teed. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management (IAEA, 1997a) explicitly supports international cooperation and acknowledges that shared facilities can be beneficial. As of January 2001, 42 countries had signed and 23 had ratified, accepted, or approved this legally binding convention.
Sidebar 9.1: International Consensus on the Objective and Principles of Radioactive Waste Management
The objective of radioactive waste management is to deal with radioactive waste in a manner that protects human health and the environment now and in the future without imposing undue burdens on future generations. To meet this objective, the following internationally agreed principles are detailed in the IAEA Safety Fundamentals (IAEA, 1995b), together with supporting text:
Principle 1: Protection of human health
Radioactive waste shall be managed in such a way as to secure an acceptable level of protection for human health.
Principle 2: Protection of the environment
Radioactive waste shall be managed in such a way as to provide an acceptable level of protection of the environment.
Principle 3: Protection beyond national borders
Radioactive waste shall be managed in such a way as to assure that possible effects on human health and the environment beyond national borders will be taken into account.
Principle 4: Protection of future generations
Radioactive waste shall be managed in such a way that predicted impacts on the health of future generations will not be greater than relevant levels of impact that are acceptable today.
Principle 5: Burdens on future generations
Radioactive waste shall be managed in such a way that will not impose undue burdens on future generations.
Principle 6: National framework
Radioactive waste shall be managed within an appropriate national legal framework including clear allocation of responsibilities and provision for independent regulatory functions.
Principle 7: Control of radioactive waste generation
Generation of radioactive waste shall be kept to the minimum practicable.
Principle 8: Radioactive waste generation and management interdependencies
Interdependencies among all steps in radioactive waste generation and management shall be appropriately taken into account.
Principle 9: Safety of facilities
The safety of facilities for radioactive waste management shall be appropriately assured during their lifetime.