To date the EARWG has focused on the two generic 'additional information and improvement requirements' (AIIRs) issued with the new multimedia RSA93 Authorisation; waste minimisation and waste assay.
Since the formation of the EARWG in January 2003 the majority of the work undertaken by the Group has focused on the generic waste minimisation requirement. The Group considered that the 'national and international review of waste minimisation techniques' aspect of this AIIR is a common task that could be undertaken jointly by members of the group.

The EARWG has performed a systematic trawl for, and review of national and international waste minimisation information. Waste minimisation in this context is defined as any process that reduces the activity and/or volume of waste at any stage in the waste management process. The information gained as a result of the review is recorded in this web-based information database.

A list of the public information sources reviewed for the EARWG are available here.

The database has a far wider application than just responding to the radioactive waste minimisation AIIR.  The database provides a single point of information for a range of waste minimisation techniques that could be considered when conducting Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO) and Best Practicable Means (BPM) studies.  BPEO is defined by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) (RCEP, 1988) as:

"the outcome of a systematic and consultative decision-making procedure which emphasises the protection and conservation of the environment across land, air and water.  The BPEO procedure establishes, for a given set of objectives, the option that provides the most benefit or least damage to the environment as a whole, at acceptable cost, in the long term as well as in the short term."

A definition for BPM is:

"In determining whether particular means are the "best practicable" for the
purposes of this Authorisation, the Operator shall not be required to incur
expenditure whether in money, time or trouble which is, or is likely to be,
grossly disproportionate to the benefits to be derived from, or likely to be derived
from, or the efficacy of, or likely efficacy of, employing them, the benefits or
results produced being, or likely to be, insignificant in relation to the

Please be aware that the database is still undergoing development and therefore maybe slow to use.

Waste Assay Attributes Tool

The EARWG  has conducted a review of the means by which the UK nuclear industry assesses the activity of radionuclides in waste disposals.  The review involved gathering information from each EARWG member on the techniques they use to assay these radionuclides in radioactive waste. The Waste Assay Attributes Tool database contains the collation of the data on waste assay techniques used at EARWG member sites.  The database does not assess the merits or suitability of an assay technique.  This tool is not currently available to the public.
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