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European Joint Research Programme in the management and disposal of radioactive waste (COFUND-EJP COFUND (European Joint Programme)) - NFRP-2018-6
Deadline: 27 Sep 2018   CALL EXPIRED

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 Innovation
 Waste Management
 International Cooperation
 Horizon2020
 Research

Specific Challenge:

In Europe, the challenges in the field of radioactive waste management (RWM) include:

  • to increase knowledge for the safe start of operation of the world's first geological disposal facilities for high-level and long-lived radioactive waste / spent nuclear fuel in the advanced Member States within the next decade while also advancing all Member States national programmes as rapidly as possible in line with requirements under Directive 2011/70/Euratom and Commission report COM(2017) 236 final;
  • to improve, innovate and develop science and technology for the management and disposal of other radioactive waste categories; and to manage and transfer knowledge and competences between generations and across Member States' national programmes.
Scope:

In view of the shared goals and clear scope for synergies in this field, the aim is to establish and implement a European Joint Programme (EJP) in the safe management and disposal of radioactive waste, bringing together a broad range of involved parties with scientific and technical responsibilities and a national mandate for research in RWM, and that are willing to pool resources in order to improve critical mass, efficiency and effectiveness in the implementing of solutions across Europe. "Mandated actors", which are nationally mandated for financing and implementing RD&D on radioactive waste management and disposal, shall be eligible for participation, as well as radioactive waste producers. The proposed EJP should follow on from the development work carried out as part of the Euratom JOPRAD project with extensive consultation of the Member States national programmes and the research community. The EJP will be co-funded via the Euratom programme, with reimbursement based on the total declared eligible costs of the partners. The EJP should be goal-oriented, with clear and agreed high-level milestones in order to enable easy monitoring of progress. The scope of the EJP should include all the scientific and technical areas and all the horizontal activities related to knowledge management covered in the SRA (Strategic Research Agenda) elaborated by JOPRAD. The SRA should enable joint research activities on the domains of management (pre-disposal) and disposal of radioactive waste (RW) defined in Directive 2011/70/Euratom. The SRA should be translated into a deployment strategy, or roadmap, with clear objectives, deliverables and high-level milestones for technical solutions per waste streams and waste types and on knowledge management. The roadmap may extend beyond the duration of the EJP, or the duration of support from the Euratom programme. A clearly defined roadmap and project-oriented approach to its implementation during the period of the EJP is expected to lead to the breakdown of the scientific and technical activities into work packages with specific projects, to which all involved parties (EJP partners) with the appropriate competences can participate. Projects should cover areas of interest for the small and large, advanced and less-advanced waste management programmes and should allow later inclusion of new partners. The projects should be defined by technical scope and should not be reserved for just one type of participant. An appropriate internal governance should be established through a consortium agreement, and include a 'programme office', to which staff from the partners can be seconded on a full-time basis. The 'programme office' will have a strategic role in ensuring implementation of the EJP as well as managing day-to-day activities. An appropriate means of allocation of project tasks and funding amongst the partners will need to be established on a yearly basis and take into account emerging Science and Technology (S/T) as well as Euratom research priorities. This action aims at the establishment of the European Joint Programme and open calls for proposals for third party grants are not necessary. The EJP should cover all related activities: common research and strategic studies, sharing of facilities, knowledge management, mobility and training of researchers. The involvement of external stakeholder groups should be designed into the governance mechanism, e.g. to enable Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to advise and comment on activities. To maximise knowledge management and especially the impact on the smaller and less advanced national programmes, horizontal activities should be prioritised, including i) the development of State-of-the-art documentation (e.g. text books), guidance documents for planning and implementing research, ii) training courses organised, as appropriate, with European forums and activities on education and international organisations, and iii) hands-on-training via mobility measures. In addition, the EJP should be open to international R&D cooperation and the EJP managers would be expected to represent the EJP in areas of competence in international events and forums.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the Euratom Programme of between EUR 26 and a maximum of EUR 32.5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

In line with the objectives of Directive 2011/70/Euratom, this action should lead, within the next decade and across Europe, to the safe start of operation of the world's first geological disposal facilities for high-level and long-lived radioactive waste / spent nuclear fuel as well as improvement, innovation and development of science and technology for the management and disposal of other radioactive waste categories, in particular, radioactive waste streams for which industrially mature processes currently do not exist. Implementation of the action should result in greater cross-fertilisation and interaction between national programmes in key areas of general interest, improved knowledge management and transfer between actors. More particularly, EJP is a unique opportunity for less advanced programmes to benefit from integration process in the area of radioactive waste management.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

International cooperation

COM (2017) 236 final: Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on progress of implementation of Council Directive 2011/70/Euratom and an inventory of radioactive waste and spent fuel present in the Community’s territory and the future prospects

'Mandated actors' in the field include: (i) Waste Management Organisations (WMOs) whose mission covers the management and disposal of radioactive waste, (ii) Technical Support Organisations (TSOs) carrying out activities aimed at providing the technical and scientific basis for notably supporting the decisions made by a national regulatory body and (iii) nationally funded Research Entities (REs) which are involved in the R&D of radioactive waste management, under the responsibility of Member States.



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