Can Science and the Public Collaborate on the Global Future of Nuclear Waste?

Sunday, February 19, 2012: 1:30 PM-4:30 PM
Room 114-115 (VCC West Building)
Nuclear power is seen as a key component for meeting the world's energy needs while coping with climate-change problems. Despite the disaster at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant in March 2011, many nations are still pursuing nuclear power as part of their energy mix. From that disaster, public knowledge has grown about the radiation risks of “temporary” storage of nuclear waste at nuclear plants. However, most individuals are unaware of long-term plans being made in Canada, Sweden, and Finland to deal with the thousands of tons of current and projected future high-level nuclear wastes. These three countries are working on centralized nuclear waste solutions that involve both technological and public input. The unsuccessful attempt in the United States to use Yucca Mountain for civilian nuclear waste is coloring plans for a centralized nuclear waste repository. After rejecting Yucca Mountain as a viable solution, President Obama appointed the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future to seek other solutions. This commission, due to deliver its final report in late 2011, is not only considering technical issues, but also concerns such as public trust and engagement as well as risk perception and communication in its deliberations. This session will explore how, in these four countries, scientific, social science, and public input are all needed to reach a viable solution for disposing of wastes, a key barrier to a global nuclear future.
Sharon M. Friedman, Lehigh University
Eugene Rosa, Washington State University
Thomas Isaacs, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Allison Macfarlane, George Mason University
A New Dawn? The U.S. Experience in Nuclear Waste Disposal
Tapio Litmanen, University of Jyväskylä
Adaptation and Resistance a Repository in Finland
Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Council of Canadian Academies
A Contract Between Science and Society About Nuclear Waste
Thomas Webler, Social and Environmental Research Institute; Eugene A. Rosa, Washington State University
The Path Forward: Principles and Strategies for Democratic Management of U.S. Nuclear Waste
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