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[en] The theme for the 2019 IAEA International Conference on the Management of Spent Fuel from Nuclear Power Reactors is “Learning from the Past, Enabling the Future.” There are important lessons to be learned from our collective experience working in nuclear energy, whether we come from mature or emerging nuclear power programmes, and the conference provides an ideal venue for sharing them. Nuclear energy programmes require a very long commitment of time and resources in order to be successful. They generate many challenges — both technical and non-technical. I worked in the nuclear energy fuel cycle for over 28 years. I faced many challenges and learned many, many lessons. Let me share a few of my observations and thoughts. Nuclear energy systems are complex and integrated. For example, disposal facilities are multi-barrier containment systems comprised of the waste form, container, backfill and host rock, and the performance of each component impacts the others. How will storage decisions made today affect future disposal options? Could a spent fuel container preclude a specific mode of transport or disposal concept/site? We need to view these systems using a cradle-to-grave approach.