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Partitioning and Transmutation of Nuclear Waste: Evaluation of Societal Implications

Volume 11, Number 6, November 2015 - Paper 3 - pp. 549-558


1. Acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering, Hofgartenstraße
2. D- 80539 München, GERMANY2. ZIRIUS, Stuttgart Research Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies, GERMANY

(Received on January 21, 2015, revised on July 06, 2015)


The technology of Partitioning and Transmutation (P&T), which could be used to convert part of the long-lived high-level radioactive substances contained in spent fuel rods into shorter-lived fission products, is currently under research and development. It could provide one means of reducing the long-term hazard potential of heat-generating waste.

In an interdisciplinary project the technological and societal risks and opportunities of P&T have been discussed by means of four societal development scenarios, all of which presuppose that Germany opts out of the use of nuclear power. This risk appraisal with the combination of risk and concern assessment is one important aspect (besides risk management, communication etc.) for the risk governance of nuclear power. The objective was to work out a factual, balanced basis on which to decide Germany’s future position on matters of P&T research.

This contribution characterizes systemic risks and stresses of the political ambiguity associated with P&T. It discusses the societal methodology and the results of this project with regard to the situation in Germany and Europe in general.


References: 13

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