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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 Brazilian nuclear sector is undoubtedly shy about popularization and explanation of pertinent matters related to its performance. Some initiatives for obtaining the objective information about the public's perception of the radiation risks were accomplished during the Goiânia's accident period.

Several evaluation methodologies were adopted as courses, lectures, questionnaires, and the results showed that individual members of the public perceive the radiation risks and develop behaviours according to a constructive outline. Projects as "CNEN goes to the school", the Centre of Information of Furnas, near one of the nuclear power plants in Angra dos Reis city, magazine such as the "Brazil Nuclear", the bulletin "Fonte Nuclear" and the programme of the Brazilian Association of Nuclear Energy have unquestionable validity, but the reach is reduced in the sense of joining efforts for the information of the Brazilian society regarding the undeniable social reach of the peaceful applications of the nuclear energy. Few papers in the planning area, environment, socioeconomic and political-strategic aspects were presented in national Congresses and Symposiums, and, even so, they would have limited distribution to the attendees at the event or to technicians of the nuclear sector. The media (radio, TV, newspapers, etc) has also little interest in publishing these events. The Brazilian Congress of Energy receives an amount of papers from the gas, hydroelectric, oil and coal sectors, where each one defends with energy its interests, unlike the nuclear sector. On the other hand, some erroneous and technically questionable information presented in textbooks, used mainly in schools, collaborates for molding the opinion of thousands of people.

The public does not know technical terms, being quite influenced by the media, from where it gets information of interest. The public orders the risks, relating them to accidents, according to subjective criteria and models them as unknown, new and not observed at short period, establishing destruction, environmental catastrophe and disease images [3]. There are strong indications that the public’s irrational and absolute conviction that ionizing radiation causes only harm constitutes the biggest obstacle to be overcome by the defenders of the peaceful applications of nuclear energy.

Always when nuclear energy is to be a discussion object by the Brazilian society, the accidents of Three-Mile-Island, Chernobyl, Goiânia and the stops in Angra 1 Power Plant will come to the people's mind, and they will be against the installation of new plants and the use of the nuclear energy. The rejection of nuclear energy has been strongly associated with these events until the present days.


The acceptance of the risk of nuclear energy use for peaceful applications depends, fundamentally, on the degree of trust of the population in the institutions and in the pertinent legislation to the administration of the risk. Some points for the improvement of the public acceptance of the nuclear energy can be outstanding, and several authors have suggested improvements [4] [5] [6]. It is more than justifiable and necessary that the nuclear sector

explains to the Brazilian population some points such as:

⎯ Differences between nuclear power reactors and nuclear reactors that produces radioisotopes;

⎯ Benefits provided by radioisotopes in the industrial and medical areas;

⎯ Socio-environmental benefits offered by nuclear power plants;

⎯ Differences between the types of radioactive wastes and the methods required for its management.

Other factors that can also contribute to the improvement of the public acceptance include the explanation and the comparison of risks associated to the several commercial energy options.

The results of comparisons of risks of the several sources of energy indicate that nuclear and renewable are the safest sources, while coal, oil and gas are associated to larger risks [6].

A diversified programme of communication on nuclear subjects could be another factor of public acceptance improvement, supplying information on several levels and considering the

heterogeneity of the population and approaching the following topics:

⎯ Discussion of the risks associated to the use of nuclear energy in a fair way, without the intention of hiding reality;

⎯ Expressing reality by the media and avoiding the labelling of nuclear power plants, radioactive sources and waste repositories simply as dangerous, without considering the risks associated with them;

⎯ Explanation of the benefits of the use of the nuclear energy, showing that these are larger than the actual harms;

⎯ Discussion of the options for energy supply in Brazil and their effects to man and the environment;

⎯ Supplying audiovisual material for schools.

4. THE IAEA TC PROJECT BRA 4/055 At present, CNEN has the responsibility for the safe management of radioactive wastes in Brazil. This has been achieved through the issuing of regulations, inspections, collecting and storage of the Low and Intermediate Level Waste (LILW), not including wastes originating from the fuel cycle.

It should be emphasized that a Law 10308, recently approved by the President of Brazil, addresses site selection, construction and licensing, operation and enforcement of radioactive waste interim storage and final disposal in Brazil. Within this Law, some points are of special interest, such as Article 37 that demands that “CNEN must begin the studies for site selection, project construction and licensing, to start operation of a final disposal facility within national territory as soon as technically possible.

The CNEN interim storage facilities in Brazil have approximately 500 m3 of LILW that stems from a large range of nuclear applications, not including the volume of waste from the fuel cycle. The growth rate is estimated to be 50% for each ten years, and consequently, the capacity available for this interim storage system will diminish quickly.

Also, about 8000 sealed sources, formerly used in industrial gauge instruments, in research or in radiotherapy, have been collected as radioactive waste. If Ra226 and Am241 sources attached to lightning rods and smoke detectors collected as waste are accounted for as sealed sources, the number of stored sources scales up to about 60 000. If all sealed sources currently held by licensees are eventually collected, the total will amount to nearly 300 000 sources.

The Centre of Nuclear Technology Development (CDTN) is now developing the TC IAEA Project BRA 4/055 concerning the assessment of a site for the final disposal of low and intermediate level radioactive wastes. The main objective of the project is the contribution to the final decision regarding the localization of a repository for disposal of low and intermediate level institutional radioactive waste and spent sealed sources.

The specific objectives are the establishment of an interaction process and network of participating institutions, the establishment of a methodical process for safety assessment and the completion of the technical selection of candidate sites for disposition of institutional waste and used sealed sources, according to the optimized process. Specific tasks are, basically, the establishment of a multi-institutional network for the project; the quality assurance programme; the establishment of the inventory for institutional waste and sealed sources; the development of disposal concepts and repository design; the establishment of criteria for site selection and characterization; the safety assessment and the preparation of report.

Once the main task of presenting candidate sites for the repository is complete, the tasks associated with the study of incentives for public acceptance of repositories was considered, with the objective of submitting to the CNEN directorate the more appropriate alternatives of incentives for public acceptance of repositories for the project.

5. CONCLUSIONS Although it is understandable that the public acceptance of repositories is part of the process involving nuclear energy, the few initiatives taken by the Brazilian organisms are still insufficient and have had little effect on the population.

The most recent initiatives, mainly those transmitted by the television media, point out that the information on the nuclear energy provided to the public, in many cases, contain extremely technical information that is hard to understand by the common citizen that it is not familiar with nuclear terminology. This will be the largest barrier to be overcome.

The terms, risk, prestige, fear, self-esteem, nationalism, competence, transparency and participation, as pointed out by Tranjan and Rabello [2], represent important concepts with clear values and they are present in everyday life. These terms are part of the psyche of all individuals and represent the necessary values to address the process of public acceptance for nuclear energy and repositories.

All the initiatives and suggestions given by the Brazilian specialists should be considered in the current project and the experiences of other countries should be incorporated to the list of information for the best comprehension of the methods. It would be desirable if some of the suggestions could be applied independently of the development of the current project, and their results considered in the improvement of public acceptance in the future.


[1] WIELAND,P., STEINHÄUSLER, F., XAVIER, A.M., UNTERBRUNER, U.; Public Perception of Radiation Safety – A Case Study in Brazil, in Goiânia, Ten Years Later, Proceedings of an International Conference, Organized by CNEN in cooperation with the IAEA, Goiânia, Brazil, 1997.

[2] TRANJAN FILHO, A., RABELLO, P.N.P.; Acceptance of the Site for the Construction of the Permanent Radioactive Waste Repository at Abadia de Goiás – an Approach to Public Acceptance and Risk Perception, in Goiânia, Ten Years Later, Proceedings of an International Conference, Organized by CNEN in cooperation with the IAEA, Goiânia, Brazil, 1997.

[3] FERREIRA, W.M., GAVAZZA, S., ESTRADA, J.J.S., Percepção de Riscos e a Aceitação Pública da Tecnologia Nuclear, 5th Brazilian national Meeting on Nuclear Application; 8th General Congress on Nuclear Energy; 12th Brazilian national Meeting on Reactors Physics and Thermal Hydraulics, Rio de Janeiro, RJ Brazil, CNEN, 2000, 6p (in portuguese).

[4] MELDONIAN, L.N., MATTOS, L.A.T.; A Influência do Acidente Radiológico de Goiânia na Aceitação Pública de Novas Usinas Nucleoelétricas, International Conference Goiânia 10 Years Later: The Radiological accident with Cs-137, Goiânia,GO, Brazil, 1997, 6p (in portuguese).

[5] GIBELLI, S.M.O., XAVIER, A.M.; Aceitação Pública da Energia Nuclear: Uma Possibilidade Remota?, 6th General Congress on Nuclear Energy, Rio de Janeiro, RJ Brazil, 1996, 6p (in portuguese).

[6] GIBELLI, S.M.O.; LIMA-E-SILVA, P.P., XAVIER, A.M.; Subsídios para melhoria da Aceitação Pública da Energia Nuclear, International Conference Goiânia 10 Years Later: The Radiological accident with Cs-137, Goiânia, GO, Brazil, 1997, 9p (in portuguese).

Public information & ensuring transparency in the decision making process of SE RAW K. Borissova State Enterprise Radioactive Waste (SE RAW), Sofia, Bulgaria Abstract State Enterprise Radioactive waste (SE RAW) was created on 1 January 2004 by the Act on the Safe Use of Nuclear Energy and is in charge with the responsibilities on management of RAW outside the generators’ sites. The object of activity of SE RAW includes management of LILW from NPP and nuclear applications, including qualification, acceptance, manipulation, pre-treatment, treatment,

conditioning and storage. Major PR priorities for SE RAW are namely:

⎯ To inform the public at local and national level;

⎯ To create public and media transparency;

⎯ To minimize the negativism at local level;

⎯ To establish confidence in the population living nearby a Repository.

SE RAW works on different projects under the Programme for Information and cooperation at local level. The current completed activities have included opening two information centres, two Open Door days, two internships and wide public involvement for the short period of 10 months. SE RAW seeks for further cooperation at local level through transparency in the decision making process.


The State Enterprise “Radioactive Waste” (SE RAW) is the Bulgarian state-owned company responsible for the radioactive waste management in the country. The company was established on 1 January 2004, with the Act on the Safe Use of Nuclear Energy and has the status of a non-profit enterprise under the Commercial Code. The company is known by the Bulgarian acronym DP RAO.

According to the Bulgarian legislation, the main activities of SE RAW include planning, implementation and reporting of management of RAW, outside the premises of waste generation; construction, operation and decommissioning/closure of RAW management facilities; and establishment of waste acceptance criteria and acceptance of RAW for long term management.

The activities of SE RAW are subject to regulatory control according to the Act on the Safe Use of Nuclear Energy. The radioactive wastes become state property at their transfer to SE RAW, and SE RAW is responsible for the safety and security of the accepted waste and of the facilities where these waste are managed. SE RAW activities are financed by the Radioactive Waste Fund which is under the Minister of Economy and Energy.

SE RAW’s management bodies are the Minister of Economy and Energy, the Management Board and the Executive Director. The Minister designates the members of the Board, including the Executive Director. The Executive Director represents the State Enterprise before courts of law, state bodies and third parties in Bulgaria and abroad.

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