An international consortium led by Nukem Technologies has secured a €1.75M contract to support the safe disposal of low and intermediate level waste (LILW) in Iraq.
Under a new three-year contract a consortium of Nukem, DBE Technology and Javys of Slovakia, supported by MCM, Healvita Group and MUE Group, will be responsible for delivering the documents necessary for siting, licensing, and construction of a near-surface engineered disposal facility.
The repository is intended for accepting all waste from past activities in Iraq, as well as future waste to be produced in the country.
Iraq had a significant nuclear programme in the past, but all of its nuclear facilities and sites were destroyed in 1991. Following several international initiatives, in 2006 the International Atomic Energy Agency launched the Iraq Decommissioning Project (IDP) with the aim of helping the country plan for decommissioning of the damaged nuclear facilities and management of the resulting radioactive waste; remediation of contaminated sites; and drafting of the relevant legal and regulatory framework. In 2009 the European Union launched a coordinated effort to contribute to this programme.
The latest contract, which is funded by the European Commission, will involve close liaison with the Iraqi government, the Ministry of Science and Technology (the operator of Iraq's nuclear facilities) and the Ministry of Environment via the Radiation Protection Center (the Iraqi regulatory body).
The EC described the project as "of paramount importance in assisting Iraq in planning for and decommissioning of the existing nuclear facilities, radioactive waste management, and remediation of contaminated sites."