Accounting for socio-economic effects in nuclear waste disposal projects
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Paris :Organization Economic Cooperation & Development, 1996
OECD/NEA International Seminar on Future Information Challenges and, Public Participation in the Field of Radioactive Waste Management, June 13-15, 1995, Rauma, Finland
The disposal of nuclear waste has become highly controversial. This paper presents the approach taken by NIRAS, the Belgian agency for the disposal of nuclear waste, to come to a decision on the establishment of a sire for the permanent disposal of low level nuclear waste. A formal model is elaborated to take social effects of such a project into account, allowing for a balanced discussion of positive and negative effects at the local level. It is too early to tell if the model described in detail in this paper can solve the problems encountered by disposal agencies. The approach discussed, does, however, respond to needs experienced on an international scale. The paper emphasises the need for openness in the fact of assertive and articulate citizens who no longer accept the paternalistic approach. The public must not feel that there is any lack of clarity about waste projects or they will quickly voice their opinions and any opposition they feel. As far as siting is concerned, most of the controversies are fuelled by a basic notion of ''unfairness''. Somehow the burdens seem to be imposed on parties other than those who reap the benefits. An approach to decision making through local negotiation on all aspects of a disposal project should allow the problem of fairness to be treated in a more constructive way.