American Society of Civil Engineers

The Management of Radioactive Waste in the European Union.Opinions, Situation and Proposal for Changes

by Derek M. Taylor, (Advisor, Nuclear Energy, Directorate-General for Energy and Transport, European Commission, B-1049 Brussels, Belgium. E-mail:

Practice Periodical of Hazardous, Toxic, and Radioactive Waste Management, Vol. 9, No. 1, January 2005, pp. 13-19, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: Radioactive waste is seen by many as the major issue for nuclear energy in the European Union (EU). Public opinion surveys conducted by the European Commission show that while they know little about radioactive waste, the public feels concerned about it. A solution to the waste issue is a vital issue in determining public perception. Few realize that the EU has already disposed safely of much of the waste it has produced. However, no long-lived intermediate or high-level radioactive waste has yet been disposed of in the European Union. Geological disposal is identified by nearly all experts in the field of waste management as the only safe and sustainable option presently available, but progress towards its implementation is slow. Lack of public acceptance in the identification of new sites is compounded by failures to take decisions at the political level. New European legislation has been proposed to help guarantee greater progress, but this has not yet been adopted.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Waste disposal
Radioactive wastes
Waste management
Public opinion