LEC Seminar - 'Citizen and expert perspectives on repository monitoring in the geological disposal of radioactive waste'
Peter Simmons, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
Tuesday 25 June 2013, 1300-1400
Lecture Theatre 10, Management School Building
International programs to develop a solution to the problem of high-level radioactive waste have largely converged on geological disposal. As these efforts move closer to licensing and implementation, increasing attention is being given to the challenges of developing strategies and specific technologies for repository monitoring. In this presentation I shall examine the different meanings associated with repository monitoring by citizens from affected communities. I draw upon work carried out as part of a European FP7 project: Monitoring Developments for Safe Repository Operation and Staged Closure (MoDeRn). This includes workshops conducted in three countries - Belgium, Sweden and the United Kingdom - with citizens living in affected communities and a stakeholder visit to research facilities in Switzerland. What we find in these discussions are societal demands-in-the-making of repository monitoring. The paper considers the tensions between citizens' constructions of monitoring - and of associated roles and responsibilities - and those of the expert implementer community. I shall conclude by reflecting on the implications of these nascent demands for current efforts to achieve the 'passivication' of higher activity radioactive wastes and the pacification of social conflicts around radioactive waste disposal.