Radwaste policy is not an environmental policy alone. Such a onedimensional view cannot explain why radwastes have been dealt with in such divergent ways in the UK, the Federal Republic of Germany and Sweden. In the preceding three chapters I have sought to detail the political economy of decision-making. In probing deeper, a more complex picture has emerged. In particular, I have stressed the connections between radwaste policy and the establishment, rejection and maintenance of a spent-fuel reprocessing capability. This has been the setting for the deeper questions surrounding the establishment of a boundary of control.
Radwaste policy cannot be separated from the way in which the nuclear-fuel cycle is organized in a country. This organization is driven by a network of operational, industrial, strategic and military goals (or interests) which have traditionally been neatly encompassed by the commitment to reprocessing. In drawing out this connection, radwaste management is shown to be a problem which is central to the whole nuclear enterprise, not simply a peripheral and separate aspect of it. Moreover, historical experience has proved that the acceptability of radwaste management is related, directly or indirectly, to the non-environmental goals which sustain nuclear power.
In a simple sense this is inevitable, since the nuclear industry has the unique property that all the materials it handles and produces are toxic to humans. The defining characteristic of nuclear technology is that it must control the flows of all these materials. Nuclear technologies are technologies of containment. Each extension of that technology, especially extensions which produce or anticipate a magnification of the task of containment, will alter in scale and principle the way in which the problem of waste management is perceived; waste management being itself one component of the goal of containment.
In this chapter I will attempt to set out a simple conceptual framework to analyse the various dimensions of radwaste policy-making. I make no