The JOPRAD project will lead to the further integration of the interested research community and hence help to maintain and develop the EU leadership in knowledge and expertise for innovative radioactive waste management solutions that effectively matches public expectations. Moreover, it will further reinforce and make the interaction at EU level between WMOs, TSOs, industry, policy makers and the research community more effective, which is of particular importance for implementing solutions for geological disposal of radioactive waste.
The Programme Document will be the technical roadmap for research for all actors in the field of geological disposal, especially if at the end of the JOPRAD project, the decision is taken to launch a JP. Also if the JP is not established at this stage, this Programme Document may be used as a technical basis for a further H2020 call. Other stakeholders, including R&D programme owners and managers as well as R&D organizations, can also use the programme document when planning or assessing research.
Current methods for demonstrating the safety of implementation and understanding the evolution of disposal facility fall behind if a constant effort to advance scientific understanding is not maintained.
Indeed, science will advance during the long disposal implementation period, analytical and monitoring techniques will continue to develop and modelling tools often have a limited lifetime. Consequently, top level of scientific studies should complement implementation-oriented research at every stage of disposal conception and operation.
Moreover, since the progress of a geological disposal project varies from one Member State to another, their implemented focussed R&D priorities are different. Thus, a JP will represent economy in terms of avoiding duplication, and promoting sharing of expertise. Even if countries and their WMOs, TSOs and Research Entities are already collaborating in R&D related to geological disposal, a better coordination of R&D programmes will provide an added value by developing a global view of research needs for both improving implementation programmes and generating a state of the art in scientific knowledge.
Besides R&D priorities identified by IGD-TP and SITEX, more long-term, oriented, fundamental and applied research continues to be essential for a good conception, operation and further monitoring and overall safety assessment of a geological disposal site up to and beyond final closure. Therefore, also the nationally mandated R&D actors beyond the WMOs and TSOs are addressed. The CNRS is acting as a focal point in the project for such actors CNRS has experience in coordinating R&D effort in the nuclear energy field, through the NEEDS program. Experience from this and other corresponding programmes across the EU will help in identifying shared priorities in the field of geological disposal, and then in elaborating a technical R&D program. It will have to be enlarged by a long-term research perspective, allowing maintaining and developing scientific knowledge.