ATTACHMENT B
EXAMPLES OF STAKEHOLDER INPUT IN REPOSITORY DEVELOPMENT

The following are two specific examples from Finland and Sweden of how two foreign radioactive waste management programs implement stakeholder participation in the decision-making process:

  1. Finland: The Finnish staging process for siting a deep geologic repository is an example of balance between geologic and societal criteria through maximum community involvement and public confidence. Staging of the siting process in Finland started in the early ‘80s. From studies at a number of potential sites, the choice was narrowed to two sites that already have nuclear facilities. The Environmental Impact Assessment process was seized on as a means for in-depth consideration of public concerns and needs. The Finnish system allows stakeholder involvement in decisions but, when the decisions are agreed and ratified by Government, they become effectively non-negotiable. This is not a completely irreversible process, since decisions can be discussed again if technical or safety concerns demand it. The “decision in principle” to build the repository at the Olkiluoto site was ratified by the Finnish parliament in May 2001. Repository construction is dependent on outcomes of the stage of laboratory research. Construction operations are divided into stages, which are approximately 10 years apart (NRC, 20011, page 139; Vira, 20012). It appears that the Finnish success in achieving public acceptance of disposal is, at least in part, due to siting options being kept open while discussions were held with affected communities.

  2. Sweden: In Sweden, the staging process for siting a deep geologic repository started in 1992, although no site has been officially selected yet. The different steps, the decision sequence, and the need for background material for the decisions, have been intensively discussed during the program among all stakeholders. The results from these discussions have formed the actual sequence of reporting, reviews, hearings, and decision points; in this respect the Swedish program has been fully adaptive. Environmental Impact Assessment-Forae (called MKB-Forae) have been formed. The MKB-forae (at the moment there are two of them, one in Kalmar County and one in Uppsala County) consist of representatives of the main actors (Swedish power companies and the regulators) and are led by a representative from the affected County Board in question. There are also representatives from the municipality where the investigations are taking place and they, as elected politicians, also represent the general public in the municipality. Both technical and programmatic issues are discussed at the MKB-forum meetings. The discussions are well documented and the results from these meetings become part of the background material for decisions in the municipality councils.

These two examples of effective public involvement in the decision-making process can inform the process in the United States. However, the committee recognizes that it

1  

NRC (National Research Council). 2001. Disposition of High-level Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel: The Continuing Societal and Technical Challenges. National Academy Press. Washington, District of Columbia.

2  

Vira, J. 2001. Taking It Step by Step. Finland’s Decision-in-Principle on Final Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel. Radwaste Solutions. September/October 2001, pp.30–35.



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OCR for page 18
ATTACHMENT B EXAMPLES OF STAKEHOLDER INPUT IN REPOSITORY DEVELOPMENT The following are two specific examples from Finland and Sweden of how two foreign radioactive waste management programs implement stakeholder participation in the decision-making process: Finland: The Finnish staging process for siting a deep geologic repository is an example of balance between geologic and societal criteria through maximum community involvement and public confidence. Staging of the siting process in Finland started in the early ‘80s. From studies at a number of potential sites, the choice was narrowed to two sites that already have nuclear facilities. The Environmental Impact Assessment process was seized on as a means for in-depth consideration of public concerns and needs. The Finnish system allows stakeholder involvement in decisions but, when the decisions are agreed and ratified by Government, they become effectively non-negotiable. This is not a completely irreversible process, since decisions can be discussed again if technical or safety concerns demand it. The “decision in principle” to build the repository at the Olkiluoto site was ratified by the Finnish parliament in May 2001. Repository construction is dependent on outcomes of the stage of laboratory research. Construction operations are divided into stages, which are approximately 10 years apart (NRC, 20011, page 139; Vira, 20012). It appears that the Finnish success in achieving public acceptance of disposal is, at least in part, due to siting options being kept open while discussions were held with affected communities. Sweden: In Sweden, the staging process for siting a deep geologic repository started in 1992, although no site has been officially selected yet. The different steps, the decision sequence, and the need for background material for the decisions, have been intensively discussed during the program among all stakeholders. The results from these discussions have formed the actual sequence of reporting, reviews, hearings, and decision points; in this respect the Swedish program has been fully adaptive. Environmental Impact Assessment-Forae (called MKB-Forae) have been formed. The MKB-forae (at the moment there are two of them, one in Kalmar County and one in Uppsala County) consist of representatives of the main actors (Swedish power companies and the regulators) and are led by a representative from the affected County Board in question. There are also representatives from the municipality where the investigations are taking place and they, as elected politicians, also represent the general public in the municipality. Both technical and programmatic issues are discussed at the MKB-forum meetings. The discussions are well documented and the results from these meetings become part of the background material for decisions in the municipality councils. These two examples of effective public involvement in the decision-making process can inform the process in the United States. However, the committee recognizes that it 1   NRC (National Research Council). 2001. Disposition of High-level Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel: The Continuing Societal and Technical Challenges. National Academy Press. Washington, District of Columbia. 2   Vira, J. 2001. Taking It Step by Step. Finland’s Decision-in-Principle on Final Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel. Radwaste Solutions. September/October 2001, pp.30–35.

OCR for page 18
is not possible to directly compare radioactive waste management programs in different countries because of the different geologic, political, economic, cultural, demographic, and regulatory contexts.