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Waste Management 2019 Preview

The annual conference on nuclear waste management starts in less than 2 weeks and I thought it might be useful to do a quick preview on what is going on and what interesting technologies will be presented.

The conference will be in Phoenix, Arizona which is a very pleasant city and, generally, warm at this time of year. We always attend to catch up with colleagues and meet new interesting people. It is also a great event to collect information for the Idea Catalog - either new technologies we don't have or to update existing entries. The conference is an excellent source for real-world examples of technologies and you can meet and discuss in detail with the authors.

The conference lasts four days and there are sessions every day covering all the major themes. Each session generally has 4 or 5 presentations so there is a lot of content and fascinating information exchanged.

The exhibition hall always has a good selection of vendors and their products and services. I've scattered a few examples throughout this blog (with links to their entries in the Idea Catalog - you'll need to register) but there are plenty others exhibiting and there is something for everyone.

As in previous years, I will be doing a daily blog and regular tweets while at the conference. These will be here in LinkedIn page and our Twitter feed (@Cogentus1).


The conference is organised around 9 themes, called "tracks". These represent a number of different topics covering the management of nuclear waste. Sessions and the related presentations are grouped under these broad headings. So, if you are interested in a particular theme, you can then attend presentations relevant to that theme. In practice, if you are interested in more than one theme, it can be hard to get to everything you might want because of clashes.

  1. Cross Cutting. Areas that do not fit within one of the single themes.

  2. HLW. Long-lived alpha/TRU waste, SNF/UNF and HLW operations.

  3. LLW. LLW, VLLW, ILW and mixed waste. 

  4. NPP. Nuclear Power Plant waste management and onsite SNF storage.

  5. Packaging and Transportation.

  6. D&D. Decontamination and Decommissioning

  7. Environmental Remediation.

  8. Communication, education and training.

  9. Special topics. Typically safeguards and security but can also include risk management and project management along with others that don't fit snugly elsewhere.

As well as the technical presentations, there are poster sessions and the exhibition hall. Most people attending also use the conference to arrange meetings since there is a lot of like-minded people in the same place at the same time.


Canada is the feature country. There are five panel sessions and 100 presentations scheduled throughout the week to provide an extensive update on Canadian radioactive waste management activities. 

Idaho is the feature site. There are five sessions that will showcase recent progress and planned efforts in radioactive waste management, waste disposition, environmental remediation, D&D, robotics, and water/land stewardship.

Robotics and remote systems is one of several other feature areas. This one also has 5 sessions. Presentations will discuss technology maturation, testing and verification, best practices, lessons learned, knowledge management, trends in robotics and remote systems, applications and the ability to withstand exposure to radioactive contamination or ionizing radiation.

Shout Out - Don't Miss

Please make sure you attend session 130 on Thursday at 1pm! Laurie Judd will be presenting a paper on ISD (In Situ Decommissioning/In Situ Disposal). It is the summary of a meeting that we ran and presents the progress made post meeting by the Working Groups. It was held to bring together responsible parties from the USA, Canada, U.K. and Japan to share information about ‘best practices’ and challenges with ISD. IAEA and US NRC also participated.