In the early 1980's quality assurance (QA) policies were introduced in the field of nuclear waste management. The European Commission (EC) through its Plan of Action recognized the importance of a sound QA approach in the field of nuclear waste management, and in 1982 a working group was created to review the status of implementation of production standards and QA of radioactive waste in Europe. A global QA program requires a thorough inventory characterization and as a final step of quality control the verification ("checking") of the predictable product properties of the radioactive waste package relevant for the final disposal by a quality inspectors operating independent of the waste conditioner. To be successful this QA based approach requires application by responsible operators within an effective regulatory regime implemented by national authorities.
In 1989 an ad-hoc group of European experts convened under the EC Plan of Action for Radioactive Waste to advise on how to define and implement this final quality control. More precisely, the objective was to "examine the needs, incentives, scopes and ways of implementation of a European network of national QA/QC facilities for radioactive waste products". The conclusion was that national regulators, licensing authorities and laboratories performing quality checks would benefit from European collaboration. In October 1992, following an initiative by the EC, the "European Network of Testing Facilities for the Quality checking of Radioactive Waste Packages" (ENTRAP) was founded to promote European collaboration in this field.
Since ENTRAP started the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) has specified the key elements in its publication Safety Standard III-s-1: "Establishing a National System for Radioactive Waste Management". Included in this standard is broad guidance on the responsibilities of IAEA Member States. The IAEA also provides guidance on the subject of quality assurance for radioactive waste packages. General guidance is provided in Technical Reports Series No 376: "Quality Assurance for Radioactive Waste Packages" (IAEA 1995). More detailed information is provided in IAEA-TECDOC-680: "Quality Assurance Requirements and Methods for High Level Waste Package Acceptability" (IAEA, 1992) and IAEA-TECDOC-864: "Requirements and Methods for Low and Intermediate Level Waste Package Accountability" (IAEA, 1996). The latter document includes guidance on methods to demonstrate compliance with waste acceptance criteria and independent verification. Further information is given in other IAEA Technical Reports (IAEA, 1997, IAEA, 2007).