EPRI joins NEA in joint advanced reactor waste project

October 31, 2023, 9:31AMRadwaste Solutions
NEA director general William Magwood (left) and EPRI senior vice president Neil Wilmshurst finalize EPRI support for the joint WISARD project. (Photo: NEA)

The Nuclear Energy Agency has announced a new collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute on an upcoming project that will focus on waste management strategies for small modular reactors and advanced nuclear energy systems.

The Waste Integration for Small and Advanced Reactor Designs (WISARD) project will bring together experts from all areas of the nuclear power life cycle to consider how these systems may require new and different waste management solutions.

Initial financial backing of WISARD is being provided by EPRI, whose support for the project’s development was finalized by NEA director general William Magwood and EPRI senior vice president Neil Wilmshurst following an inaugural government-industry conference. The project launch was announced on October 26.

Sustainable strategies: According to the NEA, the WISARD project seeks to capitalize on the current opportunity to integrate sustainable waste management strategies from the very beginning of SMR and advanced reactor development.

By assessing the back-end impacts of front-end and reactor design decisions, the that the project will enable early identification of future issues to provide system vendors, facility operators, and government bodies the opportunity to address problems in an efficient and sustainable manner, the NEA said.

The work: Initially, WISARD will create an international platform focusing on the specific characteristics of spent fuel and radioactive waste from SMRs and advanced reactors.

Building on this knowledge, subsequent work will assess the suitability of current waste management solutions for the next generations of high-level radioactive waste. The project will focus on four key HLW topics: long-term disposal; transportation; treatment, recycling, and reprocessing; and intermediate storage.

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