How Can we Deal with NIMBY in Nuclear Waste Management?

by Egon R. Frech, AECL Research, Pinawa, Canada,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1991


The effects of the NIMBY Syndrome on the siting of nuclear waste disposal facilities are described, and its causes are examined. The failure of traditional siting approaches and communications programs to deal with NIMBY reactions is analyzed. Practices and trends in OECD countries for public participation in siting and for the provision of economic and other incentives to communities are briefly described. A hypothesis is advanced that one of the primary causes of NIMBY is a community perception of an inadequate risk-benefit ratio from a proposed project or facility. It is suggested that dealing with the causes of the adverse risk perception, together with offering offsetting benefits, may be a way to minimize the occurrence of NIMBY. Specifically, it is proposed that empowering a community to make a decision on whether or not to accept a disposal facility has the potential for significantly reducing the community's perception of the risk, and therefore enhancing the possibility of success of the siting effort.

Subject Headings: Radioactive wastes | Waste management | Waste disposal | Management methods | Waste sites | Risk management | Public opinion and participation

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