The exponential growth in the knowledge base for radioactive waste management is a cause for concern in many national programmes. In Japan, this problem is exacerbated by a volunteering approach to siting of a deep geological repository, which requires particular flexibility in the tailoring of site characterisation plans, repository concepts and associated performance assessments. Recognition of this situation led, in 2005, to initiation by Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) of an ambitious project to develop an advanced Knowledge Management System (KMS) aimed to facilitate its role as the supplier of background R&D support to both regulators and implementers of geological disposal. This overview outlines the boundary conditions and milestones for the Japanese radioactive waste management programmes, the roles of key organisations and the particular responsibilities of JAEA that led to definition of the goals of the KMS.

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