The Radioactive Waste Management Directorate (RWMD) of the United Kingdom’s (UK) Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has been given the responsibility for delivery of a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) for the UK’s higher activity wastes in accordance with government policy. As part of this process, the RWMD has developed a project lifecycle, which addresses the overall lifecycle of the GDF in terms of five phases, from Preparatory Studies through to Operation and finally Closure, and is developing a staged approach to engineering design. The Engineering Design Process is broken down into seven stages, encompassing option development, requirements definition and preliminary and detailed design through to “design development during closure”. Each stage finishes with a formally defined milestone (a “gate”) comprising a technical review and a specific set of engineering deliverables. This paper describes the background to the UK GDF development programme, the organisational issues associated with the RWMD’s evolving role, the relationship between the top-level UK Government’s Managing Radioactive Waste Safely programme [1] and the RWMD engineering lifecycle, the formal reviews, the milestones and the overall contribution this makes to RWMD organisational development and UK regulatory approval. It also describes some of the lessons learnt.

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