The early ’80s UK programme for deep geological disposal of high-level radioactive waste was advanced and at the stage of characterising potential sites. When this project was put on hold in the mid ’80s, much expertise in this field was lost. In Japan R&D in the ’80s resulted in major generic safety assessments to demonstrate feasibility in the ’90s. This led to the establishment of NUMO (Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan) and the initiation of siting based on volunteerism. This novel approach required more flexible methodology and tools for site characterisation, repository design and safety assessment. NUMO and supporting R&D organisations in Japan have invested much time and effort preparing for volunteers but, unfortunately, no discussions with potential host communities have yet developed to the point where technical work is initiated. Presently, the UK is moving forward; with the NDA RWMD (Nuclear Decommissioning Agency Radioactive Waste Management Directorate) adopting a NUMO-style volunteering approach and a flexible design catalogue. Communities have already shown interest in volunteering. The situation is thus ideal for collaboration. The paper will expand on the opportunities for the UK and Japan to benefit from an active collaboration and discuss how this can be most efficiently implemented.

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