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The Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste

A one-day open meeting, held at the Geological Society on 24 October 2008, to discuss developments in the characterisation of deep geology and hydrogeology appropriate for potential sites for geological disposal facilities in the UK.

The purpose of the meeting was to introduce people with an interest in the geological disposal of radioactive waste to the work of Earth scientists - what they do and what they cannot do.  It introduced the types of geological conditions found below the surface and the techniques used by Earth scientists to understand them and predict the characteristics of underground sites before they have been excavated.  Presentations were given by speakers who are familiar with radioactive waste disposal programmes in the UK and throughout Europe, and by those who use similar techniques in the resource industries where their predictions are routinely tested by ongoing development.  Members of the audience had the opportunity to ask questions at the end of each presentation, and the day concluded with a general question and answer / discussion session.

The meeting was attended by a diverse audience, including a wide range of practising academic and industrial Earth scientists, local government representatives from potential volunteer communities, people from bodies involved in the management of nuclear waste (including regulators and government departments), representatives of interested NGOs, those from other scientific societies and members of the public.

The whole event was recorded.  You can view each of the talks and the accompanying PowerPoint presentations by following the links below.

Professor Bruce Yardley, University of Leeds: What is beneath our feet?  How Earth scientists understand the subsurface

Dr Robert Chaplow, NDA: What information is needed to evaluate a candidate site?

Dr Adrian Bath, Intellisci: Engineered barrier systems (EBS): What are they for and how do they relate to the geosphere?

Dr Patrick Landais, ANDRA: The French Experience: An outline of the ANDRA research programme

Professor Andy Aplin, University of Newcastle: Case Study 1: Quantifying fluid flow in sedimentary basins: A petroleum perspective

Professor Graham Stuart, RDR Ltd: Case Study 2: Using seismic reflection to design a mine

Professor Stuart Haszeldine, University of Edinburgh: Site selection for radioactive waste storage: how difficult?

Professor Peter Styles, Keele University: General question and answer / discussion session

Or you can download the presentations and the conference programme as PDF files.

Other resources mentioned during the day

DECC's Managing Radioactive Waste Safely website - sets out the government's policy for radioactive waste management, and the process by which local communities can participate in the siting process

EMpower (Environmental Masters Programme Of Work Experience through Research) - this scheme provides opportunities for MSc students to develop skills and gain experience relevant to the nuclear sector.