Day 35 review:

The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission today returned to the topic of high level waste storage and disposal, with witnesses from Switzerland and Belgium appearing via video link.

Having recently returned from visits to both countries, the Commission is continuing to investigate the safety assessments and licensing associated with proposed sub-surface storage and disposal facilities.

The first witness was Dr Charles McCombie, co-founder of MCM Consulting, a company provides independent strategic and technical advice to national and international nuclear waste management programs.

Dr McCombie has provided consulting services to clients developing waste management programs in Switzerland, Japan, the UAE, the UK, Canada, Germany, Slovenia, South Africa, and the Netherlands. He is also the President of the Arius Association, which is dedicated to advancing multinational initiatives for the safe and secure management of spent fuel and radioactive wastes.

He has over 45 years’ experience in the nuclear field, 35 of which are in radioactive waste management. He has held positions as the scientific and technical director of Nagra, the Swiss Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste, and as a research scientist with the UK Atomic Energy Authority and with the Swiss Federal Institute for Reactor Research. He obtained his doctorate in Physics from the University of Bristol in 1970.

The second witness was Dr Maarten Van Geet, from ONDRAF/NIRAS, via video link from Belgium. ONDRAF/NIRAS is the Belgian National Agency for Radioactive Waste and enriched Fissile Material, a public body set up by law to carry out radioactive waste management in Belgium. It is charged with the collection, transport, processing, conditioning, storing and disposal of radioactive waste and with the decommissioning of nuclear facilities.

Dr Maarten Van Geet has been the Coordinator of Research, Development and Demonstration with ONDRAF/NIRAS since 2008. Previously, he was employed by the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK- CEN) which conducts research on problems of societal concern such as the safety of nuclear installations, radiation protection, safe treatment and disposal of radioactive waste and nuclear non-proliferation. There, he held positions as Project Leader, Clay Barrier Characterisation and as a Scientific Collaborator, Geological Disposal. Dr Van Geet obtained his doctorate in Geology from the University of Leuven in 2001.

Video and transcripts of each session will be uploaded into the Public Sessions archive.