Modernising optimisation in decision-making

The Workshop Programme Committee

The NEA has started preparing its third Stakeholder Involvement Workshop. After two successful events in 2017 and 2019, the third edition of the series will focus on optimisation in decision-making. The Workshop Programme Committee, which was established to define the main objectives of the event and develop an agenda, met for the first time on 5 January 2022.

Optimisation in decision-making can be applied to the whole range of nuclear and radiation-related policies, regulations, and practices. The way it is applied has changed in recent years as society has evolved to promote an inclusive and holistic decision-making process, supported by new approaches as outlined for example in the OECD’s Systemic Thinking for Policy Making or the NEA’s Towards an All-Hazards Approach to Emergency Preparedness and Response - Lessons Learnt from Non-Nuclear Events. At the same time, experience, including from the first two NEA Stakeholder Involvement Workshops, has shown that there is a need to develop a framework in which different aspects that are impacted by a decision can be balanced to support optimised decision-making and determine the level of tolerance of risk and uncertainty. A key factor in the successful development of such a framework is the close involvement of and engagement with stakeholders.

One of the goals of the third NEA Stakeholder Involvement Workshop is to explore opportunities for the creation of a generic multidimensional framework to support optimisation in decision-making across the nuclear sector. The Workshop Programme Committee members broadly represent the different NEA Standing Technical Committees, which ensures that the focus of the workshop will be relevant across different sectors.

During the meeting, three overarching objectives for the workshop were discussed and endorsed:

  • Improve the common, practical understanding of what optimisation in decision-making means across the nuclear sector and compare it with non-nuclear sectors;
  • Increase consideration of inclusive stakeholder involvement to optimise decision-making in the nuclear sector;
  • Identify the foundation of a generic multidimensional framework to support the optimisation process.

In the past, a number of workshops organised by the NEA have looked at optimisation in specific contexts, such as the NEA/DSA Workshop on “Regulatory Framework of Decommissioning, Legacy Sites and Wastes from Recognition to Resolution: Building Optimization into the Process”, the NEA Workshop on “Optimisation: Rethinking the Art of the Reasonable”, or the NEA Workshop on “Multifactor Optimisation of Predisposal Management of Radioactive Waste”. Next to the need for improved stakeholder involvement and situation-specific solutions, these workshops have established that there currently is a lack of cross-sector understanding of what optimisation in decision-making means in the nuclear field.

A series of events will be organised in 2022 to improve the common, practical understanding of what optimisation in decision-making means. The findings will be used as basis for discussions during the main workshop, which will be held in 2023. All these events will also focus on how to improve stakeholder involvement.

More information on the format and venue of the events will be announced in due course.  

See also