In the area of radioactive waste management, the regulator or safety authority has emerged in recent years as a principal actor in the eyes of civil society. This study shows how regulators are increasing their interaction with society while still retaining – or reinforcing – their independence and how they play their role within the stepwise licensing and decision-making processes now adopted in most countries. Safety is ensured by a “regulatory system”, in which a host of players, including local stakeholders, have a vital role to play. The technical regulator has come to be considered as the “people’s expert”, concentrating knowledge useful to local communities as they deliberate the hosting of a waste storage or disposal facility. This report provides a useful update on the changing role of the regulator as well as insights that will be helpful to the many countries that are considering, or are preparing for, storage or disposal of radioactive waste either in near-surface facilities or deeper underground. While it focuses on the developments in waste management and disposal, the trends it describes are probably relevant throughout the nuclear field.