Through the EU Technical Aid to the Commonwealth of Independent States (TACIS) programme a huge financial effort was displayed in the period 1991-2006 to improve nuclear safety in the Former Soviet Union countries. In addition to NPP design and operation safety, a significant part of the funding was devoted to others areas, including environmental restoration and radioactive waste management. Ukraine is one of the main beneficiaries of TACIS nuclear safety programme and has received assistance related to the safety of nuclear power plants, radwaste management as well as extensive support relating to the Chernobyl plant and exclusion zone.
Whilst the current need for assistance is reduced in the area of nuclear power plants safety, following many years of international assistance and national programmes, there remains a strong need for support in the area of radwaste management. Practical solutions for radwaste that is produced within the civil sector of Ukraine, including radwaste that is the result of the mitigation of consequences of the Chernobyl accident, and also radwaste that might be transferred from the defence sector, need to be found. As an important step, the National Strategy for the Management of Radioactive Waste within Ukraine was developed in the frame of the TACIS programme. This should be reflected in the Ukrainian state radwaste management programme.
The establishment of the regulatory framework relevant to the management of radwaste in Ukraine is ongoing. Several regulations and legal documents relating to the management of radwaste have already been set in place in Ukraine. Additionally, Ukraine has ratified the Joint Convention on Safety of Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel, and is regularly reporting on progress.
While assistance in the radwaste sector is recognised as an important contributor to the development of safety improvements in Ukraine, the new situation, with the national radwaste strategy in place, allows for the consideration of further assistance in this area in the next years. The aim of this project is to support the European Commission in undertaking an assessment of past achievements in the area of radwaste management and identifying the priorities for the future programmes.
The objective of the project is to review the status of completed assistance projects related to radioactive waste management in Ukraine as well as to identify areas where future assistance could be the most beneficial. Specific activities shall include the following.
- The assessment of the status and the results achieved by past and ongoing assistance projects focused on radioactive waste management.
- The identification of both the beneficiary’s and the end user’s perspective on the achievements of past and ongoing projects.
- The identification of the remaining important needs for international assistance in the area of radioactive waste management in Ukraine and the preparation of Project Description Sheets for future projects that are deemed to be of a high priority.
In order to support the EC in the identification and programming of new projects for the further assistance under the INSC taking the lessons learned in the implementation of TACIS projects, the Contract Team searched more than 40 past TACIS projects in which management of radioactive waste was involved and evaluated 19 projects based on the direct relevance to the subject and adequacy of the available information.
The evaluation results demonstrated that all projects evaluated were relevant to the problems at that time and to the needs of the beneficiaries. High effectiveness, in most cases, in the implementation of these projects was acknowledged; while the efficiency was at different levels. The impact of some of the completed projects was at plant or site level and others at national level. Those projects that were in line with the national or corporate programmes would likely to have good prospects for the sustainability.
The Contract Team also integrated all project ideas proposed by its own and by other contract teams from different terms of conditions. Through comparison of similarities and differences, a complete set of 28 incorporated project ideas with distinct subjects were determined. These project ideas were preliminarily prioritized on the basis of the EC policies and new strategies and approaches specified by the INSC, as well as considering the Ukrainian national strategy and programmes.
Lessons Learned and Recommendations
- Assistance limited to solve technical issues is not sufficient; while upgrading and implementing the national and corporate strategies is essential, which will have global impact and sustainable benefits to the country.
- For construction or operation of waste management facilities, support from regulatory authorities is indispensable, regulatory projects for licensing procedures should be implemented before the concerned construction or operation projects.
- Attention should also be given to some aspects, which have been missing in the previous TACIS projects, such as systematic training, set up of public information centres, planning of decommissioning and remediation, as well as safe management of radioactive waste from non-nuclear fuel cycle applications.
- All the incorporated project ideas proposed so far could not have covered all problematic issues in the radioactive waste management sector in Ukraine. The remaining needs of the Ukrainian stakeholders should be continuously identified in the follow-up actions by the Task Force support teams.
- The priorities of the preliminarily prioritized project ideas should be further justified taking into consideration the commitment to co-financing and many other factors at the time of the establishment of the annual action programmes and the development of Project Data Sheets or Action Fiches since more comprehensive information is needed.