The BIOMOSA (BIOsphere MOdels for Safety Assessment of radioactive waste disposal) project was part of the EC fifth framework research programme. The main goal of this project was to improve the scientific basis for the application of biosphere models in the framework of long-term safety studies of radioactive waste disposal facilities and to enhance the confidence in using biosphere models for performance assessments. The study focused on the development and application of a generic biosphere tool BIOGEM (BIOsphere GEneric Model) using the IAEA BIOMASS reference biosphere methodology, and the comparison between BIOGEM and five site-specific biosphere models. The site-specific models and the generic model were applied to five typical locations in Europe, resulting in estimates of the annual effective individual doses to the critical groups and the ranking of the importance of the exposure pathways for each of the sites. Uncertainty in the results was also estimated by means of stochastic calculations based on variation of the site-specific parameter values. This paper describes the generic model and the deterministic and stochastic results obtained when it was applied to the five sites. Details of the site-specific models and the corresponding results are described in two companion papers. This paper also presents a comparison of the results between the generic model and site-specific models. In general, there was an acceptable agreement of the BIOGEM for both the deterministic and stochastic results with the results from the site-specific models.