WASAN, a methodology for waste minimization

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The international nuclear community continues to face the challenge of safely managing both the legacy waste and the new wastes that emerge from ongoing energy production. The UK is in the early stages of proposing a new convention for its nuclear industry, that is: waste minimization through closely managing the radioactive source which creates the waste. The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) is part of the UK’s Health and Safety Executive and has responsibility for regulating part of the nuclear industry. Working closely with the NII over 2 years, our researchers have developed a new technique (called Waste and Source material Analysis (WASAN)) for critically analysing a complex, waste-producing system to safely minimise avoidable waste and thus increase the safety of the public and the environment. WASAN critically considers the production of avoidable nuclear waste within a facility, and the systemic impact of up and downstream facilities on the minimisation of nuclear waste in that facility. Based on the principles of Waste Management Hierarchy, HAZOP and ALARP, the technique structures managers' thinking on the impact of mal-operations in interlinking facilities in order to identify preventative actions to increase the safety and reduce the impact of those mal-operations' on other facilities. This method captures the latest thinking from nuclear regulators on decision making methodology for supporting safe waste minimisation and is gradually being introduced to UK Law through HSE Guidance on what constitutes good practice. WASAN is believed to have widespread potential application to the safe minimisation of many other forms of waste, including household and general waste.
Duncan Shaw