Decommissioning is the inevitable final phase in the life of a nuclear power plant. Research and development to date have been largely technical in nature, despite the substantial past importance of geosocial issues such as emergency preparedness and transboundary pollution. Thus far public inputs have been minor and without measurable effect. Public recognition and the potential for public impact on decommissioning policy is increasing in both countries, although government agencies and utilities are taking little account of it. This article uses experience in the U.S. and Great Britain to address the question of what the geosocial context of nuclear decommissioning is, and how this context will affect nuclear policy. The discussion focuses on four themes: the geosocial 'signature' of decommissioning, the emerging interest in decommissioning, decommissioning as the next nuclear leap of faith, and decommissioning as the next focus of nuclear power policy. It is recommended that five areas of public involvement need careful attention: public perceptions, socioeconomic impacts, land use, waste disposal, and economics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science