Wasting away

1 February 2003

The 29th Annual Waste Management Symposium will take place in Tucson, Arizona on 23-27 February.

Claimed by the organisers to be "the premier international conference for the management of radioactive waste," the next Annual Waste Management Symposium will take place at the end of this month in Tucson, Arizona at the Tucson Convention Center.

The organisers are expecting over 2000 delegates from national and international companies, agencies, and institutions to attend Waste Management Symposium 2003 (WM'03). Around 600 papers and several workshops are scheduled over the four-day event. Topics selected for WM'03 cover the whole spectrum of the field - research, development, operational experience, mixed waste, hazardous waste, mill tailings, environmental remediation, waste management, and decommissioning.

Approximately 160 companies, including NEI, will be represented at the WM'03 exhibition. Exhibitors and sponsors represent government contractors, nuclear equipment manufacturers and vendors, commercial and government nuclear service companies, and disposal facilities operators. Areas of interest include protective clothing, remote/robotic handling, hazardous waste storage, transportation, diagnostic instrumentation, engineering design and construction, environmental laboratories, decontamination and decommissioning, and environmental remediation.

To coincide with WM'03, this issue of NEI focuses on waste management issues. Most of the following articles cover a range of topics within the field. There are features on two high-profile projects - Yucca Mountain and the Chernobyl clean-up - as well as on South Korea's pilot vitrification plant and the feasibility of a high-level waste repository for Switzerland. Although currently not a controversial topic, the issue of plutonium recycling (page 38) is also important to waste management strategies. And on page 42, the review of the recent Radioactive Materials Transport 2002 conference will also be of interest to the waste management community. Finally, on page 54, Alec J Baer, conference president at the IAEA's International Conference on Issues and Trends in Radioactive Waste Management (held in Vienna, Austria on 9-13 December 2002), discusses reasons why the approach of many experts in the field seems to have a negative effect on the progress of the industry. NEI will next focus on radwaste issues in its July issue, for which a special radwaste supplement is planned.

The 30th Annual Waste Management Symposium will be held on 29 February-4 March 2004.

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