Radioactive waste is not only produced in those states that use nuclear for electricity generation, but also by many other applications, be it radiotherapies or industrial tests. Its safe management is therefore a challenge for all Member States, irrespective of their stance on nuclear.
While low and medium level radioactive waste is increasingly being taken care of, there is not yet a single final repository for high-level radioactive waste and spent fuel. It is likely that the first repositories of this kind will be opened between 2020 and 2025 in several EU Member States.
Nuclear waste: Commission welcomes adoption of radioactive waste directive
On 19 July 2011 the Council adopted the "Radioactive waste and spent fuel management Directive", proposed by the Commission on 3 November 2010. The Directive asks Member States to present national programmes, indicating when, where and how they will construct and manage final repositories guaranteeing the highest safety standards. The safety standards become legally binding and enforceable in the European Union. Member States have to submit the first report on the implementation of their national programmes in 2015.