Making Nuclear Waste Problems Governable
Disposing of nuclear waste remains one of the most complicated problems to solve; it is a wicked problem. Finding and gaining public acceptance solutions for a high level radioactive waste (HLW) repository is cumbersome even in the case of the most resilient democratic political system. Handling radioactive waste is a permanent reminder of the historical paths and legacies connected with the civilian and military development of nuclear power. Despite the many attempts made in the last forty years, there is no civilian permanent repository for spent fuel and HLW in operation in any nation state. Long-lasting and thorny social conflicts and distrust continue to play an inhibiting role in actual siting procedures of nuclear waste repositories. However, in the last decade, these issues have stopped being regarded as a mere technical problem. Against the background of conflicts and deadlocks, the nuclear waste issue has broadened in scope to consider societal, political, psychological and ethical factors. This has led to the use of deliberative procedures enhancing the integration of community and stakeholder values into decision-making. The chapter briefly introduces the major issues dealt with in this volume and discusses the role of inclusive participatory procedures and stakeholder involvement, as well as of consent-based siting and compensation to enhance acceptability of contested socio-technical solutions.
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