Is there a Nordic model of final disposal of spent nuclear fuel? Governance insights from Finland and Sweden

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© 2016 Elsevier Ltd This paper explores citizen participation in Swedish and Finnish regulatory processes for final disposal of spent nuclear fuel (SNF). Finland and Sweden are considered the most advanced worldwide in term of SNF disposal plans. Our aim is to analyze the institutional waste management frameworks, focusing on the role of civil society organizations (CSOs); how lay-people and civil society organizations have been able to participate and contribute to radioactive waste licensing processes; and the nature of radioactive waste risk debates. We review official documents of the waste companies and nuclear safety authorities, plus information from civil society organizations and laypeople. Our theoretical framework takes a civil regulation perspective, which is oriented towards institutional issues. The analysis indicates that civil regulation of SNF is better established in Sweden than in Finland because of institutional arrangements and the more controversial nature of nuclear power. Swedish civil regulation resembles a more liberal approach, whereas in the Finnish case technocratic domination is more evident and therefore CSOs have been left to choose critical, confrontational and antagonist civil regulation strategies producing dispersed and random civil regulation. We conclude that due to differences in civil regulation there is not a Nordic model for SNF disposal.

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Energy Research and Social Science