The Construction of Agency in Practice
Edited by Göran Sundström, Linda Soneryd and Staffan Furusten
Chapter 8: By a Stretch of the Imagination. Public Involvement in Nuclear Waste Management
Linda Soneryd Sweden’s management of its nuclear waste is often held up as an extraordinary international example. Whereas most other countries using nuclear power face local protests against planned disposal facilities, two municipalities in Sweden, Oskarshamn and Östhammar, have agreed to allow the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB) to make detailed site investigations in their municipalities. According to opinion polls, a large proportion of the population in both these communities is positive towards a future nuclear waste disposal in their hometown (Sjöberg 2006). SKB is a private company owned by the nuclear power industry, and tasked with the safe management and disposal of radioactive waste from the Swedish nuclear power plants. For 30 years, its programme for fulfilling this mandate has been subject to reviews and demands for revision, and step by step it has received formal government approval. SKB has undertaken extensive research, developed a concept for final disposal, and through a range of devices such as safety analyses and full-scale experiments, has demonstrated that its current management of radioactive materials and its plans for their final storage meet the safety requirements of Swedish law – that the storage is safe for 100 000 years. The KBS-3 concept, developed by SKB, means that the spent nuclear fuel be encapsulated in copper canisters, which are to be deposited in the bedrock at a depth of 500 metres, and embedded in clay. A nuclear waste facility has substantial implications for the environment, and the developer, SKB, is subject...
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