Index > 2 Development of a strategy, implementation and execution program to remediate radioactively contaminated sites >

2.10.6 Societal and ethical challenges relating to long term stewardship

The societal aspects of long term stewardship may present several important challenges, such as [IAEA-2006c]:

  • Building trust at the stakeholders. Stakeholders in the specific case of long term stewardship may be different as during the remediation of the site and should be identified;
  • Communicating the nature of the risks and of the remediation and stewardship;
  • Defining societal criteria for defining and implementing stewardship strategies;
  • Managing ethical questions and engaging stakeholders in the decision making process and thereafter retaining stakeholder commitment 16.
  • Keeping stakeholders involved;
  • Reconciling economic, management and technical issues with considerations of public values and beliefs.

Contaminated sites are socially constructed risks. As in the case of most socially mediated risks, the significance – and hence the acceptability – to an individual, to members of a community or to a society, of exposure (or a danger of exposure) to a dose, depends on how, by whom and why the dose has been produced. Correspondingly, in order to assess to what extent or on what basis the members of a society will judge acceptable (or not) a given strategy for management of high level long-lived radioactive residues, it is necessary also to consider the meanings and relationships (in social, economic, cultural and symbolic terms) that alternative remediation and stewardship strategies might establish between the people – individuals, classes, interest groups, succeeding generations and whole nations – implicated in the site stewardship process.