Engaging with local communities and stakeholders from younger generations must be a key focus for the nuclear energy industry in the planning and installment of radioactive waste disposal facilities. This is an important area of work for the Nuclear Energy Agency’s Forum on Stakeholder Confidence (FSC).
From October 5-7 in Dessel, Belgium, more than 50 local stakeholders, students from several countries and experts in stakeholder engagement and radioactive waste management convened for an FSC workshop to discuss the challenges faced when trying to proactively engage the public on long-term technical and social issues such as radioactive waste disposal facilities.
Participants at the NEA's the Forum on Stakeholder Confidence in Dessel, Belgium. Photo credit: ONDRAF/NIRAS
The FSC works to address the challenges associated with societal issues related to radioactive waste management (RWM) and to identify and develop best practice for stakeholder engagement in this field. Members come from varied backgrounds, representing implementers, regulators, organisations supporting both, and research organisations from countries with radioactive waste disposal programmes.
The FSC National Workshops, held since 2001, bring together FSC members with a broad representation of national and local stakeholders which allow for in-depth discussions involving national case studies. This most recent workshop particularly focused on engaging stakeholders from younger generations in the long-term issues around radioactive waste disposal facilities.
Deputy Assistant Secretary at U.S. Department of Energy, Sam Brinton, addressing FSC workshop participants. Photo credit: ONDRAF/NIRAS
During the first day, the participants learned about the Belgian experience of the STORA and MONA partnerships with the opportunity to compare this to approaches adopted in other countries. They also had the opportunity to explore the newly opened Tabloo visitor center and its interactive science exhibit dedicated to radioactivity.
Over the next two days, the participants shared insights, experiences and findings on the issues of long-term participation and intergenerational challenges. Specialists from the nuclear field discussed with local stakeholders from Belgium and Germany, as well as young representatives from Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland.
To learn more about the NEA's Forum on Stakeholder Confidence, visit here.