arrangements have been made to monitor and continue to evaluate its safety over long time periods.

Although ultimate success will be known only in the far future, one can identify a number of requisites for the successful development of a repository program:

  • recognition of future generations’ right to a safe and affordable nuclear waste disposal route;

  • sufficient consensus on program goals (e.g., safety, cost-effectiveness, and societal acceptability);

  • formulation of a reference framework for final disposal, with alternatives, and with the possibility to reverse the course of actions at any point in time;

  • recognition that protecting public and worker health and safety at all times is the highest goal, taking precedence over minimizing the time or the costs for implementing disposal projects for radioactive wastes;

  • deliberate incorporation of technical and societal input (including input provided by stakeholders) into the stages of the reference framework to maximize safety, cost-effectiveness, and acceptability;

  • recognition of the need for regular examination and periodic revisions of the safety aspects of the repository system and of its underlying assumptions;

  • recognition of the possibility that the reference framework may evolve using knowledge gained along the way;

  • formulation within the reference framework of processes for implementing such potential changes;

  • recognition of change as a positive experience and an opportunity to optimize the system; and

  • acceptance of responsibility for and timely implementation of key decisions based on assuring safety at all times.

Adopting such a framework does not preclude the disposition of waste in a timely fashion. It does, however, place primary emphasis on the sequential and deliberate development of confidence in repository operations and ultimate performance, with emplacement consistent with such a staged approach.

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