Siting Low-Level Radioactive Waste Facilities

Joseph Di Mento
William Lambert
Luis Suarez-Villa
James Tripodes

DOI: 10.2190/J56A-BA1T-WL9K-Q3TY


Siting of low-level radioactive waste (LLW) facilities poses a significant planning challenge—one that must be addressed under federal law by 1986. While the public is apprehensive about LLW, it shows no indication of stopping consumption of goods and services which generate it. The siting activity, possessing some unique complicating characteristics, falls within a class of activities defined by uncertain costs and both discreet localized and pervasive societal benefits. This article describes a siting process for LLW facilities. It addresses siting as a sociopolitical as well as a technical problem. Roles for a range of actors interested in siting are identified and stages in choosing sites are described. Degrees of involvement for each set of actors at each stage in siting are suggested. The process is conceptualized as one of state directed balancing under a large number of technical and social constraints. A central role for elected officials is developed and the need for identification of a managing "lead agency" is recognized; but tie process relies on participation by all affected actors.

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