Long-term Radioactive Waste Management: Challenges and Approaches to Regulatory Decision Making

  • Thomas Flüeler
Conference paper


The disposition of radioactive waste admittedly is a complex socio-technical issue. During the last decade, the nuclear community has come to recognise that a technical, esp. Decide-Announce-Defend (DAD), approach cannot be successful. The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) acknowledged in 1999 that “an informed societal judgement is necessary” [1: 23]. A year later, a special NEA committee conceded that “technical expertise and expert confidence in the safety of geologic disposal of radioactive waste are insufficient, on their own, to justify to a wider audience geologic disposal … the decisions, whether, when and how to implement [it] will need a thorough public examination and involvement of all relevant stakeholders” [2: 3]. Looking at the vast objective and institutional dimensions of radioactive waste management (RWM) it is reasonable, and necessary, to examine the central and challenging roles of the regulatory bodies on the way to a sustainable long-term RWM1. Increased stakeholder involvement and the charged regulators’ role as trustees of the public not only pose novel demands on traditionally technocentric institutions but may conflict with long-established relations to implementers and proponents and, potentially, with long-term-safety responsibilities.


Radioactive Waste Geologic Disposal Radioactive Waste Disposal Radioactive Waste Management Deep Geological Repository 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Flüeler
    • 1
  1. 1.Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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