Paris, 1 February 2001
More than 70 participants assembled last week in Switzerland, at an international workshop convened by the NEA to discuss ways to better integrate radiation protection in modern society in the light of emerging expectations of stakeholders (such as the affected public, environmental organisations, future generations, elected officials, etc.) to participate in the decision-making processes in this field.
There was wide recognition in the meeting that radiation science alone is not a sufficient basis for decisions, and that a decision-making process involving societal participation is necessary to arrive at acceptable solutions to existing problems in this area.
Case studies highlighted specific national experience with stakeholder involvement in decision-making, and the contribution of international expertise and organisations to decision-making processes was also explored. The presentation of additional experience from risk governance in other areas, e.g. chemical risks, added to the breadth of the workshop.
Several stakeholder groups were represented at the workshop, including representatives of municipalities and environmental groups. Social scientists and government decision makers discussed the socio-political framework of decision-making in contentious situations. Based on experience in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, successful processes of involving stakeholders and building social trust were analysed and lessons learnt were presented
This workshop was the second to be organised by the NEA with the intention of exploring the societal aspects of radiation protection. The NEA will continue to study ways in which radiation protection policy, regulation and application can evolve to better support the needs of modern societal risk governance. It is expected that the lessons learnt could also provide useful input to other research projects being conducted by the NEA in the broader context of civil society and risk governance.