Constructing acceptable RWM approaches: The politics of participation

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Abstract

Public participation in a complex technological issue such as the management of radioactive waste needs to be based on a simultaneous construction of scientific, ethical and socio-political foundations. Confronting this challenge is in no way straightforward. The problem is not only that the ‘hard’ technocrats downplay the importance of socio-political and ethical factors; also, our ‘soft’ ethical vocabularies (e.g. Habermasian ‘discourse ethics’) seem to be ill-equipped for tackling such complex questions (in terms of finding concrete solutions). On the other hand, professionals in the field, confronted with a (sometimes urgent) need for finding workable solutions, cannot wait for armchair philosophers to formulate the correct academic answers to their questions. Different public participation and communication models have been developed and tested in real-world conditions, for instance in the Belgian ‘partnership approach’ to the siting of a low-level waste management facility. Starting from the confrontation of theoretical outlooks and pragmatic solutions, this paper identifies a number of ‘dilemmas of participation’ that can only be resolved by inherently political choices.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Accomplishments in Environmental and Radioactive Waste Management: HLW, TRU, LL/ILW, Mixed Hazardous Waste and Environmental Management
Place of PublicationTucson, United States
Pages1-15
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006
EventGlobal Accomplishments in Environmental and Radioactive Waste Management: HLW, TRU, LL/ILW, Mixed Hazardous Waste and Environmental Management - WM Symposia, Inc., Tucson, United States
Duration: 26 Feb 20062 Mar 2006

Conference

ConferenceGlobal Accomplishments in Environmental and Radioactive Waste Management: HLW, TRU, LL/ILW, Mixed Hazardous Waste and Environmental Management
CountryUnited States
CityTucson
Period2006-02-262006-03-02

Keywords

  • radioactive waste management, participation, political theory

ID: 137793