The safe and environmentally sound
management of radioactive wastes is the subject of Chapter
22 of Agenda 21. The chapter notes that the radiological and safety
risk from radioactive waste varies, from very low for short-lived,
low-level waste, to very large for high-level waste. Annually, about
200,000 m3 of low-level and intermediate-level waste and 10,000
high-level waste (as well as spent nuclear fuel destined for final
disposal) are generated worldwide from nuclear power production, and
these volumes are increasing.
The objective of Chapter 22 is to ensure that radioactive waste is safely
managed, transported, stored and disposed of, with a view to protecting human
health and the environment, within the wider framework of an interactive and
integrated approach to radioactive waste management and safety.
The Commission on Sustainable Development considered the safety of
radioactive wastes during its seventh session in 1999, in relation to
transboundary movement of this waste, and again during its ninth session in
2001, in relation to nuclear energy technologies. As a result of its
deliberations on this issue, the World Summit on Sustainable Development
stressed the importance of effective liability measures for international
maritime transportation and other transboundary movement of radioactive
material, radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel, and encouraged Governments
to examine and improve measures and internationally agreed regulations
regarding the safe handling, transport and disposal of this waste.