WASOP, a qualitative methodology for waste minimization: systems thinking, HAZOP principles and nuclear waste

Duncan A. Shaw, Neil Blundell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The international nuclear community continues to face the challenge of managing both the legacy waste and the new wastes that emerge from ongoing energy production. The UK is in the early stages of proposing a new convention for its nuclear industry, that is: waste minimisation through closely managing the radioactive source which creates the waste. This paper proposes a new technique (called waste and source material operability study (WASOP)) to qualitatively analyse a complex, waste-producing system to minimise avoidable waste and thus increase the protection to the public and the environment. Design/methodology/approach – WASOP critically considers the systemic impact of up and downstream facilities on the minimisation of nuclear waste in a facility. Based on the principles of HAZOP, the technique structures managers' thinking on the impact of mal-operations in interlinking facilities in order to identify preventative actions to reduce the impact on waste production of those mal-operations.' Findings – WASOP was tested with a small group of experienced nuclear regulators and was found to support their qualitative examination of waste minimisation and help them to work towards developing a plan of action. Originality/value – Given the newness of this convention, the wider methodology in which WASOP sits is still in development. However, this paper communicates the latest thinking from nuclear regulators on decision-making methodology for supporting waste minimisation and is hoped to form part of future regulatory guidance. WASOP is believed to have widespread potential application to the minimisation of many other forms of waste, including that from other energy sectors and household/general waste.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-251
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Energy Sector Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • nuclear energy industry
  • systems analysis
  • waste management


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