In 2012, the Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC) noted the needs of developing operational best practices and guidelines for geological repositories. Under the RWMC’s mandate, the Integration Group for the Safety Case (IGSC) created an Expert Group on Operational Safety in 2013. The aim of the expert group is to identify, evaluate and help define international best practice in operating geological repositories for radioactive waste safely. One of its tasks, identified by the expert group in 2013-2015, is to evaluate the co-activity hazards.
Co-activity can be defined as the coexistence of simultaneous conventional and nuclear activities in a DGR. These include the handling and emplacement of waste packages while mining/construction activities are ongoing within the facility. The expert group noted that work conducted in the past tends to focus on post-closure safety, limited work has been undertaken internationally to develop a common view on the operational safety and even less on evaluating the hazards associated with co-activities within a geological repository. To further explore the potential hazards associated with co-activity in the operational processes, the EGOS conducted a questionnaire in 2014 to elicit background information for future work planning in this area.