Co-Chairs: Anthony Hernandez and Kaitlin Vu Moderator: Bhavika Kapoor
Position papers will be due on February 2, 2019. The position paper format, and all other important conference documents, can be found on our conference website, http://lhhsconference.weebly.com/. Email all position papers to our committee email: lhhsIAEA@gmail.com. Feel free to contact us via email if you have any questions or concerns!
Hello, delegates, my name is Anthony Hernandez, and I am one of your co-chairs. This year at Laguna Hills High School I am completing my senior year. This year has marked my second year of being a part of Model United Nations. Outside of working with the organization and being on secretariat, I am also on the varsity tennis team, and this year will mark my second year as well. I look forward to meeting and interacting with everyone in committee!
Hello! My name is Kaitlin Vu, and I am one of your co-chairs. I am in 11th grade at Laguna Hills High School, and this is my third year in MUN. Outside of MUN and being on secretariat, I love volunteering and am co-president of Red Cross club. I have also been a Girl Scout since kindergarten. I am looking forward to meeting you all in committee!
Hello, delegates, my name is Bhavika Kapoor, and I am your moderator. I am a sophomore at Laguna Hills High School, and this is my second year participating in MUN. I have been playing soccer for 8 years, and I enjoy playing with my peers on the high school team. I’m the president of a service club called Kits4caring that provides care kits with necessities to the homeless. I look forward to meeting you all in committee!
Topic : Radioactive Waste Management
Background: Radioactive waste is produced when miniscule amounts of fuel are used to generate immense amounts of electricity. The waste produced from this form of energy generation must be contained in a manner that does not disrupt ecological cycles and normalities. Fuel used from nuclear reactors, created through the process of burning and mining of Uranium, produces waste that can be characterized as Low Level Waste (LLW), Intermediate Level Waste (ILW), High Level Waste (HLW), and Very Low Level Waste (VLLW). High Level Waste is the most hazardous as it contributes to 95% of the total radioactivity of waste and is either used fuel itself or reprocessed used fuel. Several nations face the challenges that come with geologically managing radioactivity produced by non nuclear activities such as laboratory research, industrial activities, as well as nuclear medicine options being tested (all being short lived waste). It is necessary to isolate radioactive waste as it presents several dangers to humans if they were to come into contact with it. The disposal of LLW or ILW should be dealt with promptly and immediately, as it is necessary to package and deliver it to a land based disposal facility; several nations, such as Spain, France, Russia, the USA, and South Korea, have operating near surface waste disposal facilities. The majority of countries around the globe prefer to use the method of deep geological disposal for HLW and ILW that is considered to be long lived. The United States has an operating deep geological facility, called The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant that stores Plutonium-contaminated military products. An estimated 250,000 tonnes of used fuel are currently being stored worldwide, with two thirds of it being stored in storage ponds. An example of a storage pond is CLAB, located in Sweden, which is up to 12 metres below the surface, with 4 metre long neuron absorber racks, and water above the fuel itself. The management of this waste is necessary in terms of isolation, cooling, and shielding.
UN Involvement: The United Nations has been taking several steps to safely handle radioactive waste. In 2001, the International Atomic Energy Agency passed the “Measures to Strengthen International Co-operation in Nuclear, Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety” resolution, which encouraged transparency in the shipping of radioactive materials. Also in 2001, the GA passed the “Prohibition of the dumping of radioactive wastes” resolution. IAEA has also published “ Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources” and “Code of Conduct on Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources”; these guidelines provide recommendations and standards for states to follow when dealing with radioactive wastes. Additionally, IAEA has created over 20 safety standards regarding different aspects of radioactive waste management, such as disposal, classification, storage, and surveillance. Besides issuing standards and guidelines, IAEA assists member-states in following these standards and guidelines by running peer reviews on management processes and programs upon request and through cooperation projects. There are also NGOs that have been contributing to the safe management and disposal of radioactive waste, such as the Nuclear Transparency Watch. The Nuclear Transparency Watch has partnered with the UN to host several conferences to promote the discussion of proper handling and disposing of radioactive materials. They have also worked to increase transparency and public participation in decision-making of methods of disposing of radioactive waste. Bloc Positions: Western Bloc: Western countries have taken many precautions regarding the correct management of radioactive wastes. For example, countries within the European Union work together to make sure that all radioactive waste is recorded and monitored from the moment it no long plays a role for any uses to the moment it is placed in a designated area that has no connection to any living things. The United States passed a Nuclear Waste Policy Act in 1982 which strictly deals with keeping the most updated information on all radioactive waste all the way down to its permanent disposal. Latin Bloc: Brazil currently has operations in place to construct new uranium mines and milling factories which will be run by Brazil's government. The Mexican government has established separate organizations such as the Mexican Constitution on Nuclear Matter and the Minister of Energy which are directly in charge of dealing with radioactive waste. African Bloc: The Republic of South Africa has a focus on its Radioactive Waste Management Policy and Strategy which states international issues within radioactive waste and South Africa’s regulations on the issue. The Tajura Nuclear Research Centre, located in Libya, operates research reactors throughout the country with a nominal power of 10 MW. Asian Bloc: In South Korea, the fifth largest nuclear power user, there is currently a crisis over where radioactive waste should be stored. The country plans to build more reactor plants throughout the country to face this complication. A new concept being planned in India will utilize field experimental data to establish stability within the disposal of radioactive products.