The TACIS programme for nuclear safety has been the main instrument of the European Union (EU) to improve the safety of nuclear installations in the former Soviet Union (FSU) countries. Since 1991, TACIS projects for the improvement of radioactive waste management (RWM) have been established and implemented.
Based on achievements and lessons learned in the implementation of the TACIS nuclear safety programme and taking into account challenges, constrains and opportunities in the near future, the European Commission (EC) drafted the “Nuclear Safety Strategy Paper and Indicative Programme for Community Assistance Programmes for 2007-2013”, as a new instrument for nuclear safety cooperation (INSC). The new INSC modifies the strategy and approach for assistance and specifies four priority areas, one of which is the “safe and sustainable management of nuclear waste, decommissioning and remediation of former nuclear sites”.
For the preparation of future assistance programmes and the continuation of assistance activities beyond 2007, the EC launched this Project for engaging a Consultant to assess the RWM sector in Russia and to determine high priority specific projects (SPs) for the EC assistance, in particular those to be included in the Action Programme (AP) 2007.
The objective of the Project was to support the EC for :
1) review and assessment of the achievements, lessons learnt and current status of the completed and/or ongoing TACIS nuclear safety projects in the area of RWM in Russia, and
2) identification of areas and projects where the future collaboration and/or assistance could be provided to satisfy the needs of Beneficiaries and also accord with the EC’s INSC.
To achieve the Project objectives, the scope of work was divided in three tasks:
- Task #1 Preparation of a Detailed Work Plan, with a realistic project schedule that indicated the interactions with the beneficiaries.
- Task #2 Identification of Collaborative Areas and Projects
This Task included three Sub-tasks:
- Evaluation of the Past and Ongoing TACIS Projects on RWM
- Identification of Collaborative Actions (CA) and Integrated Projects (IP)
- Determination of Specific Projects for the Pending Action Programmes
Task #3 Preparation of the Final Report that summarised the performance and results of the project.
Evaluation of past and ongoing TACIS Projects on RWM
The review of the completed and ongoing TACIS projects in the areas of RWM resulted in a list and short description of 31 projects that were grouped in 5 categories:
- Category A Improvement of RWM Infrastructure (4 projects)
- Category B Management of Radioactive Waste (RW) in North-Western Russia Region (6 projects)
- Category C Improvement of RWM at RADON Enterprises (6 projects)
- Category D Improvement of RW Processing Capabilities at NPPs (12 projects)
- Category E Establishment of RWM Licensing Procedures (3 projects)
The evaluation was based on the following pre/established critera:
- Relevance of the project objective(s) to solving the actual problems encountered
- Efficiency in achieving the expected results, i.e. if they were achieved in a timely way and at a reasonable cost
- Effectiveness in achieving the expected results, i.e. degree and extent to which the project objective(s) was realized
- Impact on the overall objectives, i.e. the longer-term effects of the project on the improvement of RWM in Russia; and
- Sustainability of the produced project benefits over a certain time, after the external support has ended.
All projects were relevant to the needs of the beneficiaries and/or end-users. In particular, projects for the development of licensing procedures were essential for the projects in respect of construction or decommissioning of the nuclear or RWM facilities. Projects on training, for information centres, and for strategic study of the back-end fuel cycle management were of utmost importance to the confirmation or re-orientation of the EC assistance priorities.
The efficiency with regard to the implementation of these projects was at different levels. Some of the completed projects were implemented smoothly; others suffered substantial delay due to difficulties in data collection, equipment procurement, or the slow decision making and document approvals, or severe financial constraints of the Beneficiaries. High effectiveness in the implementation of these projects was generally acknowledged.
The impact of these projects was high but local. However, many projects might have significant contribution to the overall objectives of the improvement of the RWM in Russia if results would have been well disseminated. For all projects that are in line with the Russian national programmes, the interest of the respective beneficiaries is high, which may give good prospects for the sustainability of these projects. However, the real sustainability will strongly depend on the acceptance of the project results and the continuous support by the Russian authorities, beneficiaries and the public.
The evaluation of the TACIS Projects lead to the following lessons learned and recommendations:
- TACIS projects on RWM have experienced common problems as in other areas of the TACIS nuclear safety programmes, due to at one hand the complexity of the nuclear safety issues, and at another hand the differences in political objectives and management cultures between the EU countries and Russia. Thus, more dialogues with Russian partners should be promoted to develop consensus.
- For achieving the overall objectives of the TACIS nuclear safety programme in the area of RWM, projects limited to only solve technical issues are insufficient. The upgrading of the management infrastructure in Russia is essential to resolve a number of open problems, including defining legal requirements, creating an organisation dedicated to waste disposal and a funding mechanism, etc.
- For smoothening the project implementation process, supports from other stakeholders are necessary, in particular the regulatory body and the public. A more transparent regulatory approach and attitude would result in a more straightforward implementation, avoiding misunderstandings and preventing additional and unnecessary work.
- The records system and database at the JMU do not contain sufficient information, in particular, technical deliverables and reports. This fact affects making convinced conclusions. The records system for EC assisted RWM projects should be enhanced, either attached to the current JMU’s records system, or belonging to the EC Delegation in Moscow.
Identification of Collaborative Actions and Integrated Projects
In addition of the results from the evaluation of the TACIS projects, the identification of the IPs was based on the study of the new strategy and approach of the EC explained in the INSC for 2007-2013 and the analysis of the current situation of the Russia and the Russian Federal Target Programme for 2008-2015. Based on those, four collaborative actions (CAs) were at first defined, and then within each of the CAs, one or more IPs were identified.
The EC policy to support the improvement of nuclear safety remains unchanged for the achievement of the strategic objectives of the EC, i.e.
- Consolidation of a safety oriented operation and management of the nuclear cycle exploitation
- Harmonisation and exchange of know how and the best practices.
However, the assistance strategy of the EC, as indicated in the INSC, has shifted from purely technical support oriented projects to more cooperative oriented measurers and actions, and with less supply but more know-how transfer. Equipment supply only if and when clear and justified safety issues are at stake.
In this context the programming and implementation of assistance projects adhere to the following four principles:
- Looking for a sectorial approach
- Streamlining programme management
- Co-Financing with beneficiary countries
- Coordination with other donors
Regarding the Russian situation, and based on the findings of the TACIS project R4.04/04 “Strategy Definition for Russian Federation NPP Back End Radioactive Waste Management”, four essential components within the Russian RWM structure were identified missing, which cause serious problems in practice:
- A set of legal requirements, specifying responsibilities for RWM based on market economy principles
- An organization, whose functions include operating facilities for the final isolation of RW and long-term centralized storage of SNF, etc.
- A mechanism that will accumulate fees from Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) and RW generators to finance the long-term storage and final isolation of SNF/RW
- A process for elimination of the "historic RW" kept in the existing storage facilities and for remediation of the contaminated areas and sites.
The previous Federal Target Programme (FTP) for 1996-2005 considered only technical aspects on RWM and was not operated in close interaction with the environmental issues.
A new FTP for 2008-2015 was considered by the Russian partners as a primary means to solve the accumulated problems and a prerequisite to ensure the sustainable development of the Russian economy. The strategic objectives of the new FTP will be achieved in two steps:
- 2008-2010 – implementation of the state policy, plans and projects for nuclear and radiation hazardous facilities (NRHF), and development of state systems
- 2011-2015 – development of national infrastructure facilities for SNF and RW management, and decommissioning of the shut-down NRHFs.
Taking into account the framework described above, and within the priority sector of the EC assistance on “safe and sustainable management of nuclear waste, decommissioning and remediation of former nuclear sites”, four collaborative actions (CAs) were defined as below:
- CA1. Reforming of the Radioactive Waste Management System
- CA2. Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities
- CA3. Remediation of Areas of Front End Fuel Cycle and other Nuclear Facilities
- CA4. Improvement of the Network of RADON Enterprises
Each of the CAs represents a set of activities co-defined and co-supported, aimed at the realisation of major strategic objectives in a defined sub-sector of intervention.
Within each of the CAs, one or more IPs were identified. The IP includes clusters of projects to realise specific technical objectives in the associated CA. Totally, 8 IPs were preliminarily identified as below:
CA1. Reforming of the Radioactive Waste Management System
- Enhancement of the Radioactive Waste Management System
- Improvement of the Regulatory Framework
- Advanced Training of Waste Management Personnel
CA2. Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities
- Decommissioning of Research Reactors
- Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Plants and other Nuclear Facilities
CA3. Remediation of Areas of Front End Fuel Cycle and other Nuclear Facilities
- Remediation of Areas of Front End Fuel Cycle and other Nuclear Facilities
CA4. Improvement of the Network of RADON Enterprises
- Support to Moscow RADON
- Support to other RADON Enterprises
To prioritise the needs for assistance and to establish the specific projects, the following criteria were used:
- Strategic objectives and principal directions of the new Russian FTP for 2008-2015
- Strategy, priorities and sectorial approach of the EC to implement the new INSC for 207-2013
- Technical proposals, budgets and preparedness of Russian side for collaboration with the EC
- Lessons learned in the implementation of TACIS projects and added value for the EC further assistance.
According to the established criteria, the identified Integrated Projects were prioritised in an order as below:
- IP1. Enhancement of the Radioactive Waste Management System
- IP2. Advanced Training of Waste Management Personnel
- IP3. Decommissioning of the Research Reactors
- IP4. Remediation of Areas of Front End Fuel Cycle and Other Nuclear Facilities
- IP5. Improvement of the Regulatory Framework
- IP6. Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Plants and other Nuclear Facilities
- IP7. Support to Moscow RADON
- IP8. Support to other RADON Enterprises
Determination of Specific Projects for the Pending Action Programmes
Six Specific Projects (SP) for the Indicative Programme 2007-2009 were determined by the Consultant based on the identified IPs and considering the 29 Rosatom proposed projects. The six SPs were:
- SP1. Creation and Training of the Radioactive Waste Management Organisation and the Funding Mechanism
- SP2. Assessment and Management of Historical Waste
- SP3. Development of Centralised SNF/RW Storage and/or Disposal Capabilities
- SP4. Decommissioning of Obsolete Nuclear Facilities
- SP5. Assessment and Remediation of Former Nuclear Sites
- SP6. Support to Moscow RADON Centre
Each of the above SPs proposed by the Consultant covered a group of tasks or (sub-)projects, correlated with the others both technically and strategically, in order to realise specific technical objectives in a specific CA.
Considering the available annual budget of the EC and the project preparation of the Russian side, as an example, the following two potential projects were proposed to be tendered in AP 2007:
P1. Enhancement of the Radioactive Waste Management System
Lot 1. Creation and Training of the Radioactive Waste Management Organisation and the Funding Mechanism
Lot 2. Development of Centralised SNF/RW Storage and/or Disposal Capabilities
P2. Decommissioning of Obsolete Nuclear Facilities and Remediation of Contaminated Areas
Lot 1. Decommissioning of Obsolete Nuclear Facilities
Lot 2. Assessment and Remediation of Former Nuclear Sites
Lessons Learned and Recommendations
Based on the results of the Project, the following recommendations and lessons learned were collected:
(1) It seems that the change of the EC strategy could hardly been implemented immediately from the side of beneficiary countries, but needs some transition period.
(2) The change of the approach, such as to looking for a ‘sector support approach’ and to ‘streamlining the programme management’ needs some more time in practice.
(3) The large number (8) of IPs identified in the process would make difficult to determine in any Action Programme proper subordinate SPs that should cover a broad issues in a sub-sector for the implementation of the tendering process according to the sectorial approach.
(4) The above 2 Projects for AP 2007 are ideal projects proposed from the EC side. However, the Russian beneficiaries strictly adhere to the FTP and their planning. The pragmatic way is to group the projects proposed by Russian side in line with the CAs and the SPs as the common ground.
(5) Since the Russian projects are of the fire-fighting nature and fairly small that do not link to a more global context, the realistic way is to take the Russian projects as a basis and modifying the Project Data Sheet (PDS) for enlarging the scope. Then, some new components that are missing in the Russian proposals will be defined and added by the Consultant according to the CAs and SPs.
(6) In addition, the beneficiary’s co-financing commitment of projects will be prerequisites for planning the APs. It is expected that some more efforts and time from the EC side are needed in order to support the EC to review the revised PDSs and their co-financing planning in order to finalise the Projects to be included in AP 2007. Therefore; a follow-up project or an addendum were proposed for the continuation of the Consultant’s services.