IAEA showcase for public participation at Dounreay

IAEA showcase for public participation at Dounreay

Dounreay’s approach to involving stakeholders in decisions about the clean-up and closure of the site is featured in a new publication from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

An Overview of Stakeholder Involvement in Decommissioning brings together international experience to assist countries and organisations in the development of their own programmes.

June Love, of Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd, was among a group of 10 experts from seven countries brought together by the IAEA to compile the report.

It acknowledges that the impact of stakeholders on decommissioning projects is “more far reaching than deemed possible only a few years ago” and the 192-page document fills a gap in IAEA’s series of technical reports on decommissioning.

The report describes how the change from operations to decommissioning at Dounreay at the turn of the century led to greater involvement by stakeholders in decisions about the site.

Public participation became an integral part of the process of deciding the “best practicable environmental option” for specific clean-up tasks.

The report highlights in particular the work carried out by Dounreay Stakeholder Group and the site in 2006 and 2007 to reach a consensus on the preferred “end state” for clean-up and closure of the site.

Public participation in the Dounreay programme has been led since its launch in 2002 by June Love. She works with stakeholders on the socio-economic impact of site closure and is also secretary of Dounreay Stakeholder Group.

“Decommissioning of the site has benefited from involving stakeholders at an early stage in the assessment of options for deciding the best solutions to particular issues,” she explained.

“It has improved public understanding of the issues and enabled project managers to make decisions that are underpinned by greater knowledge of what is acceptable to the public.

“I was delighted to be asked by the IAEA to share our experience in this field with colleagues from other countries where similar programmes have developed.”

The full report is available on the IAEA website.

The synopsis states: “The way in which local communities and other interested parties are engaged in dialogue about the decommissioning of nuclear facilities is likely to become an increasingly important issue as the number of decommissioning projects increases. This report identifies the broad range of stakeholders, their interests and interactions, and how these have affected actual decommissioning projects. The report takes into due account the environmental, sociopolitical, economic and cultural diversity among IAEA Member States, as well as the work of other organizations, in particular the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD/NEA). As a result, this publication presents a thorough analysis of concerns typical for stakeholders and the approaches that have been adopted to reconcile them.”