The project is designed to respond to the social and political challenges to successful implementation of radioactive waste management programmes. Testing and implementing novel approaches to public participation and transparency in direct connection with repository development programs will result in guidance for further progress by showing ways forward and suggesting concrete schemes for establishing a safe space for participation and transparency, leading to increasing awareness among decision makers, stakeholders and the general public of the issues involved. A ‘toolbox’ of approaches and methods for public participation will be developed that can be accessed by interested agencies and implementing bodies wishing to select and apply particular approaches in particular situations.
A major challenge in technology development is often to devise a proper plan which will give all stakeholders the possibility of influencing decision making without creating blockages. It is the intention here that decision making processes will to some degree be “vaccinated” against unnecessarily narrow framing and fragmentation that later may become serious obstacles or blockages to decision making. Experience shows that such narrow framing has often resulted by application of technical expertise alone, without proper acknowledgement of the broader societal perspectives. It could also be the result of other stakeholders, or even the social sciences, neglecting the “hard facts”.