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[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] 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] 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] The current management system in the United States for commercial spent nuclear fuel does not emphasize integration among storage, transportation, and disposal. The large containers in use for dry-storage remain at high temperatures for decades and, thereby, delay removal from decommissioned reactors. The large containers also have no easy path to disposal unless (1) disposal is delayed (up to 150 years for some geologic media); (2) the contents are repackaged into smaller, cooler packages; or (3) the high temperatures are used as de facto site-selection criteria for a repository. Implementing consolidated interim storage could address many issues that exist because of this lack of integration. A consolidated interim storage facility that includes appropriate capabilities acts as a universal coupler that allows existing disparate parts to integrate as a system. Previous agencies and commissions have noted this theme before as a way to provide flexibility in the waste management system. This rationale is elaborated upon here. (author)
[en] Proposals for a set of provisions for long-term memory and knowledge to be defined for a radioactive waste disposal facility, near surface or deep underground, address two primary motives, related to two ethical principles. The first motive is to prevent future generations from interfering involuntarily with the repository. This requires maintaining awareness of the repository, and addresses the ethical principle of protection of man and environment. The second motive is to provide future generations all the available relevant information which might help them make informed decisions about intentional actions, and assess the consequences. This requires transmitting detailed knowledge of the repository, and addresses the ethical principle of preservation of freedom of action. The set of provisions to be implemented with respect to each of these motives may not be the same. In order to define and assess the set of provisions, it is also useful to identify the various components of the process of transmission of a given message, or set of messages, to future generations. Three sub-processes have been identified: (i) 'memorization', at the producer stage, where a full set of information to be transmitted is identified, organized and expressed; (ii) 'preservation', where the potential durability of records is extended, the preservation conditions are controlled and where the records may be restored, if their status is degraded; (iii) 'access', at the receiver stage, where the receiver has to be notified of the existence of the information, to find it and to interpret it properly. As a failure of transmission to future generations would result from the failure of any of the subprocesses, a minimal set of provisions may be defined from this decomposition. (authors)
[en] This presentation looked at ideas and suggestions for practical developments, which could be used to shape plans for records preparation to support the various phases of waste management, and to develop a common records format for the long-term. Nuclear power generation is highly regulated, technologically advanced, socially controversial. It may turn out to be a transient industry, and has inter-generational effects. Records of radioactive waste management, leading up to and including ultimate disposal, will thus be required to satisfy a wide range of requirements. It has been proposed that to maximise the potential for surviving records to be correctly interpreted, a common format should be developed and applied internationally. It is generally accepted that the nature of the required records will vary with time, generally needing less detail as time evolves and the hazard declines. This leads to the concept of 'time-expired' records, meaning that records that are 'time-expired' should be discarded, and the potential for developing records targeted at different future audiences. The use of information will most likely undergo a transition from direct to indirect oversight, and means should be adapted accordingly
[en] This presentation discussed the final repository of radioactive waste as an issue at the interface of the sciences and the humanities. Archaeologists have learned that a hundred thousand years ago abstract thought and symbolism by humans began. Since then many communities of human beings have succeeded each other. They often intended to leave a mark for eternity, but they established in fact the truism that nothing ages faster than the future. Archaeologists and historians are promoting remembering, learning and understanding of history for contemporary and future generations. Disposal sites of nuclear waste constitute a special case of heritage. We are creating a very distinctive kind of heritage that in the future may be remembered or forgotten, just like any other heritage we create. The presentation addressed what the realms of heritage and radioactive waste disposal can learn from each other regarding making provisions for the future. Rubbish reflects the conditions from which it originates. The final deposition of radioactive waste is by nature a question of historical consciousness and future uses of the past, of memory and forgetting, and of future didactics of history. Heritage studies as well as history and archaeology are thus inherently relevant. Similarities between archaeology and RWM were thus pointed out, for instance the long time frames, specific sites, dealing with the meaning of rubbish, the fact that we both like to think we are doing something good for future generations,.. But there also are differences, notably that archaeology works with precious objects one wishes to keep. How will the future use our present, which is their past, for their own future? The meaning people give to information is important, and meaning is a continuous process of reinterpreting
[en] SSI's regulations concerning final management of spent nuclear fuel or nuclear waste are very general, and leave a large number of approaches open to show compliance with the standard. SSI needs to develop more detailed issues of compliance, a guidance document, so called 'General Advice'. This document should give adequate guidance to the implementer on how to fulfil SSI's requirements, but also to meet the concerns of, and to be understood and accepted by, the concerned public. To achieve this, SSI involves the concerned public in the current work, and lets the public have influence on the guidance document in such a way that the society's values are incorporated in the process and in the Advice itself. This paper describes how SSI uses the existing research in risk communication and the lessons learned over the last decade, in the process of taking forward General Advice according to the RISCOM model for transparency. The concerned municipalities in the nuclear waste issue are - perhaps in a few years - about to take one of the most important democratic decisions ever. There will be a need for a good basis of knowledge for this decision that is well grounded, concerning both facts and value-laden elements, and how these interact. A conclusion from the Risk-seminar and Focus groups is that there is still a strong involvement in the concerned municipalities for contributing to - and developing - the process for a final repository. The risk assessment for a final repository must cover many thousands of years into the future. The choices of scenarios for the future environment, parameter values etc. are based on expert judgments, which will often be a combination of technical/scientific and value-laden elements. It is therefore important that the basis for decisions is made transparent, both concerning the implementers work and SSI's review. SSI has started a dialogue on risk and radiation protection criteria relating to the implementation of SSI's regulations, according to the RISCOM principles, so that the concerned public better can validate claims of facts, values and authenticity. Defining SSI's arena and opening it for dialogues with other actors should improve the transparency in SSI's base for decisions
[en] This paper serves as a point of departure for the discussions to be held within the Working Group of Technical Topic entitled 'Barriers and System Performances within a safety case: Their functioning and Evolution with Time'. The paper gives the SKB perspective of the issues to be discussed within the Working Group for this Topic. The following issues to be discussed by the Working Group are: What is the role of each barrier as a function of time or in the different time frames? What is its contribution to the overall system performance or safety as a function of time? Which are the main uncertainties on the performance of barriers in the timescales? To what extent should we enhance the robustness of barriers because of the uncertainties of some component behaviour with time? What is the requested or required performance versus the expected or realistic or conservative behaviour with time? How are these safety margins used as arguments in a safety case? What is the issue associated with the geosphere stability for different geological systems? How is barriers and system performances as a function of time evaluated (and presented and communicated) in a safety case? What kind of measures are used for siting, designing and optimising robust barriers corresponding to situations that can vary with time? Are human actions considered to be relevant? (authors)