Several publications from different IAEA series are intended for specific issues of radioactive waste management. In addition to the general principles, they also contain a variety of more detailed technical, technological, organisational and legal recommendations. Various international acts, such as conventions and European directives, are largely in line with the IAEA recommendations, with understandable differences in the selection of topics and wording.

The most important basic principles of radioactive waste management can be summed up in several items.

  • Radioactive waste should be managed of so as to ensure the protection of human health and the environment (including beyond national borders). In doing so, recommendations/regulations on permissible limits of radiation exposure should be followed, and radiation should be further reduced as much as reasonably possible. Also, measures should be planned to mitigate the consequences of possible unforeseen accidents.
  • Radioactive waste should be managed of in such a way that the foreseeable radiological impact on future generations does not exceed what is considered acceptable today, and in particular so that future generations are not unduly burdened by its further management.
  • The production of radioactive waste should be reduced to a minimum that is practically achievable, and the interdependencies between the production and management of waste should be taken into account.
  • An appropriate national legal framework needs to be established for the management of radioactive waste, including a clear division of responsibilities among the stakeholders and an independent role of the regulatory body.

The principle issue of the division of responsibilities is particularly important for the specific case of the joint Slovenian-Croatian waste.


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