More than 50 stakeholders and international experts in stakeholder engagement, radioactive waste, decommissioning and legacy management convened in Ohio, United States, for the 13th National Workshop organised by the NEA Forum on Stakeholder Confidence (FSC). Held on 23-25 October 2023, the workshop focused on the challenges related to proactive public engagement when decommissioning nuclear facilities, managing radioactive waste or dealing with legacy sites.
The workshop started with discussions about the local experience in decommissioning and legacy management, which was presented by speakers from the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. The next two days were dedicated to visits of the DOE Portsmouth and Fernald sites where the international experts were able to engage with local communities who have experienced the highs and lows of interactions involving complex environmental issues.
These exchanges allowed to discuss the best ways to foster engagement from local communities in decommissioning and legacy management projects. It was also an opportunity for participants to explore the similarities and differences between stakeholder engagement in decommissioning, legacy management and radioactive waste management.
Workshop participants emphasised that the event and the visits provided them with clear examples of how local communities can shape the future of the project, as well as better a understanding of the importance of proactive and sincere engagement with local stakeholders.
Since its creation in 2000, the FSC has been working to address the challenges associated with societal issues related to radioactive waste management (RWM) and to develop stakeholder engagement in this field. Forum members come from diverse backgrounds, representing implementers, regulators, organisations supporting both, as well as research organisations from countries with radioactive waste disposal programmes. The FSC National Workshops bring together FSC members with a broad representation of national and local stakeholders. They allow in-depth discussions involving national case studies, as well as listending to and learning from local stakeholders. In this manner, they foster a deeper understanding of the issues and themes that must be addressed in this field: how societal dialogues on RWM may be built and developped.