Recent trends and developments in dialogue on radioactive waste management: Experience from the UK

Galson Sciences Limited, 5, Grosvenor House, Melton Road, Oakham, LE15 6AX, UK.
Environment International (Impact Factor: 5.56). 01/2007; 32(8):1021-32. DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2006.06.010
Source: PubMed


This paper highlights some recent trends and developments in dialogue on radioactive waste management in the UK. In particular, it focuses on the use of dialogue around options for the management of risk, and describes techniques for stakeholder dialogue in the field of radioactive waste management. The paper summarises past and on-going experience in the UK, and provides an overview of some practical examples from decommissioning of the former reprocessing facility at Dounreay in Scotland. In common with developments and trend in other countries, the UK has moved to a position where there is now widespread recognition that radioactive waste management requires not only sound technical assessment of risk, but also public participation, consultation and stakeholder dialogue on proposed solutions and the associated risks. In fact, the shift of position has arguably been quite pronounced, with formal procedures to identify, clarify and integrate stakeholders' issues and concerns within the decision-making processes. Experience suggests that citizens are capable of engaging with complex technical issues such as radioactive waste. Indeed, the earlier in the decision-making process that public and stakeholder engagement (PSE) occurs--for example, on the consideration of options and alternatives--the greater the chance of reaching a successful outcome that properly reflects the values and opinions of stakeholders. In the UK, the assessment of alternative waste management options is increasingly being addressed through Best Practical Environmental Option (BPEO) studies. Responses to stakeholder engagement processes and experience of conducting BPEO studies emphasise that consultation must be open, transparent, deliberative and inclusive. However, while early consideration of generic approaches and option choices is necessary to generate a climate of openness and understanding, it remains essential to fully engage with local stakeholder and community groups to consider issues associated with proposed developments at a site-specific level. An interesting area where further attention may be warranted is the use in final decision-making of the results from participatory processes such as BPEO studies. Demonstrating clearly that participants' views have influenced decisions appears to be essential for retaining legitimacy and trust, confidence and goodwill.

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    • "Waste management requires not only sound technical assessment of risk but also public participation, consultation and stakeholder dialogue on proposed solutions and associated risks. This is more evident for waste streams that need special treatment and certainly a wide public acceptance and consensus among stakeholders , such as radioactive waste management (Kemp et al., 2006). The usefulness of using one MCDA method in combination with life cycle analysis (LCA) modelling as a decision aid tool is considered most critical in the selection of an optimal management strategy in waste management problems (Hanandeh and El-Zein, 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Problems in waste management have become more and more complex during recent decades. The increasing volumes of waste produced and social environmental consciousness present prominent drivers for environmental managers towards the achievement of a sustainable waste management scheme. However, in practice, there are many factors and influences - often mutually conflicting - criteria for finding solutions in real-life applications. This paper presents a review of the literature on multi-criteria decision aiding in waste management problems for all reported waste streams. Despite limitations, which are clearly stated, most of the work published in this field is reviewed. The present review aims to provide environmental managers and decision-makers with a thorough list of practical applications of the multi-criteria decision analysis techniques that are used to solve real-life waste management problems, as well as the criteria that are mostly employed in such applications according to the nature of the problem under study. Moreover, the paper explores the advantages and disadvantages of using multi-criteria decision analysis techniques in waste management problems in comparison to other available alternatives.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013
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    • "The typology, however, does not explicitly address empowerment as a distinct form of public engagement, although this has been a major argument in the long-lasting discussion on participation and is still considered key. On the basis of our experience in science-practice cooperation (Scholz and Stauffacher 2007; Stauffacher et al. 2008) and recognizing the general requirements for a repository site selection process, we propose four distinct forms of public participation, similar to those of Kemp and colleagues (2006, 1022–3), depending on the flow of information, the degree of commitment, and the power among the parties: information, consultation, collaboration, and empowerment. Information and consultation are considered to be rather weak forms of participation. "
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    ABSTRACT: Projects for the long‐term disposal of radioactive waste have often been hampered by strong local and regional opposition. Public participation has been recognized as a means to cope with this problem. Advocates promoting extensive public participation suggest various, mostly distinct, involvement techniques that are claimed to cover all needs. However, public participation is still a controversial issue. Several key questions need to be answered: why and when should who be involved, by whom, using which technique, and with which expected outcome? Here, a procedure with a functional‐dynamic view of public participation is proposed that combines the decision‐making process (DMP) with specific types and extents of public participation. We distinguish four discrete levels of public participation, namely information, consultation, collaboration, and empowerment. We argue that these levels of participation must fit the corresponding technical and non‐technical requirements of the different phases of the DMP and illustrate our arguments using a proposed site selection process for nuclear waste. This means that the type and the extent of public participation vary over the time span of a long‐term DMP.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2010 · Journal of Risk Research
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