Voluntarism in Siting Nuclear Waste Disposal Facilities

Just a Matter of Trust?
  • Maria Rosaria Di NucciEmail author
Part of the Energiepolitik und Klimaschutz. Energy Policy and Climate Protection book series (EPKS)


This chapter analyses the issue of siting deep geological disposal (DGD) facilities for high level nuclear waste and questions whether voluntarism can ease siting procedures. I sketch the salient characteristics of siting experiences in four European countries (Sweden, Finland, France and the United Kingdom) and discuss various modes of consent-based siting approaches classified in relation to the characteristics of the host communities.

Voluntary approaches depend on a large number of factors, including also the public’s trust in institutions, experts and in the nuclear industry. Indeed, voluntarism and trust go hand in hand, but are economic incentives a determining factor? This chapter discusses also the role of compensation as a means to reward volunteering communities for their “propensity to accept” the construction of a waste disposal facility in the public interest. The analysis of consent-based siting in connection with the type of host community indicates that voluntarism exists in diverse forms with eminent differences. The varieties of voluntary approaches range from an incentives-based approach to a partnership approach and from trust-based voluntarism to competitive voluntarism, precarious voluntarism and passive voluntarism. The conclusion summarises the preconditions for acceptability of siting procedures, discusses whether voluntarism should be enshrined in the siting process and puts forward some open questions for the pending site search process in Germany.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Forschungszentrum für Umweltpolitik (FFU)Freie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

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