On Monday morning, members of the US Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board (US NWTRB) visited the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) in Brugg. During their visit, they were particularly interested in the Swiss procedure as part of the Sectoral Plan for Deep Geological Repositories (SGT), and above all the integrated process for waste management work.
“The USA is still at a very early stage in the search for a deep geological repository. However, we realised that we are faced with similar challenges to those in Switzerland. We have come here to learn from successful examples,” says Rodney C. Ewing, Chairman of the US NWTRB.
The US experts were eager to know about every stage of the process under the sectoral plan procedure and, in particular, the criteria for safety analyses in site selection. “We have a strong interest in learning from various countries about different approaches to the disposal of radioactive waste,” says Ewing. Secondly, the American delegation wanted to gain an insight into Switzerland’s regulatory framework. The experts were very interested in the ENSI’s various guidelines in relation to waste management and had numerous questions about Guideline ENSI-G03 in particular.
“The discussions here at the ENSI were both thought-provoking and beneficial,” says Ewing. Switzerland, too, stands to benefit from exchanging ideas with the USA: “International cooperation and the exchange of knowledge that comes with it are very important for the ENSI,” says ENSI Director General Hans Wanner. “This is always advantageous for the experts from both countries.”
In addition to the ENSI, the US agency is visiting other organisations involved in the Sectoral Plan for Deep Geological Repositories, such as the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) and the National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste (Nagra). The delegation’s journey will then continue to Belgium.
The NWTRB is an independent agency of the U.S. Federal Government. Its sole purpose is to perform independent scientific and technical peer review of the Department of Energy’s program for managing and disposing of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel and provide findings & recommendations to Congress, the Secretary of Energy, & the interested public. (Source : http://www.nwtrb.gov/)