This paper reviews the experience gained when setting-to-work a state-of-the-art waste characterisation facility that will be a fundamental element in the JRC’s strategy to characterise radioactive wastes originating from four decades of nuclear research activities conducted at the Ispra Site. In a previous paper at ICEM ’01, the authors described the specifications for the principal components of a Waste Characterisation System (WCS) and the ensuing contractor selection process via a public tendering procedure. The present paper has a broader perspective by addressing the whole waste characterisation facility of which the WCS forms a part. In the opening section, the main constituents of the facility are reviewed, and their optimised integration to respect emerging Italian standards, conventional safety principles, ALARA and operational efficiency, are discussed. The second part of the paper examines the analyses required for the licensing of the waste characterisation facility. Finally, the paper concludes with a summary of the lessons learned from the setting-to-work phase of the facility. Since the facility combines a state-of-the-art NDA solution with comprehensive process automation in an industrial environment, the experience is expected to be of significant interest to the radioactive waste management community.

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