Public participation in a complex technological issue such as the management of radioactive waste needs to be based on a simultaneous construction of scientific, ethical and socio-political foundations. Confronting this challenge is in no way straightforward. The problem is not only that the ‘hard’ technocrats downplay the importance of socio-political and ethical factors; also, our ‘soft’ ethical vocabularies (e.g. Habermasian ‘discourse ethics’) seem to be ill-equipped for tackling such complex questions (in terms of finding concrete solutions). On the other hand, professionals in the field, confronted with a (sometimes urgent) need for finding workable solutions, cannot wait for armchair philosophers to formulate the correct academic answers to their questions. Different public participation and communication models have been developed and tested in real-world conditions, for instance in the Belgian ‘partnership approach’ to the siting of a low-level waste management facility. Starting from the confrontation of theoretical outlooks and pragmatic solutions, this paper identifies a number of ‘dilemmas of participation’ that can only be resolved by inherently political choices.
|Title of host publication||Global Accomplishments in Environmental and Radioactive Waste Management: HLW, TRU, LL/ILW, Mixed Hazardous Waste and Environmental Management|
|Place of Publication||Tucson, United States|
|State||Published - Feb 2006|
|Event||Global Accomplishments in Environmental and Radioactive Waste Management: HLW, TRU, LL/ILW, Mixed Hazardous Waste and Environmental Management - WM Symposia, Inc., Tucson|
Duration: 26 Feb 2006 → 2 Mar 2006
|Conference||Global Accomplishments in Environmental and Radioactive Waste Management: HLW, TRU, LL/ILW, Mixed Hazardous Waste and Environmental Management|
|Period||2006-02-26 → 2006-03-02|