Programme

(T024)
Nuclear futures - how to govern nuclear waste?
Location 117a
Date and Start Time 02 September, 2016 at 09:00
Sessions 1

Convenors

  • Karena Kalmbach (Environmental Policy Research Centre, FU Berlin) email
  • Clemens Walther email
  • Peter Hocke (KIT) email
  • Klaus-Jürgen Röhlig email

Mail All Convenors

Discussant Markku Lehtonen (EHESS Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales & ESSEC Business School)

Short Abstract

The aim of this track is to look at the issue of nuclear waste governance from multiple disciplinary perspectives while particularly focusing on questions of time, space and changing affected and concerned collectives within these scales.

Long Abstract

The aim of this track is to look at the issue of nuclear waste governance from multiple disciplinary perspectives while particularly focusing on questions of time, space and changing affected and concerned collectives within these scales. Citizens in many countries manifested their will to have a say in decision making processes on nuclear waste governance and were able to block projects that they did not approve. Therefore, the issue of involving the public has gained central importance in nuclear waste governance in recent years. However, in the case of nuclear waste, strategies of involving the public that were successfully applied in other fields seem not to work. Citizens´ quests moved from the "right to know" to the "right to object" and the "right to shape" decisions. In many cases, ignoring these claims resulted in the further hardening of attitudes and led to deadlock situations. The processes leading to a site selection are highly complex and conflict ridden; they cannot be encompassed by a narrowly defined planning approach in which problems are defined, analyzed, and solved in consecutive steps. Especially because of changing requirements that are difficult to anticipate and because of the many interdependencies at play, efforts to solve one aspect of the problem (whether societal, technical, or political) may end up creating new problems and conflicts. In the case of nuclear waste storage and disposal, these problems and conflicts are multiplied by the various issues at stake within the wider debate on nuclear technology.

This track is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

A Community-based Risk Governance Framework for Decommissioning of Nuclear Power

Author: Naoki Yamano (University of Fukui)  email

Short Abstract

Authors have developed a new community-based risk communication for three years concerning health effects of low-dose ionizing radiation. It is discussed how the method works in the framework of risk governance in decommissioning process of nuclear that takes beyond 30 years.

Long Abstract

Decommissioning several nuclear power installations is now being planned in Japan under the regulatory body and licensees' initiative. For a long term process of decommissioning beyond 30 years, the risk communication concerning radiation safety, security and environment among general public is indispensable to obtain public understanding and consensus building. Risk communication is an essential part in the risk governance framework as well as risk assessment and risk management.

For three years, authors have developed and conducted a new community-based risk communication method for risk and risk-related factors concerning health effects of low-dose ionizing radiation. In this method, several groups that consist of local citizens who worry about nuclear applications have been coordinated as stakeholders, and they make dialogue and examine issues on their own with supports by specialists. The community-based risk communication is designed for promoting stakeholders' willingness regarding the right of self-determination as well as the right to know. The community-based risk communication is discussed in the risk governance framework, and the process regarding nuclear decommissioning is presented.

Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Dose Limits in Radioactive Waste Management

Authors: Karena Kalmbach (Environmental Policy Research Centre, FU Berlin)  email
Klaus-Jürgen Röhlig  email

Short Abstract

This paper presents the ENTRIA project and selected aspects of ENTRIA's interdisciplinary work on dose limits related to the different roles such limits play for different societal actors as well as to the specific case of deep geological disposal of nuclear waste.

Long Abstract

ENTRIA ("Disposal Options for Radioactive Residues: Interdisciplinary Analyses and Development of Evaluation Principles") is a joint research project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Initiated by the ENTRIA working group "Technology Assessment and Governance" and recognising that dose limits for the operational and post‐operational phases of management facilities are an issue of utmost importance and concern when addressing both technical and governance aspects of disposal options, ENTRIA scientists developed a research paper aiming at an interdisciplinary synthesis of technical, sociology of knowledge, legal, societal, and political aspects. The paper addresses technical and non‐technical drivers in definitions of dose limits, perceptions of radiation effects and dose limits, and controversies about the meaning and role of such limits. It elaborates on the technical and non‐technical drivers. In doing so, it recognises that such limits are indispensable for technological development and legal security but often have a contra‐productive effect in communication, political, and governance contexts. In order to better understand the coproduction and interdependencies of these various contexts, future interdisciplinary research needs to address the relationship between dose limits and risk perception as well as the role of confidence and trust. It should aim at a discourse based communication about underlying values, objectives, actors and procedures when defining limits, and potential alternatives and complements to established limits.

« Right to shape » decisions: the closing up as new strategy to move forward with high-level radioactive wastes.

Author: Céline Parotte (University of Liège)  email

Short Abstract

This paper compares how critical publics have been integrated in institutionalized nuclear waste management processes in Canada, Belgium and France. Findings reveal a common ‘closing up’ strategy to move forward with nuclear wastes.

Long Abstract

Since so-called participatory turn from the 90s onwards, Canadian, Belgian and French nuclear establishments (Durant 2009) have developed different strategies to involve publics at each constitutive steps of the siting process of nuclear wastes management. Each country has had its own dynamics managed by different actors (nuclear waste agencies, regulatory agencies, public and private organizations) and the processes of engaging both experts and publics have taken a variety of pathways. This presentation suggests a comparison of the integration of invited critical publics (Wynne 2007) in three different institutionalized processes (in Belgium, in France and in Canada). In each case, the analysis shows how such integration contributed to 'close down' and 'open up' appraisals and commitments (Stirling 2008). Findings also highlight a common feature, namely how the different governments finally opted for a closing "up" strategy in order to, at the same time, manage both the right for publics to continue to partially shape the decisions and for experts to continue to develop the technical option (geological disposal) they have been supporting since the 70's.

Data used include a combination of theoretical and empirical materials - i.e. participatory observations of consultation processes, 90 semi-directive interviews with policy makers, nuclear waste agencies, nuclear regulators in France, Belgium and Canada and local actors such as members of local information and monitoring council (CLIS) and members of community liaison committee of four volunteer collectivities (CLC).

Time-binding, Trust, and Nuclear "Waste Confidence" in the United States

Author: William Kinsella (North Carolina State University)  email

Short Abstract

Following a legal rejection of a key regulatory principle, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission enacted a two-year effort to create a new governing rule. Public trust, confidence in technical/institutional capacity, and technocscientific governance are examined in the “waste confidence” controversy.

Long Abstract

This paper addresses the track's topics and themes including nuclear waste governance, temporality, and spatiality, highlighting the largely-incommensurable approaches of nuclear proponents and critics. In 2011, a U.S. court discarded a long-established regulatory principle known as "Waste Confidence," which asserted that adequate capacity for storage and final disposal of used nuclear fuel would be available when needed. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) then undertook a two-year effort to develop a new regulatory principle, including an extended public engagement program. The result, a principle now named "Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel," disappointed critics, leading to new legal challenges. This paper examines the waste confidence controversy using a theoretical framework grounded in Niklas Luhmann's concepts of risk, time-binding (the linking of present decisions to future states), and analytical distinctions between "confidence" and "trust." Data utilized include court documents, documents related to the USNRC's environmental impact study for used fuel storage and disposal, archived public comments and public meeting recordings, and direct engagement with nuclear industry staff, regulatory staff, and members of critical nongovernmental groups. Following Luhmann's distinction, the "confidence" articulated by industry and government actors is a very different phenomenon from the "trust" considered essential by nuclear critics and communities hosting nuclear power plants and proposed sites for interim and final used fuel disposal. Engaging and expanding additional concepts from actor-network theory, the paper argues that nuclear waste storage and disposal are "obligatory passage points" or "trials of strength" for the U.S. as well as the global nuclear power enterprise.

This track is closed to new paper proposals.