Factors Affecting the Influence of Local Movements and Non-Governmental Organisations in Nuclear Waste Policy-Making In Finland and the Netherlands

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Finland is the first country that is constructing a final depository for nuclear waste, in the municipality Eurajoki. While many consider the nuclear waste policy-making process to be participatory, others state that local movements (LMs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) lacked influence during this process. Based on concepts from the actor-network theory, the objective of this thesis is to study how human and non-human actors affected the lack of influence of LMs and NGOs during the nuclear waste policy-making process in Finland and the Netherlands. To do so, nineteen semi-structured interviewees were conducted in Finland and six in the Netherlands. In Finland, the findings illustrate that: first, there was little legitimacy for LMs and NGOs during the nuclear waste policy-making process, as the discussion was dominated by technical experts and the schedule for final disposal predestined. Secondly, an elderly home, the municipality Loviisa and the fifth nuclear reactor, were identified as places that adjusted the policy-making process and the influence of LMs and NGOs. Thirdly, as many pro-nuclear actors had their own interests for a final depository, a strong pro-nuclear actor-network was formed. At the same time, LMs and NGOs lacked resources and credibility to set up a strong anti-nuclear actor-network. Findings from the Netherlands illustrate that: first, currently there is no discussion regarding nuclear waste, therefore it is now considered a black-box. Borssele and the Disposal Advisory Platform (DAP) might open this black-box and consequently a public discussion could start. Through the DAP or public discussions, LMs and NGOs might be able to influence the process. However, for this the final depository schedule should not be predestined till 2100. For further research it is recommended to analyse factors affecting predestined policy-making and hence the influence of LMs and NGOs in other sociotechnical issues such as climate change policy-making. Moreover, it would be interesting to study the factors that affect the influence of LMs and NGOs during the nuclear waste policy-making process in upcoming decennia in the Netherlands.

vita-verwaaijen-finland-netherlands-nuclear-waste-policy2019.pdf1.22 MB