Nuclear waste site emplacement (ACTEON) (ACTEON)

Published on: 30/04/2010

ACTEON is a Web application created to answer queries concerning the emplacement of the Temporary Storage Center (ATC) and the radioactive waste management.

The application has been implemented by the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce with the aim to facilitate the communication between the citizens and the Technical Advisory Committee, an organism that solves requests about the emplacement of the Centralized Temporary Storage.

Several neighbouring countries rely on similar institutions, which have now gathered a considerable experience on technologies for radioactive waste management; significant examples are offered by La Hague and Marcoule  (France), Sellafield (United Kingdom), Paks (Hungary), Fort St. Vrain (USA) or Habog (Netherlands), having characteristics very similar to the Spanish project.

Policy Context

In Spain, radioactive waste is generated by the production of electricity as well as by the activity of various branches of industry, medicine or research; the activity of radioactive isotopes depends on the way the waste is treated and processed. Low and medium activities (due to the fact that contaminated components have managed to reduce half of their radioactivity in less than 30 years) have solved the problem of storage (as it happened in Cabril, a nuclear waste site near Córdoba). The problem arises though with the management of high pollution levels.

Currently, the Cabril site is half full and keeping this pace - one truck per day, 240 days per year - in 2030 there will be no more space available.The nuclear plants, as well as hospitals, universities and laboratories (approximately 600 radioactive installations on Spanish territory), generate about 3 000 barrels a year (more than 1 000 cubic meters) of contaminated radioactive material.

The strategy adopted to solve the problem of storage of materials of high activity is reflected in the Sixth General Radioactive Waste Plan.  This plan includes the establishment of a Temporary Storage Center to host the highly radioactive waste generated in Spain and spent fuel at nuclear power plants and other materials from their dismantling.

Description of target users and groups

As anticipated, the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce has implemented this application to facilitate the communication between the citizens and the Technical Advisory Committee. Any citizen has therefore access to the website to gather information about the characteristics of the project or to receive answers to relevant questions by filling in a form.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

In 2006 the Ministry of Industry launched this initiative giving municipalities the possibility to receive information about the requirements to be selected as candidates for the Centralised Temporary Storage (ATC) location.
On 30 December 2009 the Ministry of Industry launched a call for the selection of the municipalities that would be hosting the emplacement of the Centralized Temporary Storage (ATC); the municipalities concerned had then one month time from the day following the publication of the call in the Spanish Official Bulletin (BOE), to submit their candidatures.

The Inter-ministerial Commission for selecting the upcoming emplacement of the Centralised Temporary Storage (ATC) of nuclear waste met to discuss the 14 applications submitted and selected eight candidates and five municipalities temporarily excluded; a municipality has also withdrawn its candidature. The final list of candidates will be published on the website In a second phase, there will be an analysis of the municipality among the candidates and then a communication to those areas considered unfit to host the ATC and its technology center.

Finally, the Commission will consider the proposed land and a report in a proposal that reflects the advantages of different locations; this document will be forwarded to the Government that by agreement of the Council of Ministers shall designate the site selected for the ATC and its technology center. The government plans to announce its final decision in late spring or early summer.

Technology solution

The application has been developed with Visual Studio. NET 2005 (C # and VisualBasic.Net), Microsoft Framework 2.0, SQL Server 2005 (database manager), HTML and JavaScript. It is also provided with a  set of Web Services (http connection), able to send a request reflected as telematic registry entry of the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade.

The application is based on an electronic signature technology powering the Web, which facilitates user communication with the agency responsible for resolving their queries (Technical Advisory Committee), and it accomplishes reliably and security using the standard signature: XAdES - XML Advanced Electronic Signatures. The application uses a workflow engine to manage the process states using BPMN (Business Process Management Notation), and XPDL (XML Program Definition Language).

Technology choice: Proprietary technology

Main results, benefits and impacts

This system allows the Technical Advisory Committee to receive and resolve inquiries coming from the citizens in a more efficient way, reducing the time necessary to provide a reply and increasing the level of transparency and the quality of the communication.

The citizens can rely on a fast and secure information tool on this new project; in addition, users with administrative permissions have the possibility to retrieve data from earlier requests and to perform data searches. A digital signature technology will be adopted for data sent in electronic form used to authenticate the identity of the sender and to confirm the authenticity of the information contained in the message.

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Track record of sharing

The release of this application had a big social impact, as it has been proven by its presence on numerous mass media reporting opinions from citizens, municipality administrations and environmental organizations.This controversial subject has led to questions and therefore to the request of more information; there have been in fact more than one hundred newspaper articles and several TV programs concerning the location of the nuclear waste site; small villages in Spain have presented their queries and became known due to their candidatures for the new emplacement.

Lessons learnt

Citizens are concerned about the emplacement of the nuclear waste site because of the expenses for the village selected in this process; on the other hand, other persons are mainly concerned about the  environmental impact consequences of this emplacement. All projects directly affecting the citizens lives have in general terms very good responses.

Scope: Cross-border, Local (city or municipality), National