Managing Nuclear Waste: Social and Economic Impacts

by R. C. Hemphill, Argonne Natl Lab, Argonne, IL, USA,
G. W. Bassett, Jr., Argonne Natl Lab, Argonne, IL, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1993


Recent research has focused on perceptions of risk as a dominant source of economic impacts due to siting a high level radioactive waste facility. This article addresses the social and economic considerations involved with the issue of risk perception and other types of negative imagery. Emphasis is placed on ways of measuring the potential for economic effects resulting from perceptions prior to construction and operation of a HLW facility. We describe the problems in arriving at defensible estimates of economic impacts. Our review has found that although legal and regulatory bases may soon allow inclusion of these impacts in EIS and for compensation purposes, credible scientific methods do not currently exist for predicting the existence or magnitude of changes in economic decision-making. Policy-makers should recognize the potential for perception-based economic impacts in determining the location and means of managing radioactive waste; but, they also need be cognizant of the current limitations of quantitative estimates of impacts in this area.

Subject Headings: Economic factors | Radioactive wastes | Waste storage | Waste disposal | Social factors | Waste management | Risk management

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