory (RK and M) across Generations' by the RWMC in March 2011. A Collective Statement and a Vision Document have been prepared and released with RWMC approval. A project web-site has been created http://www.oecd-nea.org/rwm/rkm/. The project counts representatives from 16 organisations in 12 countries, plus the IAEA, and the support of the European Commission. Most organizations provide a financial or in-kind contribution to running of the project. Within the RK and M Project, 2012-2013 was designated for improving our understanding and reaching out to outside experts. Multi-disciplinary studies have been encouraged from the start, since preparing the project in 20101. Six surveys have been completed, the analysis of the bibliography is being conducted, a glossary of key terms has been produced and is being refined, a catalogue of regulatory requirements is being produced, and two workshops have been held. A methodology for creating the 'Menu Driven Document' has been identified, a Project meeting will be held in April 2013 and a further workshop is planned for September 2013. The project was presented to the UNESCO Conference of the Preservation of Digital Memory, which gave rise to new areas of research and collaboration, e.g., with the CoData task group on Data at Risk. Links established at the workshop will be developed further, e.g., with the builders of a 10 000 year clock - the Long Now Foundation - and the DoE Legacy Management department. The key general questions, as identified in the Vision Document, for the project in general are: Which records need to be maintained? For what purpose? Over which timescales? By whom? For whom? What can be done now - from a managerial, technical, legal, regulatory viewpoint - to provide maximum continuity of records, message, and accessibility? How much effort, and of what kind, is it reasonable to invest, now or later? The priority at this stage of the project is to complete the scoping work so far by finalizing it into written documents. Furthermore in 2012-2013, the following meetings and activities have taken place or are under consideration: A project meeting was held in April 2012. A second, open workshop was held in September 2012. A further project meeting will be held in April 2013. The third open workshop will be held in September 2013. As stated in the Vision document, the RK and M project will work towards a 'Menu-driven document that will allow people to identify the elements of a strategic action plan for RK and M preservation'. This document will contain recommendations to countries on useful practices as well as new suggested follow-on activities in this field. The release of this 'Menu driven document' is foreseen in 2014. (authors)
[en] There are long time frames from the production of waste to packaging, transport, storage and final disposal in a repository. This entails changing custodians, as the responsible individuals and organisations change. This presentation once again pointed out the importance of a life cycle approach towards RK and M preservation and RWM in general. The traditional focus for the safety case has been examining individual facilities and short term goals (put bluntly, on 'getting the permit'). This approach does not lend itself to forward planning, or a holistic vision of the process. The 'Radioactive waste management case' is an effort to integrate the different individual safety cases, and focus on waste streams rather than facilities, so that the trail of decisions is documented. The concept of 'waste streams' was explained as having been developed in the context of decommissioning, in order to make concrete the idea of 'cradle to grave' life cycle analysis. The importance of creating an 'information management culture' at the level of organisations was underscored. With regard to needing to find a balance between completeness and overload, it was once again pointed out that one needs to wary to avoid a situation of 'Keep everything, find nothing'
[en] There are a number of valid, safety-related, reasons for initiatives to address the need of record keeping to retain memory of a repository after closure. Such initiatives are valuable through all stages of repository development, but are indispensable in the last stages of license dialogue. Regulatory guidance for such initiatives thus is needed to allow for a measured, optimized and graded; that is, it is a proportional approach. In the absence of guidance, the operator's or implementer's work is susceptible to uncertainties regarding direction, the proper use of research resources, and so on. Inspiration may be found in national regulatory frameworks such as the ones of Finland, Japan and Germany. Nevertheless, the safety regulator alone may not possess all the necessary mandates needed for the transfer of records to a post closure archive. It is therefore advisable to formulate, at a government level, a project to establish the ultimate goal for RK and M, and the general steps that are needed. An additional issue requiring governmental action is the assessment of the RK and M initiatives' relation to international conventions, such as the Joint Convention, the Aarhus Convention and the Non- Proliferation Treaty (regarding safeguards). This presentation agreed with the fact that the local level indeed has a role to play, but highlighted that national, high level awareness is indispensable. During discussions, it was acknowledged that RK and M preservation includes a large number of elusive matters that tend to blow up debates. Even so, the need for a more or less detailed reference that delineates boundaries is needed. Presuming that the present society is a model for the future society may be the most robust way to go about it, as this avoids the temptation to indulge in science fiction. This is also relevant when thinking about reconstruction measures to account for the fact the chain of information may be broken at some stage. The relevance of the international level and the importance of finding a balance between raw data and metadata was underlined. It was pointed out that the issue of how the dimension of openness relates to safeguards deserves further attention
[en] An issue that has long been on the radioactive waste management agenda is the means of marking a waste repository site, such that future generations will be able to comprehend its purpose and risks even if written records have been lost. For years the main reason cited for needing such comprehension was to preclude unintentional future human intrusion into the repository and the ensuing exposure of the intruder to radiation. Such a future intruder could also cause damage to the repository system and endanger his own and subsequent generations. More recently, other reasons have included the wish to maintain a certain degree of flexibility for future generations, in case the latter decide to retrieve the waste for motives that may go beyond safety, e.g., the economic exploitation of the energy potential that may remain in the waste. The conceptualisation and design of markers of records by technologists has typically focused on durability and has assumed that the repository is - and will be - something totally separate from its cultural environment. A new vision is emerging, however, that it may be worthwhile to consider the repository as part of a societal fabric. The task of maintaining memory would thus be facilitated by measures that would foster community involvement and would go as far as foreseeing that these communities will in time build their own new markers to replace old ones that have become obsolete or are fading away. It must be understood that the timescales over which the hazard exists are much longer than just a few thousands of years, and it must be accepted that the current generation's capacity to assure continued integrity cannot be projected indefinitely into the future, but rather diminishes with time. Hence, there is perhaps the need to conceptualize a 'rolling future' in which each generation takes responsibility to ensure continuity and safety for the succeeding several generations, including a need for flexibility and adaptability to circumstances as they change. (author)
[en] The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) has co-ordinated an international initiative to develop a common approach to the preservation of records, knowledge and long-term memory (RK and M), focused on radioactive waste disposals. The work programme has run in two phases, starting in 2011, with the current phase of the project due to be completed in 2018. Preparations for final reporting are now underway. The detailed implementation of an approach to RK and M preservation for any disposal facility will always remain a national decision. However, the NEA project has produced a 'menu' of tools and techniques that can be accessed and adapted to suit national needs. The common source of these menu components will help to ensure that the memory of the repository is kept alive, that messages to future populations can be clearly understood, and that evidence derived from the disposal environment can be properly interpreted. This paper describes the vision for implementation of the RK and M initiative within national programmes. Practical testing of some components of the menu of tools and techniques is currently underway in France, Sweden and USA, with encouraging results. Other disposal facilities, both under development or in planning, are invited to 'road test' the products and provide feedback. Refinement and maintenance of the tools remains important, and the NEA is committed to ensuring the continued accessibility and availability of the project outputs into the future. (authors)
[en] In line with the RK and M initiative's glossary, the 'long term' was introduced as the period of time after repository closure with no repository oversight, extending over hundreds of thousands of years. Anne Claudel focused on the RK and M initiative findings regarding markers. She explained that, although they have often been presented as the main method to preserve memory and deter human intrusion, the RK and M literature survey on markers shows that there are no straightforward, conclusive answers to the objectives, messages and methods of marking. Even if they remain physically intact and traceable over time, future neglect or misunderstanding of their meaning cannot be ruled out. It was thus announced that the potential role of markers for RK and M preservation should be studied within a systemic approach to RK and M preservation. For instance, RK and M will investigate further the interaction of markers with other methods and tools, and the potential of internationally standardised markers
[en] As a result of history Germany owns two repositories, Konrad and Morsleben, in deep geological formations licensed for LILW and one exploration mine, Gorleben, for investigating the site's suitability to erect a repository for HLW/SNF and heat generating ILW. Due to political decisions, exploration at Gorleben is interrupted presently and no waste emplacement takes place in any of the LILW repositories. The Morsleben repository for LILW now is under licensing for closure. To assess long-term safety of the repositories different safety strategies were applied linking site independent high level requirements to site specific conditions, constraints, and boundary conditions due to the type and amount of waste to be disposed of. Using the closure of the Morsleben repository as an example different safety strategies are shown leading to different technical closure concepts and multi-barrier systems. Evaluating these different closure concepts on a conceptual level qualitative criteria may be applied first, followed by performing a provisional safety assessment being quantitative approaches for deriving a first set of safety related quantitative requirements concerning the multi-barrier system and assuring that high level requirements are fulfilled. On this basis engineered barrier design is drafted and a set of criteria for evaluating their first design qualitatively is given. When assessing single barriers quantitatively to show their compliance with the derived requirements reliably, increasing knowledge in verifying the multi-barrier system as well as single barriers leads to changes of derived requirements and modifications of technical solutions regarding the engineered barriers. Within the repository project derived requirements are documented as well as design decisions. To guarantee traceability of requirement evolution and design decisions quality assurance measures are applied. However, today they solely allow traceability, active management is not possible. Finally, a brief description is given of how engineers, scientists and safety assessors having worked together up to now and their role within the projects at different project stages. A systematic approach to integrate information from engineers, scientists and safety assessors has not been applied until now. Integrating information within a repository project is a question of applying quality assurance from the start of the project. (author)