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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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The Inshas-LILW-Facility will be able to hold the 6000 concrete containers expected to be produced up to the year 2020. The siting and construction of Inshas-LILW-Facility was approved and we are preparing the operational license these days. The radioactive wastes to be disposed of at Inshas-LILW-Facility are either disused sealed radiation sources or concentrated liquid sludge containing the isotopes Cs137, Sr90, I131 and Ce144 [6]. The main generators of these wastes are research reactors, universities, research institutes, agricultural, oil and other industries, as well as medical applications.

Potential Impacts during a Repository Life Time at Local and Regional Levels

A wide range of socioeconomic and other non-radiological impacts may arise during the repository life cycle. The type and magnitude of impacts relevant to a specific repository project will be influenced by the size and location of the repository, the types and amounts of waste to be accepted, the specific repository technology selected, the number of workers employed, specific community characteristics, proximity to populated areas and existing and future land uses. Table 1 illustrates the potential impacts during a repository lifetime at regional and local levels [1]. It is clear from the table that the greatest overall impacts are to the local area and generally occur during the construction, operation and closure phases. The Inshas area is free of archaeological artefacts and valuable historical monuments in the proposed repository site.


The environmental impact assessment will consider impacts on the natural environment (e.g.

ecologically sensitive areas); the built environment (e.g. the transportation network); social conditions (e.g. the community character); economic conditions (e.g. employment and labour supply); and land use (e.g. parks and recreational lands). Table 2 illustrates the different impact factors, their potential and impact management measures [1]. The level of potential impact experienced for an individual factor may be significantly greater in one life cycle phase than in another, with the greatest overall impacts likely to occur during the construction, operation and closure phases. Development of a waste disposal facility may place increased burdens on local services, for example emergency services. Also, in the event of a significant influx of workers from outside the locality of the repository there may be a need for additional housing, education, and associated services. These aspects will require particular attention in the development of the impact management programme and it is likely that continuing close liaison between local authorities and the developer will be needed if such factors are to be addressed satisfactorily.

Impact management measures may be applied at different stages of the repository planning, siting and project approval phases [8]. For example, candidate site areas that have an impact on historical, cultural, ecological or archaeological sites, endangered biological species, or popular recreation areas may be excluded from further consideration by early application of the site screening criteria. Other impacts may be addressed following selection of a proposed site. For example, roads or utilities serving the site may require upgrading, or transportation routes through local communities may be avoided. Figure 1 presents a flow diagram that illustrates the various steps involved in the impact assessment and management process [1].

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Public involvement in decision making processes should be facilitated by promoting constructive and high-quality communication between individuals with different knowledge, beliefs, interests, values, and worldviews. The building of a long term relationship between the local communities and the disposal facility is one of the most important contributors to sustainable radioactive waste management solutions. Building such relationships can be facilitated by designing and implementing facilities in ways that reflect the values and interests of local communities [7]. During the siting phase, interest will be focused on the communities located nearest to the proposed site as well as communities which border that location, and those along likely transport routes. In some cases local committees have been established to help in providing inputs to the repository planning process and, subsequently, to monitor implementation of mitigation measures and related repository operations. These committees can also serve as an information source to interested parties.

A variety of ways may be used to make information available to interested organizations, including publications, leaflets, CD-ROMs, video cassettes, press conferences, media releases, panels, presentations and discussions. Also, the worldwide web (Internet) is a very important media to let the public get involve during the life cycle of the Inshas-LILWFacility. In order to achieve and maintain stakeholder confidence, we have established a visitor centre at Inshas to facilitate greater public access to details. Visitor programmes are prepared periodically for students, local community, press people and other visitors to the Inshas-LILW-Facility.

Newspapers and Open Sky Media (Satellites)

The major objective of the media is to sell their own product to the public. Drama provides the best tool for this. From the media’s point view, bad news is the best kind of news. This means that the development of the Inshas-LILW-Facility should be as plain and transparent as possible. Communication must be open and active at all times to maintain the trust of the press and avoid a communication vacuum around the EAEA that might be filled in by somebody else. Clarity on the link between safely managing the waste disposal and the future of nuclear energy, as well as associating the public in the relevant debates, are important contributors to confidence in decisions regarding solutions for long term radioactive waste disposal. The society’s character and social values are affected by the independent, opposition newspapers and the satellites. A flow of free news, discussion, and debates are available for most people in Egypt through satellite broadcasting. Many economical, social, political, national problems were discovered and discussed freely on the open media and independent newspapers. This lead to more clarity in the policies and activities related to the development of the Inshas-LILW-Facility. In Egypt we have a link between the EAEA and the mass media to discuss and clarify any misunderstand that may be confusing the public.


Broad potential socioeconomic issues, public involvement practices, independent press, open sky media and other non-radiological impacts are important considerations during the InshasLILW-Facility life cycle. Potential factors that have been identified include those relating to the natural environment, social conditions, economic conditions, built environment and land use. Most impacts are likely to occur at the local level. The greatest overall impacts generally occur during the construction, operation and closure phases. Impact management measures can be applied in different ways to eliminate or minimize the potential adverse impacts during the Inshas-LILW-Facility life cycle. Measures may also be employed to enhance beneficial impacts of the repository development and operation.

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[1] INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Socioeconomic and Other NonRadiological Impacts of the Near Surface Disposal of Radioactive Waste, IAEATECDOC-1308, IAEA, Vienna (2002).

[2] EUROPEAN COMMISSION, Environmental Impact Assessments and Geological Repositories for Radioactive Waste, Rep. EUR 19152, EC, Luxembourg (1999).

[3] INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Safety Assessment for Near Surface Disposal of Radioactive Waste, IAEA Safety Standards Series No. WS-G-1.1, IAEA, Vienna (1999).

[4] INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Near Surface Disposal of Radioactive Waste, IAEA Safety Standards Series No. WS-R-1, IAEA, Vienna (1999).

[5] INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Legal and Governmental Infrastructure for Nuclear, Radiation, Radioactive Waste and Transport Safety, IAEA Safety Standards Series No. GS-R-1, IAEA, Vienna (2000).

[6] INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, H.F. Aly and M.R. El-Sourougy, Planning and operation of Low Level Waste Disposal Facilities, IAEA, Vienna, 17-21 June (1996).


COOPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT, Learning and Adapting to Societal Requirements for Radioactive Waste Management, NEA No. 5296, OECD (2004).

[8] INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Considerations in the Development of Near Surface Repositories for Radioactive Waste, Technical Reports Series No.417, IAEA, Vienna (2003).

Public acceptance and socioeconomic issues related to site selection of final repository in Finland T. Seppälä Posiva Oy, Finland Abstract In Finland the waste management obligation rests with the waste producers, the nuclear power companies, who are responsible to cover all the costs related to waste disposal. In addition, construction of any nuclear facility necessitates favourable safety appraisal by the regulator and approval by the siting municipality. Consequently, local level acceptance plays a key role when selecting a site for spent fuel disposal since the municipality has a veto right in the decision making.

During the site selection process for the final repository sufficient public acceptance was only gained in two municipalities with nuclear power plants. In two non-nuclear municipalities subjected to site investigations, majority of the local people were opposed to disposal. When considering the differences in public opinion in the candidate municipalities, some practical reasons for stronger support of final disposal in the nuclear municipalities can be observed. First, Finnish power plants have served well during their operation and have thus created trust among local people. Second, people in the nuclear municipalities are accustomed to nuclear installations and have benefited from them. Third, cooperation between the implementer and the municipality has worked out well in identifying the concerns and hopes of local people in regard to the final disposal. It is, however, the municipality’s own will and vision for their future that counts in the acceptance in the last place.


In general, a licence for a repository for radioactive waste requires a political decision, which to some extent depends on public consent. In gaining acceptance for waste management, public involvement plays a major role before the necessary decisions can be taken and the long term implementation of nuclear waste management activities can proceed. The question is, however, how extensive and large should this public consent be before the necessary decisions can be taken. Therefore, the aim of this presentation is to examine public acceptance during the decision making process for the selection of the site for the final disposal of spent fuel in Finland and the role that socioeconomic issues play in this regard.


In Finland nuclear power companies are responsible for the management of the waste they produce. In 1995 the owner companies of the power plants, Teollisuuden Voima Oy, Fortum Power and Heat Oy established Posiva Oy to handle the necessary preparations for the final disposal of spent fuel. Besides the site characterization work, Posiva’s task will become the construction, operation, sealing and, when necessary, the decommissioning of the final disposal facility.

The preparations for final disposal of spent nuclear fuel in Finland were started in the late 1970s and early 1980s when the Loviisa (two units) and Olkiluoto (two units) power plants were completed for operation. In 1983, the Government made a decision on the long term strategy for nuclear waste management including the schedule for final disposal of spent fuel.

Pursuant to this decision, the site for final disposal of spent nuclear fuel was to be selected by the end of the year 2000 and the plans for the construction of the final disposal facility should be ready for presentation ten years later, in 2010. The operation of the facility should be started in 2020.

The site selection programme for final disposal was started in 1983 and proceeded to field work in 1987. In the 1990s the investigations were concentrated on four municipalities, including the nuclear power plant sites Loviisa and Eurajoki, as well as two other candidate sites with no nuclear activities.

The Policy Decision Leading to Site Selection

The Nuclear Energy Act stipulates that the selection of the final disposal site requires a policy decision of the Government, ratified by the Parliament. Posiva filed the application for the policy decision with the Government in May 1999, proposing Olkiluoto in the municipality of Eurajoki for the final disposal site. In order for the Government to decide in favour of the policy decision, the Finnish authority on radiation safety (STUK, Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority) had to support the project and the municipality where the final disposal facility is to be built had to approve it. In other words, the host municipality has an absolute veto right over the site selection and thereby the possibility to stop the deliberations for the nuclear facility.

Favourable statements were acquired from both STUK and the municipality of Eurajoki in January 2000. The Government decided in favour of the policy decision towards the end of 2000 and the Parliament ratified the decision in May 2001. This decision applies only to spent fuel from the existing four nuclear power plants. An additional policy decision on the final disposal of the spent fuel generated by the planned fifth reactor during its estimated 60-year service life was ratified by the parliament in May 2002. In total, the amount of spent fuel that can be disposed of in Finland is 6500 uranium tons.


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