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Über dieses Buch

​This volume examines the national plans that ten Euratom countries plus Switzerland and the United States are developing to address high-level radioactive waste storage and disposal. The chapters, which were written by 23 international experts, outline European and national regulations, technology choices, safety criteria, monitoring systems, compensation schemes, institutional structures, and approaches to public involvement. Key stakeholders, their values and interests are introduced, the responsibilities and authority of different actors considered, decision-making processes are analyzed as well as the factors influencing different national policy choices. The views and expectations of different communities regarding participatory decision making and compensation and the steps that have been or are being taken to promote dialogue and constructive problem-solving are also considered.​





Comparative Perspectives on Nuclear Waste Governance

The contrasting arguments are well known: opponents of nuclear power argue that the nuclear industry should not continue to produce nuclear energy without having a deep geological disposal (DGD) repository for its radioactive high-level waste (HLW). The nuclear industry and parts of the scientific community claim that the necessary knowledge and technologies for radioactive waste management exist; they argue the main problem hindering a waste solution lies with missing societal acceptance and that the fault for this lies with politics.
Maria Rosaria Di Nucci, Achim Brunnengräber, Lutz Mez, Miranda Schreurs

The International Dimension


Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Waste Governance Perspectives after the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

In the 1950s and 1960s, when commercial nuclear energy was first being developed, it was portrayed as an almost miraculous and limitless form of energy that would in the future be able to meet the world’s growing energy demands. While nuclear energy did indeed grow to become an important element of electricity systems in some countries, it has been plagued by many problems and challenges. Today, the nuclear energy industry is facing challenging times that are linked to past failures in nuclear reactors, in energy utilities’ planning, competition from alternative sources of energy, concerns about safety, and the Achilles’ heel of nuclear waste.
Achim Brunnengräber, Miranda Schreurs

An Open Door for Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste Export?

The International and EU Framework
Worldwide, the majority of countries with nuclear activities have – or plan to have – national legislative, regulatory, and organisational frameworks. There is an implicit ethical principle or even a common understanding that each country should be responsible for the safe disposal of its own spent fuel elements and radioactive waste. Due to safety and proliferation concerns, however the disposal of radioactive waste should not be considered a national matter. National frameworks and policies are designed in accordance with standards and guidelines set at, and agreed to at the international level. These are laid down in international agreements and conventions.
Maria Rosaria Di Nucci, Ana María Isidoro Losada

Countries with Geological Disposal after Reprocessing Nuclear Fuel


Multiple Challenges

Nuclear Waste Governance in the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has a long history of both military and civilian activity in nuclear technology. In the early days of nuclear development, especially the 1950s, there was neglect of waste management, and this neglect has serious consequences in the present. It leads directly to the first major challenge for UK nuclear waste governance: extracting, characterising and safely packaging large quantities of legacy wastes, especially those held at Sellafield. Much more publicity attaches to the second challenge, which is the search for an acceptable long-term management route for wastes, especially the search for a suitable and acceptable site for deep geological disposal of higher activity wastes.
Gordon MacKerron

Megaproject Underway

Governance of Nuclear Waste Management in France
Given France’s role as a nuclear energy “superpower”, with 58 nuclear reactors supplying 75% of the electricity consumed in the country, the current French plans for the creation of a deep geological disposal repository for intermediatelevel long-lived and high-level radioactive waste (ILW-LL and HLW) have been generating worldwide interest. The search for a site has been ongoing since the late 1970s, when the government declared deep geological disposal as the preferred option for radioactive waste management. However, like in many other countries where nuclear power is used, the site investigations conducted in the late 1980s generated intense local opposition, prompting the government to declare a one-year moratorium on the search of a site in 1990. After extensive consultation, the Parliament adopted a law on the management of radioactive waste in 1991; it was the country’s first law on nuclear power.
Markku Lehtonen

Countries With Direct Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel (Including Cases with Additional Disposal of Radioactive Waste from Reprocessing)


Advanced Research, Lagging Policy

Nuclear Waste Governance in Belgium
Belgium developed a rather extensive nuclear research and development (R&D) programme quite early due to the ready supply of uranium from the former colony of Congo and its contribution to the Manhattan project. Belgium, once had the national ambition of developing a full nuclear fuel cycle. Nuclear power provides 52% of the national electricity supply in Belgium in 2014. Belgium’s seven reactors – four in the Flemish municipality of Doel, three in the Walloon municipality of Tihange – became operational between 1975 and 1985. The history of the Belgian nuclear programme is for a large part one of ‘fait accompli’ politics and has been characterized by a general lack of transparent decision making (Laes et al. 2007).
Jantine Schröder, Anne Bergmans, Erik Laes

Participation under Tricky Conditions

The Swiss Nuclear Waste Strategy Based on the Sectoral Plan
There has been a considerable delay in constructing civil repositories for high active waste considering former time schedules established by industrial countries with developed nuclear sectors. Only a few countries like Sweden and Finland have been making good progress. Others are far behind their original schedule, but have recently made some progress. This progress in decisionmaking is happening in Switzerland, where an elaborated site selection procedure with a strong promise of substantial participation started in 2008 (SFOE 2008).
Peter Hocke, Sophie Kuppler

Always the Same Old Story?

Nuclear Waste Governance in Germany
German nuclear waste management policy envisages geological disposal for all kinds of nuclear waste. The Konrad repository near Salzgitter in northern Germany which is licensed and designated to deal with “non-heat-generating” waste (roughly comparable to the categories of low- and intermediate-level waste according to the IAEA classification) is currently under construction. Earlier the Asse research mine (from 1967 to 1978) and the Morsleben repository “ERAM” (from 1971 to 1991 and from 1994 to 1998) situated in the former German Democratic Republic were also used to dispose of low- and intermediate level waste. However, a disposal solution for “heat-generating” waste, which is mainly spent fuel from nuclear power plants and vitrified high-level waste from reprocessing, is still pending.
Peter Hocke, Beate Kallenbach-Herbert

Model or Muddle?

Governance and Management of Radioactive Waste in Sweden
The governance and management of radioactive waste in Sweden is often seen as a model for the world. Since the 1980s, the radioactive waste company SKB, which is owned by the Swedish nuclear operators and is legally responsible for radioactive management, has internationally encouraged the idea that Sweden “has solved the radioactive waste problem”. The government has generally been pleased with this situation and has for many years presented the Swedish legislation as a governance model for other nations to follow.
Tomas Kåberger, Johan Swahn

A Final Solution for a Big Challenge

The Governance of Nuclear Waste Disposal in Finland
Finland is one of the first countries to try to solve one of the most important and pressing problems facing mankind: the secure final disposal of high-level radioactive waste. Fortum Oyj and Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO), the two companies that own the existing nuclear power plants in Finland, formed in 1996 a joint company, Posiva Oy, to deal with their nuclear waste. The site and the project to create the final disposal solution is called Onkalo. The construction of the site at Olkiluoto in South-Western Finland began in 2004; the operating company Posiva is aiming to start the disposal of high level waste in 2020.
Burkhard Auffermann, Pertti Suomela, Jari Kaivo-oja, Jarmo Vehmas, Jyrki Luukkanen

The Trouble with Democracy

The Challenges of Nuclear Waste Governance in the Czech Republic
Since the mid 1980s, the Czech Republic has been trying in vain to find a site to deposit four to nine thousand tonnes of spent nuclear fuel from the Dukovany and Temelín nuclear power plants. The total amount of nuclear waste to be deposited became clear when the electricity company ČEZ, which is owned predominantly by the Czech State, decided to stop its tender for a supplier of equipment for new nuclear reactors at Temelín or Dukovany on April 10, 2014. Besides the official reasons given by the State, namely the instability of the European energy sector, the real reason that the tender was stopped was the economics behind new nuclear reactors, which cannot compete with the market price of electricity at €33.55/MWh (EEX 2015 price by June 3, 2014).
Martin Bursík

“Yucca Mountain is Dead”

The Challenge of Nuclear Waste Governance in the United States
The United States faces unique and complex challenges in relation to the management of its large volume of high-level radioactive waste (HLW). This is due in part to the especially long history and large-scale nature of the country’s nuclear research and power generation programs. Radioactive waste has been generated for more than half a century in connection with both civilian and military activities (and has been managed under a bifurcated system of separate civilian and military management procedures).
Richard A. Forrest

Countries with Long-Term Surface Storage for High Level Radioactive Waste


With Access to the Future

Nuclear Waste Governance in The Netherlands
Nuclear waste governance in the Netherlands has been almost permanently on the national government’s political agenda ever since the start of the Dutch nuclear energy program. The Dutch program was initiated by the U.S. Atoms for Peace program, which acted domestically as a guide in the development of the Dutch program. Nuclear waste became part of this nuclear program and, at certain points in time, the governance of nuclear waste itself became a hot topic, one that was fiercely disputed and much debated.
Maarten J. Arentsen

Breaking the Stalemate

The Challenge of Nuclear Waste Governance in Italy
The governance of radioactive waste in Italy is burdened by the legacy of over 50 years of discontinuous nuclear research as well as by incoherent technology and industrial policies. Nuclear waste management cannot be separated from the broader political debate on nuclear power, which was and remains a highly political issue. Italy has only a very modest park of four permanently shut-down power plants. Spent fuel (SF) and radioactive waste (RW) are being temporarily stored in at least 21 sites (Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) 2013), some of which are dedicated to fuel reprocessing and manufacturing.
Maria Rosaria Di Nucci

Subject to Political Capture?

Nuclear Waste Governance in Spain
In Spain, political decision-making processes are characterised by complex, intertwined relationships and interactions between the different politicalterritorial levels. According to the Spanish Constitution of 1978, the central Government, has devolved or transferred power and competences to the regional authorities, which also have certain exclusive powers. Since 1983, autonomous statutes have been approved for all 17 regional governments of the country, the Autonomous Communities (ACs).
Ana María Isidoro Losada


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