Safe and Sustainable Back-End of the Fuel Cycle (SSFC 2020)

Conference to be held in conjunction with the Czech Presidency of the Visegrad Four Group

Earlier this year, the Government of the Czech Republic unveiled an innovative strategy named the Czech Republic – the Country for the Future, which aims to provide enhanced support for applied experimental research and development and innovation. SÚRAO, as the Czech nuclear waste management organisation, is eager to contribute towards the success of this strategy by focusing on research in all the stages involved in the development of the Czech deep geological repository, the most important aspect of which consists of research concerning the safety of the facility, fully re-specting, particularly, the long half-lives of heavy metal radionuclides. Other considerations include the economic efficiency of the project and the comparison of this high-level radioactive waste disposal method with alternative methods such as the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel or its long-term storage for potential further use, for example as fuel for generation IV nuclear reactors, etc.

We fully believe that this process should be conducted in an open and transparent way, involving all the institutions and the public concerned. The aim of this conference, which includes an optional visit to SÚRAO’s Bukov Underground Research Facility (URF), is to provide for the exchange of knowledge and experience on technological and other aspects related to the successful development of deep repositories for high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. We believe that the experience of foreign organisations is able to make a significant contribution to the further optimisation and adaptation of the various solutions available to the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle. This international conference will be held under the auspices of the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Economic Committee of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament represented by the Chairman of the Energy Subcommittee (to be confirmed).


Hotel Pyramida, Bělohorská 24, Prague 6

(Monday 18 May 2020 – Tuesday 19 May 2020)

Note: an optional visit to the Bukov Underground Re-search Facility will be arranged for those interested on Wednesday 20 May 2020 (due to limited capacity, it is advisable that you inform us of your interest as soon as possible).

The nearest accommodation you can book here

The organizer will not cover the accommodation costs.

Day 1

(Monday 18 May 2020)

Section A. National Radioactive Waste Management Program in the Czech Republic (10.10–12.00)

Following a short speech by the Managing Director of SÚRAO, Mr. Jan Prachař, welcoming guests and participants, the Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr. Karel Havlíček, or his Deputy for Energy, Mr. René Neděla (tbc), will address the following topics:

  • Further steps in the decision-making process in the Czech Republic regarding the construction of new nuclear sources;
  • Reducing the toxicity of high-level radioactive waste and its disposal;
  • The principles of a special act of Parliament on the involvement of citizens and municipalities in the disposal process as required by the Atomic Act.

The challenges and opportunities involved in the process, including legislative prerequisites, will be further discussed by: The Chairman of the Energy Subcommittee of the Economic Committee of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament, Mr. Pavel Pustějovský and representatives of the Regulatory Authority, the mayors of the municipalities involved in the DGR siting process and the Expert Panel for Site Selection.

A representative from the nuclear division of CEZ (the Czech Power Company) will talk about the decision-making process surrounding the long-term storage or reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel and its subsequent direct disposal.

Section B. Knowledge sharing in the V4+4 group; research and experimental development programmes in Central and Eastern European countries (13.00–15.20

Lukáš Vondrovic, Head of the Deep Geological Repository Development Section, SÚRAO, Czech Republic;

Bálint Nös, Director of Strategy and Technology, PURAM, Hungary;

Cornelia Paraschiv, General Secretary, Agentia Nucleara, Romania;

JAVYS representative, Slovakia (tbc);

Leon Kegel, Director of Development and Strategy, ARAO, Slovenia;

Poland representative (tbc).

Coffee break
Section C. Open and transparent communication with the public and their involvement in the process of determining a suitable site (15.40–18.00)

Mika Pohjonen (tbc), Posiva, Finland;

NAGRA representative (tbc), Switzerland;

Dagmar Dehmer, Head of Communications BGE, Germany;

Marie-Delphine Salsac, ANDRA, France, „National debate concerning RWM in 2019“;

Robert Winsley, Senior Research Manager, RWM, UK;

Tomáš Kovalovský, Deputy Director, SÚRAO, Czech Republic.

18.30 meeting in the hotel reception area prior to a short walk to the venue of the gala evening event, the historical Strahov Monastery – a tour of the famous library, a concert in the refectory and dinner in the Strahov Monastery restaurant

Day 2

(Tuesday 19 May 2020)

Section D. European projects (9.00 – 10.40)

Pete Zuidema, scientific guarantor, EURAD Programme Management Office (PMO);

Ingo Blechschmidt (tbc), General Secretary IGD-TP, “Current opportunities and challenges in RWM“;

Vladimír Slugeň, former member of SNETP bureau, “Effective knowledge management in decommissioning“;

Dalibor Matějů, “Knowledge sharing and preparation of Pre-Disposal Guidances within EURAD – WP 12“;

Hamid Ait Abderrahim, Director for the preparation and implementation of the European Union Project MYRRHA (Multi-purpose hYbrid Research Reactor for High-tech Applications), SCK-CEN, Mol, Belgium;

Vladimír Wagner, Nuclear Physics Institute CAS, Czech Republic.

Coffee break with the poster session and a press conference in adjacent rooms
Section E. Alternative approaches to the management of spent nuclear fuel (11.20–13.00 and 14.00–15.00)

Speakers from the U.S., China, Russia (Igin Vsevolod Igorjevič), UK, Japan, Canada, South Korea and France (Vanessa Vo Van – vicepresident Orano).

Lunch (13.00–14.00); Coffee break and transfer of groups to the workshop sessions (15.00–15.15)
Section F. Workshops (15.15–16.45) 
  1. Direct disposal;
  2. Long-term storage, reprocessing and subsequent disposal;
  3. Communication with the public, international projects and cooperation.
16.45 Concluding remarks on Day 2 of the conference – Mr. Jan Prachař, Managing Director of SÚRAO

Day 3

(Wednesday 20 May 2020)

Optional visit for those who pre-register to the Bukov Underground Research Facility with an expert commentary and the op-portunity to discuss specific proposals for international bilateral and multilateral cooperation on the conducting of experiments, research into the behaviour of radionuclides, waste disposal packages/containers, protective materials, bentonite, etc.


Jan Prachař

SÚRAO, Czech Republic

Bálint Nős

PURAM, Hungary

Mika Pohjonen

Posiva Solutions Oy, Finland

Leon Kegel

ARAO, Slovenia

Lukáš Vondrovic

SÚRAO, Czech Republic

Dagmar Dehmer

BGE, Germany

Hamid Ait Abderrahim

MYRRHA Project, Belgium

Ladislav Éhn

JAVYS, Slovakia

Marie-Delphine Salsac

ANDRA, France

Ramona Popescu

(ANDR), Romania

Phillip Senn

NAGRA, Switzerland

URF Bukov

The Bukov Uderground Research Facility is located at a depth of 550 metres below the earth’s surface, serves as a test site for the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority with respect to the assessment of the behaviour of the rock environment and building materials at a depth corresponding to that anticipated for the future deep geological repository for spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste.

For more information please visit

If you are interested in excursion to URF Bukov, please click here

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