Options for Developing Public and Stakeholder Engagement for the Storage and Management of Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) and High Level Waste (HLW) in the United States A Technical report prepared for the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future
watershed planning, Environmental Policy & Governance 21(6):472-486. Webler, T., Tuler, S. and Rose, E. 2011. Options for Developing Public and Stakeholder Engagement for the Storage and Management of Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) and High Level Waste (HLW) in the United States. A Technical report prepared for the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future. Washington, DC: Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future. Available online at: www.brc.gov/commissioned_papers.html

Publication Abstract

This report puts forth a number of options and recommendations for how to engage stakeholders and other members of the public in the storage and management of spent nuclear fuel and high level waste in the United States. The options are generated from a scientific review of existing publications proposing criteria for assessing past efforts to engage publics and stakeholders in decision-making about risky technologies.  A set of nine principles are derived for evaluating cases of public and stakeholder engagement with the intention of deriving lessons for spent nuclear fuel and high level waste management in the United States. We evaluate nine cases, including siting processes for nuclear repositories in Europe and Canada and interim storage in Utah. We also examined case studies in the United States about the siting of a carbon capture and storage facility, siting highly contested marine protected areas in California, clean-up of a former nuclear weapons facility, and developing consensual regional forest policy in New England. One of the most important take home lessons is that it is important to view the SNF management and disposal problem as a system with many interconnected elements. Moving forward on one element while ignoring others is likely to lead to unsuccessful outcomes. A second important lesson is the need for a diagnostic and adaptive framework for designing and implementing public and stakeholder engagement.