• 2nd Petrus-OPERA PhD and Early-Stage Researchers Conference 2016


    Radioactive Waste Management and Disposal

     Date: 27th June at 09.00 – 1st July at 15.00, 2016
    Location: Delft University of Technology – The Netherlands


  • Live broadcast and recordings available here:

  • What are PETRUS and OPERA?

    What is Petrus?

    PETRUS III is a project granted by European Commission within the Euratom program (7th Framework Program), whose objective is to promote Education and Training (E&T) in geological disposal of radioactive waste.


    Since 2005 “PETRUS” initiative coordinates universities, radioactive waste management organisations, training providers and research institutes efforts to develop cooperative approach to E&T in the geological disposal. PETRUS proposes an innovative strategy to ensure the continuation, renewal and improvement of the professional skills by sharing resources from both academia and industries. The Consortium includes twenty one (21) representatives from twelve (12) different countries all over Europe.


    The main objectives of the current project are:

    • Practical implementation of an accredited training program following ECVET principals, leading to a recognized qualification in geological disposal
    • Design and creation of a multidisciplinary training and research framework for PhD students
    • Development of strategies for ensuring the sustainability of the PETRUS initiative.


    What is OPERA?

    OPERA is the third Research Programme for the Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste (OnderzoeksProgramma Eindberging Radioactief Afval, or OPERA) in the Netherlands. The programme started in 2011 and will run for 5 years. The results of the project will be an evaluation of the existing safety and feasibility studies (the Safety Case) in the Netherlands and a roadmap for future research.


    Know more


  • About the PETRUS-OPERA 2016 conference:

    Following from the successful inaugural PhD conference in radioactive waste management and disposal held in Nancy, France in 2015, the 2nd conference in this series will be held in Delft, the Netherlands.


    This unique event intends to bring together PhD students and early-stage researchers, alongside professionals and academics in the topic of radioactive waste disposal and geological disposal. The conference is designed to be simultaneously a research school and a conference.

    It is an opportunity for early-stage researchers and students to present their work in all areas related to radioactive waste management and disposal. Special prizes will be awarded in both oral presentation and poster sessions. The program also includes several plenary lectures presented by outstanding researchers / academics highlighting strength and diversity of research and current topics.


    The written and spoken language of the conference is English.

    Conference overview:

    The PETRUS-OPERA Conference aims to give PhD students and early-stage researchers from across the EU a chance to present their research related to radioactive waste management and disposal.


    It will also give attendees an opportunity to follow several subject-specific lectures taught by acknowledged academics and experts.


    The event will in general be split into morning and afternoon sessions. During the morning sessions high quality interdisciplinary lectures in various fields of radioactive waste disposal will take place. Many of these researchers will be involved in the European Project Petrus or the OPERA research programme. In the afternoon PhD and early-stage research presentation and poster sessions will take place. Additionally, a full day field trip will take place as well as visits to the research nuclear reactor.


    All PhD students and early-stage researchers will have the opportunity to present their work. Selected students/researchers will be able to give oral presentations, with others invited for poster sessions. Posters sessions are designed to be integral to the conference, and are seen as an opportunity for high quality one-to-one interaction.


  • Event schedule:

    Draft Programme

    Monday 27th June


      • Welcome

      • Representative from OPERA/PETRUS/organising committee

      • Origin of radioactive waste, classification, solutions.
        Lecturer: Denis Bykov, TU Delft

      • Principles of radioactive waste disposal
        Lecturer: Monika Skrzeczkowska, IAEA

      • Waste management, storage and disposal programme
        Lecturer: Ewoud Verhoef, COVRA

      • How to develop a source term for disposal of waste (waste families, inventory)
        Lecturer: Erika Neeft, COVRA

      ----------- Lunch -----------

      • PhD/early stage researcher presentations:

        • Thermal Treatment of UK Magnox Sludge: Sean Barlow

        • Dismantling of the graphite pile of Latina NPP: characterization and handling/removal equipment for single brick or multi-bricks: Giuseppe Canzone

        • Good practices in free release of materials: Evelina Ionescu

        • Radiological characterization of radioactive waste produced in particle accelerators: Biagio Zaffora

        • Multi-scale investigation of fracture apertures in clay rock subjected to desiccation: Anne-Laure Fauchille

        • Thermo-hydro-mechanical behaviour of compacted MX80 bentonite at 150°C: Panagiotis Stratos

      Tuesday 28th June

      Field trip

      • Storage facilities at COVRA (Central Organisation for Radioactive Waste) in Vlissingen, the Netherlands

      • The underground research laboratory HADES at SCK•CEN in Mol, Belgium

      Wednesday 29th June

      Short-term behaviour

      • Underground disposal: design, construction and mechanical behaviour
        Lecturer: Phil Vardon, TU Delft

      • Cementitious materials for repositories
        Lecturer: Rob Wiegers, IBR Consult BV

      • Microbes , barrier functions and nuclear safety cases
        Lecturer: Karsten Pedersen, Microbial Analytics Sweden AB

      • Why does heat matter in radioactive waste disposal?
        Lecturer: Alex Bond, Quintessa and DECOVALEX

        --- Extended lunch and poster session ---

      • Visits to the Delft nuclear reactor 

        ------- Networking Dinner ------

      Thursday 30th June

      Long-term behaviour

      • The hydro-geological setting – present state and predictions of the future
        Lecturer: Johan H. ten Veen, TNO – Geological Survey of the Netherlands
      • Waste packaging and degradation
        Lecturer: Guido Deissmann, Brenk Systemplanung GmbH
      • Speciation of actinides during migration in argillaceous rocks
        Lecturer: Tobias Reich, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität
      • Radionuclide transport and retardation
        Lecturer: Hans Meeussen, NRG

        --- Lunch and poster session ---

      • PhD/early stage researcher presentations
        • Numerical study of bentonite confined hydration: Giulia Ghiadistri

        • Modelling the excavation damaged zone using a hydro-mechanical double-scale model: Bram van den Eijnden

        • Probabilistic performance assessment of a deep tunnel for a radioactive waste repository in French COx claystone: Yajun Li

        • Time-dependent mechanical and transport behaviors of Callovo-Oxfordian argillite: Zaobao Liu

        • Transient boundary conditions in the frame of high level radioactive waste disposal at deep geological repository: Abhishek Rawat

        • Application of BIB–SEM technology to characterize microstructure and pores in mudstone at a range of scales: Jop Klaver

        • Proposed method for semantic mapping of communities of practice in the nuclear industry for alignment of education: Vincent Kuo

      Friday 1st July


      • Natural analogues
        Lecturer: Ulrich Noseck, GRS

      • Ethical and social aspects
        Lecturer: Anne Bergmans, University of Antwerp

      • Role and purpose of the Safety Case
        Lecturer: Lucy Bailey, RWM

      • Modelling to underpin the Safety Case
        Lecturer: Sarah Watson, Quintessa

      • Confidence building in the presence of uncertainties
        Lecturer: Klaus-Jurgen Rohlig, TU Claustal

      • Prizes for best poster / presentation

      • Wrap-up discussion
        ----------- Lunch -----------

      • End of the event 

    • Field Trips

      Research reactor at the Reactor Institute Delft

      Research reactor at the Reactor Institute Delft

      The Reactor Institute Delft operates the Hoger Onderwijs Reactor (HOR), a 2 MW pool-type research reactor. The reactor is used as a source of neutrons and positrons for research purposes, including those within the OPERA research programme. The reactor also provides neutrons to a variety of facilities for radioisotope production and neutron activation analysis.


      More information can be found here.

      © SCK•CEN

      HADES underground laboratory

      Deep beneath the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK•CEN) in Mol is a thick layer of clay: the Boom clay. In the search for a solution to the disposal of high-level radioactive waste, SCK•CEN constructed a laboratory 225 metres below the ground. Appropriately this was given the name HADES, the god of the underworld. HADES stands for High Activity Disposal Experimental Site. Via the economic partnership EIG EURIDICE together with NIRAS [the Belgian agency for radioactive waste and enriched fissile materials], SCK•CEN undertakes research in HADES into the feasibility of storing high-level radioactive waste in the deep layers of clay.

      © COVRA

      COVRA – treatment and storage facility

      In order to be able to treat radioactive waste, COVRA has established a treatment and storage facility in the province of Zeeland, at the docks in Vlissingen-Oost in the municipality of Borsele. The total amount of radioactive waste produced over the next hundred years can easily be stored at the COVRA site, which covers an area of about 20 hectares.


      More information can be found here.

    • Location

      Getting to Delft

      • By Air

        Delft is well served by Schiphol Airport. From more limited destinations it is possible to fly to Rotterdam The Hague Airport.

        From Schiphol: Direct trains run from Schiphol to Delft Station approximately once every 30 minutes. The train journey is around 40 minutes. A night train also runs once per hour after the regular trains have stopped running.
        From Rotterdam The Hague: The bus 33 goes directly to Rotterdam Central Station, and from there a direct train is available to Delft. The total journey time is also around 40 minutes.

      • By train

        International trains arrive in Rotterdam or Amsterdam. From both train stations there are connecting direct trains to Delft. At http://9292.nl/en you are able to plan the details of your journey via public transport.


      Getting to Delft University of Technology


      The conference will be held at the Culture Center of TU Delft which is located on the Delft campus.

      Details are found: http://sc.tudelft.nl/en/contact/


    • Accommodation

      There are a variety of accommodation options in or close to Delft or Rotterdam, please see below for details:

      Hostel Delft

      Voldersgracht 17, Delft

      +31 (0) 6 16496621

      various options

      approx EUR 23.-

      StayOK Hostel Rotterdam

      Overblaas 85-87, Rotterdam

      +31 (0)10 4365763 various options approx EUR 27,-

      Hotel Juliana

      Maarten Trompstraat 33, Delft

      +31 (0) 15 2567612

      from EUR 72,50 to EUR 105,-

      Hampshire Delft Centre Koepoortplaats 3, Delft

      +31 (0) 15 2122125

      from EUR 74,50 to EUR 84,50-


      Doelenplein 10, Delft

      +31 (0) 15 2126046

      from EUR 85 to EUR 95,-

      Campanile Delft 

      Kleveringweg 53, Delft

      +31 (0) 15 2799000

      from EUR 75 to EUR 87,-

      Hotel Leeuwenbrug

      Doornmarkt 16, Delft

      +31 (0) 2147741

      from EUR 69 to EUR 85,-

      B&B Soul Inn

      Willemstraat 55, Delft

      +31 (0) 15 2157246

      from EUR 35,-

      Hotel Coen

      Hoenderstraat 47, Delft

      +31 (0) 15 2145914

      from EUR 50 to EUR 80,-

      Worldhotel Wings Rotterdam

      next to Rotterdam The Hague Airport, Rotterdam

      various options-see website 

      Westcord Hotel 

      Olaf Palmestraat 2, Delft

      +31(0) 15 8889010

      from EUR 73,-

    • Contact Form

      For any requirement you may have, please contact Phil Vardon or Denis Bykov, Event coordinators:

    • Partners: