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«IAEA-TECDOC-1553 Low and Intermediate Level Waste Repositories: Socioeconomic Aspects and Public Involvement Proceedings of a workshop held in ...»

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Low and Intermediate Level Waste

Repositories: Socioeconomic

Aspects and Public Involvement

Proceedings of a workshop

held in Vienna, 9–11 November 2005

June 2007


Low and Intermediate Level Waste

Repositories: Socioeconomic

Aspects and Public Involvement

Proceedings of a workshop

held in Vienna, 9–11 November 2005

June 2007

The originating Section of this publication in the IAEA was:

Waste Technology Section

International Atomic Energy Agency Wagramer Strasse 5 P.O. Box 100 A-1400 Vienna, Austria



IAEA, VIENNA, 2007 IAEA-TECDOC-1553 ISBN 92–0–104307–4 ISSN 1011–4289 © IAEA, 2007 Printed by the IAEA in Austria June 2007 FOREWORD While non-technical aspects, when developing a deep geological repository, have recently been at the centre of interest in many countries, socioeconomic issues and public involvement with regard to the disposal of low and intermediate level waste (LILW) have not yet been as visible. Many Member States commissioned disposal facilities before such industrial activities and their environmental matters had become a public and, as a consequence, political affair.

Nevertheless, in many Member States without disposal capacities, radioactive waste has been generated to the extent that disposal facility construction must be considered and some countries have already initiated facility development. For them, public acceptance has grown to be an essential condition for selecting a proper site for the facility construction. Not only for planned repositories, but also for numbers of existing ones the ecological concerns have been raised by municipalities and interest groups, sometimes not originating in the affected region.

Technical progress and experience gained when operating LILW disposal facilities have resulted in searching for safe, but at the same time economically optimal and socially acceptable solutions. As a result, a number of old facilities have been upgraded, some others even abandoned and retrieved waste disposed of in new ones complying with the current safety and technological measures.

The practices and experience reached in Member States when dealing with public and socioeconomic aspects of LILW disposal have beenselected as a topic for the IAEA workshop where the aforementioned problems could be revealed, shared and discussed; the workshop was held 9–11 November 2005 in Vienna. The response from Member States was encouraging: 25 countries delegated their representatives to attend the event. They delivered national presentations which together with a summary of discussions are published in this TECDOC to disseminate the experience gained to other interested parties.

It is anticipated that this publication will be particularly useful to managers and decision makers in Member States that are in the relatively early stages of a repository development programme. The report may also be of interest to government officials (national, regional and local), industry, trade and environmental organizations, indigenous people, other interest groups and members of the general public interested in the potential impacts associated with LILW disposal facilities throughout the repository life cycle.

These proceedings were prepared with the help of the workshop chairman W.B. House. The IAEA officer responsible for the publication was L. Nachmilner of the Division of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology.


The papers in these proceedings are reproduced as submitted by the authors and have not undergone rigorous editorial review by the IAEA.

The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the IAEA, the governments of the nominating Member States or the nominating organizations.

The use of particular designations of countries or territories does not imply any judgement by the publisher, the IAEA, as to the legal status of such countries or territories, of their authorities and institutions or of the delimitation of their boundaries.

The mention of names of specific companies or products (whether or not indicated as registered) does not imply any intention to infringe proprietary rights, nor should it be construed as an endorsement or recommendation on the part of the IAEA.

The authors are responsible for having obtained the necessary permission for the IAEA to reproduce, translate or use material from sources already protected by copyrights.



Present situation of the low level waste repository in Argentina and the necessity for developing a new site

E. Maset, R. Andresik Local partnership for developing an integrated project for the disposal of low level short lived waste — The Belgian experience

E. Hooft, J-P. Boyazis, A. Bergmans The present status of public acceptance of radioactive waste repositories in Brazil............... 20 P.M. Fleming, R.P. Mourão Public information & ensuring transparency in the decision making process of SE RAW

K. Borissova Canadian experience in seeking community support for a deep geologic repository.............. 29 K. Orr Selected activities related to public acceptance of operating repositories in the Czech Republic

J. Faltejsek, L. Steinerová Assessment and management of socioeconomic issues and public involvement practices for the development of Inshas near surface LILW disposal facility

A.A.Zaki Public acceptance and socioeconomic issues related to site selection of final repository in Finland

T. Seppälä Past and recent activities in public communication on L/ILW disposal — Hungarian experience

P. Ormai, P. Szanto Socioeconomic issues and public involvement practices for near surface disposal of low and intermediate level radioactive waste — Indian approach

S.K. Munshi Developing and operating of baldone repository “radons”

A. Abramenkovs Local municipality and public involvement into site selection process of near surface repository for low and intermediate level radioactive waste in Lithuania

D. Janėnas Developing and operating repositories for low and intermediate level waste in Norway....... 78 T.E. Bøe Socioeconomic aspects in the development and operation of the national radioactive waste repository — Rozan

W. Tomczak Socioeconomic issues and public involvement practices and approaches for developing and operating repositories for low and intermediate level waste

I.L. Tuturici Long term storage of institutional radioactive waste: Ecological and social issues................ 94 S.A. Dmitriev Public involvement issues of radioactive waste management in Slovakia

J. Prítrský Integral communication activities in support of the repository site selection in Slovenia..... 107 N. Železnik, M. Kralj Public involvement in the establishment and operation of the low and intermediate level waste repository at Vaalputs in South Africa

P.J. Bredell Public involvement for developing and operating repositories for low and intermediate level radioactive waste – Approaches in Ukraine

T. Kozulko Socioeconomic issues and public involvement practices and approaches for developing and operating repositories for low and intermediate level waste UK perspective............ 129 P.M. Booth Socioeconomic impacts of the Barnwell South Carolina low level radioactive waste disposal facility

W.B. House List of Participants


1. Introduction There are many disposal facilities for low level and intermediate level radioactive waste in operation worldwide. They were commissioned some years or even decades ago, at a time when both the public interest in existing practices and the fear of the radio toxicity of waste being disposed of mostly in near surface formations were rather limited. The whole life cycle of LILW repositories has well been elaborated and some facilities have even been permanently closed. Safety aspects have been carefully considered and improved with time, due to activities such as multinational cooperation and exchange of relevant information. As a consequence, applying updated standards has sometimes resulted in termination of operation and/or upgrading of some old facilities. Technical solutions for different LILW disposal systems have been worked out and their feasibility has been demonstrated. In spite of this progress, a growing involvement of various stakeholders when planning, constructing and operating radioactive waste management facilities indicates that administrative and economic aspects, social impact and public interest need to receive still more attention. These facilities have become a public concern, with the highest sensitivity during the siting stage.

Low and intermediate level wastes (LILW), derived from both nuclear power and other nuclear applications are currently in interim storage in many countries that have no operating disposal facilities. In many Member States, the preferred option for the long term management of LILW is disposal in surface or near surface facilities with varying levels of engineering, including placement in mined or natural cavities some tens of metres below the surface. In other Member States, deep geologic repositories are being used or planned for management of the LILW in those countries. Many such facilities are now in operation, proposed for approval, or in the conceptual planning phase.

The importance of the underlying scientific and technical issues in support of repository development and radiological safety to the disposal of LILW has long been recognized. This technological progress needs to be adequately communicated to the general and professional non-nuclear public who are displaying increasing interest in economic and environmental issues of industrial activities, in general, and nuclear ones in particular, but this technocratic approach does not seem to be sufficient. Proving social benefit may also play a key role in developing successful new disposal facilities and operating existing ones.

Recent experience suggests that broad public acceptance will enhance the likelihood of project approval. An important element in creating public acceptance is the perceived trust and credibility of the responsible organization and of the reviewing agency or agencies.

Establishing trust can be enhanced when an inclusive approach to public involvement is adopted from the beginning of the planning process to help ensure that all those who wish to take part in the process have an opportunity to express their views, and have access to information on how public comments have been considered and addressed. Experience further suggests that trust is promoted by providing open access to accurate and understandable information about the development programme.

The audiences for public involvement activities may include representatives from local communities, administrative units (e.g. national, regional and local), government officials, indigenous peoples where appropriate, regulatory agencies, community and public interest groups, environmental organizations, industry and trade groups, the scientific community and the news media. Communities along transport routes may also indicate interest. Significant levels of interest may exist at regional and national levels throughout the project development phase. Interest may also extend to neighbouring countries, as mandated under a number of international treaties and conventions, particularly if the proposed facility is located near an international border.

In some Member States, committees representing a range of local community interests (e.g.

local government, schools, business and environmental groups, and interested citizens) have been formed to assist impact assessment and impact management planning activities.

Experience suggests that these local committees may have continuing value during the repository construction and operation phases to help with the implementation of the impact management measures. Other potential functions include monitoring-related repository operations and serving as an independent information source to interested parties.

Given this background, it was considered important to continue addressing the socioeconomic and non-radiological environmental impacts of LILW disposal facilities.

The nature and extent of public involvement and participation varies among Member States, depending upon existing legal and political frameworks and cultural context. This workshop attempted to address a number of basic concepts that have general application.

2. Scope and objectives The objective of the workshop was to share experiences in searching and promulgating technically/economically optimal and socially acceptable solutions for disposal systems for low and intermediate level waste. The social benefits of such facilities may be the deciding factors in successfully developing new disposal facilities and operating existing ones.

Therefore, presenting both positive and negative experiences of involving the public in dealing with sociologic, environmental and economic impacts of such facilities on the society may provide the necessary guidance to interested countries on how to outline and implement or improve their national approaches when integrating non-technical aspects with technical ones for LILW disposal facilities. The presentations and discussions at the workshop included

the list of topics below:

⎯ Involvement of the public in particular phases of repository lifecycle and negotiation processes;

⎯ Communicating environmental impacts of disposal facility lifecycle to the society;

⎯ Public concerns in different stages of repository lifecycle and confidence building;

⎯ Solving problems in the coexistence of a repository and municipalities (land use, change of infrastructure, services);

⎯ Dealing with the different categories of stakeholders (NGO’s, environmental groups, public associations, associations of municipalities);

⎯ Changes of social conditions elicited by a repository (demography, social structure, community nature and health);

⎯ Economical and indirect privileges for involved municipalities (privileges, taxation, investments, compensation, sponsoring, services, education, healthcare).

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