International Cooperation

Enresa works in cooperation with international organisations responsible for radioactive waste and with foreign counterparts from various countries, in search of the best solutions for the management of radioactive waste.

Enresa has progressed from being mainly a receiver of technical assistance to being a valued contributor to international forums, working in partnership with other waste managers and multinational organisations so that other countries can manage the processing and storage of radioactive waste under the same conditions of safety as Spain and the European Union.

Enresa’s Objectives and International Role

Enresa is involved in international activities through its collaboration in programmes run by the European Union (EU), the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and the International Atomic Energy Agency of the United Nations (IAEA), working together with other national agencies and bodies, and cooperating with and providing assistance to third countries.

Enresa’s international involvement has three main goals:

  • meeting the informational and interactional needs of foreign counterparts and international organisations to validate their activities, proposals and decisions on the basis of sound international benchmarks;
  • participating in management in order to contribute to the new technical developments of specialist international organisations;
  • providing support to the Spanish Government and other institutions, within the committees and working groups of international organisations geared towards decision-making on technological matters.

Enresa’s Involvement in International Organisations

The Council of the European Union and the European Commission develop activities related to national programmes for the management of radioactive waste and the dismantling of nuclear facilities.

The outcomes of these programmes are important because of their implications for national policies. They drive regulatory development for the harmonisation of policies and practices between the Member States.

The Euratom Framework Programme for Research

The other area of interaction between Enresa and the European Commission is the Euratom Framework Programme for Research. Involvement in the first Euratom Action Plans and Framework Programmes gave Enresa access to fundamental information, which also aided its development as an organisation. The Framework Programme maintains a very high strategic value, since the Commission’s initiatives continue to fuel the development of the national programme. An important part of Enresa’s R&D and some of their technological assets have been developed in response to these European Community plans.

Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)

The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) is an agency within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Its aim is to facilitate the coordination of Member States’ nuclear programmes, particularly in the areas of safety, health, and nuclear regulation. Enresa has participated in the NEA since its inception, both for its own needs and to provide support to Spanish authorities, such as the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism. Enresa is mainly involved in the working groups and activities of the Radioactive Waste Management Committee.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Participation in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is principally for the purposes of contributing to the development of the various technical documents issued by this entity. It also involves sharing knowledge and assisting in the management of its work programmes, which today are recognised as international benchmarks. As a complementary activity, Enresa works with the IAEA on technical cooperation activities to help emerging countries in the development and improvement of their management programmes. Enresa is involved in the IAEA’s permanent groups, helping to define the agency’s programmes and participating in forums with the leading experts from national programmes.

The IAEA also works on technical cooperation through the promotion of international cooperation with emerging countries by means of missions, training placements with experts, and the funding of some investments.

Multilateral and Bilateral Cooperation between Management Organisations

Knowledge exchange and technical cooperation between radioactive waste management companies is another form of collaboration in which Enresa has been actively involved since its creation.

In the majority of cases, radioactive waste management has been implemented in western countries exclusively under public service regimes. Companies and agencies operate without competition in their respective countries; this fact, coupled with the awareness that waste solutions must be implemented at national level, facilitates the general conception that cooperation and technical assistance to third parties is a desirable collaborative task with the aim of solving common problems. It also means that these solutions have a very high chance of being shared.

Bilateral cooperation is another important area for Enresa, and this is usually undertaken by means of partnership agreements. Currently, Enresa holds agreements with 14 organisations from twelve countries and the Joint Research Centre of the Union European (JRC-ITU).

Technical Assistance Projects

The experience gained from the Spanish programme has resulted in a range of assets and capabilities that can be passed on to other countries. Enresa is an international benchmark in the area of low and intermediate level waste management. Developments at the El Cabril Disposal Facility are followed attentively around the world, as is the dismantling of nuclear facilities (the Vandellòs I and José Cabrera plants) and, most recently, the implementation of the CTS in Villar de Cañas.

Enresa works in programmes funded by the European Commission for the strengthening of nuclear safety, and there is a specific area for the improvement of waste management that prioritises the creation and consolidation of institutional infrastructures similar to those already in existence in the Member States of the European Union.

© 2020 Empresa Nacional de Residuos Radiactivos, S.A., S.M.E. (Enresa).

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