The long-term management of radioactive waste: the work of CoRWM

09 January 2006

In November 2005 the Royal Society organised a seminar that brought together an expert group of scientists and representatives of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) and the Department of Environment Food Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The purpose of the seminar was to identify science-based issues that are of particular importance in the final phases of CoRWM's work, prior to its report to Government in summer 2006. This Royal Society policy report is informed by the seminar. Recommendations are made to CoRWM about issues within their remit and to DEFRA about future needs and broader issues of policy.

Our recommendations highlight the need for CoRWM to engage more effectively with the scientific community as it moves into the final stages of its work, which is due for completion in July 2006. We also suggest that CoRWM present a strategy outlining the best use of the range of available options for managing the UK's complex radioactive waste inventory. Some recommendations relate to Defra. In particular, the need to establish an independent successor body to CoRWM to implement a radioactive waste management strategy and to oversee the site selection and disposal process. Finally we highlight the need for such a body to have a much stronger scientific capacity than CoRWM and capability to continue with public engagement and education.