Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Cooperative Research on the Governance of Radioactive Waste Management (COWAM-2), Final report, EUR 23186

Project ID: 508856


It is only in the recent past that governance has come to be recognised as a core issue of radioactive waste management. This new view results from a gradual realization that a strictly technical approach was not adequate to address the complexity of the questions raised by this particular type of waste.
Radioactive waste management: a scientific answer to a technical problem?
For many years, the issue of radioactive waste management was approached as a mainly technical challenge, and remained an internal matter for the nuclear sector and national policy makers. From the 1970s the main effort was focused on research to develop safe technical solutions for managing radioactive waste over the long term. In this traditional approach, a technical concept, chosen by national decision makers on the basis of expert recommendations, is developed within a national policy framework. The first and key step for the implementation of this policy - besides research and demonstration - is to identify a host site which would allow the concept to be realised under reliable conditions of technical safety in the long term. The process goes from research to demonstration and implementation and from national policy to local siting. The decision made now is expected to provide a solution for the near and distant future.
In a large number of countries throughout Europe and worldwide, this path very often led to a dead end. Faced with repeated failures resulting from fierce public criticism, experts and policy makers gradually realised that the complexity of the issues called for a more open and inclusive management approach.

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