Problems and Prospects for Nuclear Waste Disposal Policy

By Eric B. Herzik; Alvin H. Mushkatel | Go to book overview

form. These problems are, of course, traditionally the province of the administrator. In casting light upon three particularly demanding challenges radioactive waste managers face, however, I have tried to show not only that organization and management are critical to nuclear waste policy development, but also that broader external learning and attention to the management dimension will enhance the chances of policy success.


NOTES
1.
It is important to note that as of Spring 1993, the Secretary of Energy's Advisory Board Task Force on Civilian Radioactive Waste Management is scrutinizing organizational and managerial problems, including a review by the National Academy of Public Administration of "best practices."
2.
This seems particularly true of the low-level waste problem, in which the federal government left not only the details of administration but also policy development generally to the states. The states in turn have struggled to give adequate attention to organization and management issues in the low-level waste policies they have developed. Regional compacts created by groups of states to handle low-level waste disposal pose particularly challenging questions about the choice of implementing organizations and management strategies that are beyond the scope of this chapter.
3.
One might argue that private entities have an advantage because they can draw on the resources generated through some other business activity not subject to the same scrutiny and control their waste management business will entail. A company's major stockholders and Wall Street bond rating firms might have something to say about that, however, as will general market forces. Moreover, citizens and policymakers will insist on exacting regulation of private firms doing waste management work, and that invariably requires public agency involvement.
4.
In allowing, or forcing, waste management organizations to go out of business, the nation would be resisting their institutionalization, thus contradicting Weinberg's assertion that institutionalization is both necessary and inevitable.
5.
The quasi-experimental work of Elliott ( 1984) suggests that the concerns of the general public about the risks of hazardous facilities may not be entirely consistent with the political demand for error minimization. In communities proposed as sites for facilities, people appear more worried about detecting hazardous conditions that may arise and implementing mitigation measures speedily than they are concerned about preventing dangerous conditions from arising through sophisticated modeling and advanced technologies. The dominance of the politics of public risk by formally organized, self-proclaimed public interest groups that have helped to shape the regulatory process and then to use it effectively to forestall facility development as much as to ensure its safety may explain the discrepancy.
6.
This is the conception of risk communications under development by Roger Kasperson and his colleagues in the Center for Technology, Environment, and Development at Clark University.

-72-

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