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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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When the RISCOM Model is applied to particular Vaalputs experiences, the extent to which transparency requirements were satisfied can be assessed. The following examples may prove

useful for the purposes of this analysis:

6.1 The Historical Site Selection Process During the Vaalputs site selection process the implementing agency, in this case Necsa, selected the site on the basis of purely techno-economic considerations, without public stakeholder involvement. The implementer submitted to the authorities the relevant factual information pertaining to the site. Once the authorities accepted the proposal, thus lending legitimacy to the process, the decision was finalized. The public stakeholders (property owners) were merely informed of the decision to expropriate their properties. This process corresponds to step (c) in the above diagram, thus excluding the public stakeholders. As the public stakeholders were thus not involved in the process at all there could not be any trust among the stakeholders. Consequently transparency was completely lacking in this process.

6.2 The Vaalputs Communication Forum

During the early years of the PCF, when functioning on a voluntary basis, the forum rested on a mutual co-operative agreement between Necsa and its Vaalputs stakeholders. This agreement corresponds to step (a) above, indicating the establishment of a factual basis for the discussions and the creation of trust between the parties. As the authorities were not directly involved in this forum, legitimacy in the formal sense did not exist. This lack of legitimacy discouraged certain stakeholders, especially those from the previously disadvantaged communities from attending VCF meetings. VCF participants at that time were mostly the few farmers in the Vaalputs area who were comfortable with the arrangement. With the introduction of the new statutory VCF, the level of interest on the part of these communities dramatically increased. This renewed interest may be attributed to the introduction of legitimacy into the forum. The former VCF was not transparent, but the statutory one is indeed transparent, as all three requirements of the RISCOM Model are being met.

6.3 The Future Utilization of Vaalputs

If Necsa intended to transfer its waste from Pelindaba to Vaalputs in future the procedure would be completely different from the historical one. This procedure has not yet been fully worked out, but the principles have been firmly established. In the following discussion an outline of the procedure is given in order to evaluate it against the RISCOM model.

As a first step, the implementer (Necsa) needs to approach the authorities with a proposal to transfer waste from Pelindaba to Vaalputs. This is done through the formal structures created in terms the national policy and strategy on radioactive waste management. This step corresponds to (c) above, establishing the facts and the legitimacy for the process. The second step involves feedback from the authorities to the public stakeholders about the implementer’s intentions. In step (b), implying the promotion of trust among the stakeholders and reaffirmation of the legitimacy of the process. The third step requires that the implementer engage in discussions with the public stakeholders on the merits/demerits of the proposal.

This corresponds to step (c), reaffirming the facts as well as promoting trust between the stakeholders. This process would thus basically satisfy the RISCOM requirements of transparency.

How this process is to be taken further would depend on the circumstances, but it is reasonable to expect that the implementer would report back to the authorities on the results of the stakeholder negotiations. Likewise, the stakeholders, for their part, could also be expected to approach the authorities. The ultimate decision would clearly rest with the authorities. The ideal solution would be the achievement of consensus amongst the majority of the stakeholders. Whether consensus on this matter is achievable in South Africa within the foreseeable future is debatable.

It should be noted that the disposal of high level waste/spent fuel does not form part of the discussion.

7. CONCLUSIONS The main conclusions reached from the experience at Vaalputs and the future projections in

terms of new processes to be applied at this site are as follows:

(1) The technocratic approach followed in the past is no longer applicable and has been replaced by a “decisionistic” approach shifting the decision making burden from the implementer onto the shoulders of the authorities.

(2) In South Africa, as in most other countries worldwide, public involvement/ participation is an integral part of the approval process for selection of a site for the disposal of low and intermediate level waste and thus needs be factored into the overall project implementation programme.

(3) A major effort needs be made by Necsa, as the implementers of waste disposal programmes, to build up and maintain a position of trust/confidence with its stakeholders. Confidence could typically be achieved by means of forums such as the VCF, which are only effective after a long period of sustained efforts at achieving transparency.

(4) Ideally, Necsa as the implementer needs to strive towards consensus where possible.

This implies that all three requirements for transparency need to be satisfied at the same time: i.e., facts, legitimacy and trust, the most difficult of which is trust. The latter is particularly difficult to achieve in a country like South Africa, which has only recently become a democratic country. Where trust is not achievable, the authorities need to intervene in order to bring finality to the process.


[1] AFRA/INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, African Regional Co-operative Agreement for Research, Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology – AFRA Procedures and Operational Guidelines, AFRA 0001 (July 2000).

[2] LIEBENBERG, G.R., Collection and Conditioning of Sealed Sources (Radium) in Africa, Pretoria 2002.

[3] INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, IAEA, Vienna (2004).

[4] INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, (Draft) WATRP Review Report on the Borehole Concept for the Disposal of Disused Sealed Sources developed by the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (Necsa) in the frame of the IAEA TC Project RAF/4/015, Pelindaba, South Africa (April 2005).

[5] GONZALEZ, A.J., Security of Radioactive Sources, the involving new international dimensions. IAEA Bulletin, 43/4 Vienna (2001).

[6] ANDERSON, K., ESPEJO, R., WENE, C-O. Building channels for transparent risk assessment, SKI Report 98:5, RISCOM pilot study, Stockholm 1998.

Public involvement for developing and operating repositories for low and intermediate level radioactive waste — Approaches in Ukraine T. Kozulko State Nuclear Regulatory Committee of Ukraine, Ukraine Abstract The Ukraine has numerous facilities for managing radioactive waste generated within the country. The main sources include industrial applications, research reactors and operation and planned decommissioning of nuclear power plants. The specific problem of major significance is processing solid and liquid waste from the Chernobyl exclusion zone. To assure all waste arisings are safely managed, a national Energy Strategy is under preparation, which also includes radioactive waste management goals. The Ukrainian laws determine a transparent procedure for the decision making for new facilities of national importance. It requires, among others, that Parliament can decide on siting nuclear facilities if backed by regional authorities. A consultative referendum and public hearings are considered as tools to involve the public in decision making. The indicated approach is helpful in finding a common understanding between the nuclear facility operators and the local public


Activity of the Ukrainian society associated with the political events of autumn 2004 has become an additional essential factor for us to realize the special importance of a consistent and transparent policy of the State pertaining to the safety of radioactive waste management in order to ensure public support to the development of nuclear energy in Ukraine. The experience of other States in communicating with local governments and the general public in siting of radioactive waste storage facilities was of particular interest for Ukraine.

According to the authority granted by the President of Ukraine, the Chairman of the State Nuclear Regulatory Committee of Ukraine declared that [Mykolaichuk O., Kyiv, 14 October 2005]:

The underlying principles of the state policy of Ukraine in spent fuel and radioactive waste management are the priority to protect the people and the environment against ionizing radiation, ensure safety at all phases of spent fuel and radioactive waste management, openness and accessibility of information on these aspects, involvement of citizens and public organizations, regional authorities and local governments in making decisions related to siting of radioactive waste and spent fuel storage facilities.

Ukraine has numerous facilities for the storage processing and disposal of radioactive waste generated within the country. Table I below provides a list of the radioactive waste management facilities at Ukrainian Radon and SSE Complex. Tables II - VII provide statistics on the radioactive waste stored and disposed at the various facilities. The methods, processes and facilities for the management of radioactive waste in Ukraine are described below.

1.1 Management of Radioactive Waste from Research Reactors

Solid radioactive waste from research reactors, such as WWR-M (NASU INR, Kyiv) and DRSUNEI, Sevastopol), is collected in situ, sorted and labelled, transported, accounted for and stored in the temporary storage facilities on the sites of the research reactors and then transported to the central waste management facility, the UkrDO Radon Kyiv SISP. During 2003-2004, 745 kg of low level solid radioactive waste was transported from the NASU INR to, including 400 kg of cemented concentrate and ion-exchange resin from the liquid radioactive waste processing facility. SUNEI has not got any facilities for radioactive waste processing.

1.2 Radioactive Waste Management at UkrDO Radon SISP

State Interregional Specialized Plants of UkrDO Radon rendered services related to radioactive waste management, such as: decontamination of overalls, provides personal protection means; collects, transports, sorts and temporarily stores solid radioactive waste and disused radiation sources produced at non-nuclear enterprises.

1.3 Radioactive Waste Management at Chernobyl NPP and the Shelter

Liquid radioactive waste, including that from the Shelter, is collected by the ChNPP designed piping system. Low- and intermediate-level solid radioactive waste is collected into storage containers, which are loaded into a specialized vehicle and are transported for disposal to the Buryakivka radioactive waste disposal premises.

1.4 Decommissioning

Three RBMK units are being decommissioned at the ChNPP prior to expiration of their design service life. ChNPP Unit 4 which was destroyed in the beyond design-basis accident and is covered by a temporary Shelter, is being converted into an ecologically safe system.

The design service life of the first three power units at the Ukrainian NPPs will expire after 2010 (RNPP-1, WWER-420/213 – December 2010; RNPP-2, WWER-420/213 – December 2011, SUNPP-1, WWER-1000/302 – December 2012). The service life of other 10 WWERunits will expire within 2014-2025. The design service life of two new WWER-1000 units (Khmelnitsky Unit 2 and Rivne Unit 4) will expire in 2034.


For the time being a draft Energy Strategy for the period till 2030 and for further prospects is under active discussion among scientists, experts, general public and is supposed to be adopted in the near future. The Nuclear Energy Section of this Energy Strategy covers the creation of a modern infrastructure for spent fuel and radioactive waste management. It is planned that after adoption of the Energy Strategy of Ukraine appropriate strategies and state programmes will be prepared and approved for SF and radioactive waste management, taking into account good practices of the Contracting Parties to the Joint Convention.

Basic principles of the state policy for radioactive waste management are set forth in Article 5 of the Law of Ukraine “On Nuclear Energy Use and Radiation Safety” and Article 3 of the Law of Ukraine “On Radioactive Waste Management”. The Comprehensive Programme for Radioactive Waste Management for the period till 2010 is currently underway. This programme was approved by a CMU Resolution and is intended for implementation of the state policy for radioactive waste management. After determination of the strategy for SF management, the next step would be to develop a strategy for radioactive waste management and a state programme for radioactive waste management for a long term period to replace the Comprehensive Programme for Radioactive waste Management (during 2006-2007).

Several important laws have been enacted by the Ukrainian legislature pertaining to nuclear and radiation safety. For example, the Law of Ukraine “On Settlement of Nuclear Safety Issues” establishes legislative and organizational provisions for funding of operation, termination, and decommissioning of nuclear facilities. Another Law of Ukraine “On Decision Making Procedure for Siting, Design, Construction of Nuclear Facilities and Radioactive Waste Management Objects of National Value” determines clear and transparent procedure for decision making for new facilities of national importance. Among others, it

states that:

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