Low-Level Radioactive Waste Siting Toward the Development of More Effective Policy Through Understanding Failure

EPA Grant Number: R823191
Title: Low-Level Radioactive Waste Siting Toward the Development of More Effective Policy Through Understanding Failure
Investigators: Albrecht, Stan L.
Institution: University of Florida
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: June 5, 1995 through June 4, 1998
Project Amount: $295,891
RFA: Socio-Economics (1995) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Justice


The task of finding ways to effectively dispose of the waste products of human activity has become one of the most pressing and difficult challenges of this generation. This assessment is particularly applicable to the disposal of radioactive wastes where the response of residents to the proposed siting of a facility in their vicinity has been, almost without exception, negative and volatile. For this and other reasons, states have so far been unable to meet federal mandates to find solutions to their own low-level radioactive waste problems, either through establishing interstate compact agreements or by "going it alone." The continued failure of such efforts is now being driven, in significant part, by a range of social, political, and institutional forces.

This study is designed to increase our understanding of those important factors that are responsible for continuing low-level waste siting failures. Through-a series of case studies, we will address the major community, project, and siting process variables that are important in better understanding siting outcomes. Community factors to be addressed include .demographic, economic/fiscal, infrastructure, and historical variables. Project characteristics include facility technology, employment and other local economic effects, timing and duration. Process variables include the technological and political factors that are operative, as well as the nature of the interaction within the community and between the community and other players at the government agency and private developer levels.

Available secondary data from the study communities will be combined with primary data collected through key informant interviews. Building on previous work, particular attention will be given to questions `of trust, risk, and equity in the siting process. The importance of these variables, relative to traditional sociodemographic -and other attitudinal variables, will be addressed in multi-variate research models. The models will be developed to allow us to address a number of very specific empirical questions that emerge from previous research.

Major products from the study will include a series of articles that identify the unique factors that operate in each potential host community, as well as those factors that are important across study sites. Additionally, information will be provided that will address the challenge of developing facility siting policies that are both socially acceptable and technically sound. To the extent that this process can be better understood; findings from the study of low-level waste siting failures can be used to address important challenges of siting other facilities such as non-radioactive hazardous and toxic waste facilities, municipal waste facilities, and so on.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 13 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 6 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, Chemistry, decision-making, Social Science, Economics & Decision Making, social psychology, demographic, facility siting, community involvement, hazardous waste siting, decision analysis, environmental equity, political jurisdictions, socioeconomics, environmental policy, community-based, legal and policy choices, interviews, interstate compact agreements, social sciences

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1995
  • 1996
  • Final Report