During the next several years, decisions are expected to be made in several countries on the further development and implementation of the geological disposition option. The Board on Radioactive Waste Management (BRWM) of the U.S. National Academies believes that informed and reasoned discussion of relevant scientific, engineering and social issues can-and should-play a constructive role in the decision process by providing information to decision makers on relevant technical and policy issues. A BRWM-initiated project including a workshop at Irvine, California on November 4-5, 1999, and subsequent National Academies' report to be published in spring, 2000, are intended to provide such information to national policy makers both in the U.S. and abroad.
To inform national policies, it is essential that experts from the physical, geological, and engineering sciences, and experts from the policy and social science communities work together. Some national programs have involved social science and policy experts from the beginning, while other programs have only recently recognized the importance of this collaboration. An important goal of the November workshop is to facilitate dialogue between these communities, as well as to encourage the sharing of experiences from many national programs.
The workshop steering committee has prepared this discussion for participants at the workshop. It should elicit critical comments and help identify topics requiring in-depth discussion at the workshop. It is not intended as a statement of findings, conclusions, or recommendations. It is rather intended as a vehicle for stimulating dialogue among the workshop participants. Out of that dialogue will emerge the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the National Academies' report.