The increasing demand for public participation in decision-making concerning hazardous activities is a well-recognized evolution of this last decade. Many international studies about stakeholders’ involvement are currently carried out namely in the field of the control of industrial installations. In France, the regulatory framework setting specific procedures for public consultation of industrial projects is currently being reviewed, namely with the issuance of a new law concerning local democracy.
In this context, a study is currently performed in France by a multidisciplinary team (social management of risks, radiation protection, environmental law). The aim is:
· to investigate procedures for public and NGO involvement in the control of nuclear installations (public enquiry, local commissions, set up of pluralistic expertise),
· to carry out a few case studies analysing how the procedures are implemented, in order to get some insights on how to strengthen the dialogue between the conventional stakeholders (industry, regulatory body, institutional experts) and the stake-seekers.
The methodology of this study follows different steps:
1. Literature review of international reflexions (USA, Europe) concerning stakeholders’ involvement in the management of industrial activities,
2. Analysis of the French regulatory system for the control of nuclear installations, with references to the more general framework of the environmental law,
3. Description and analysis of case studies related to nuclear installation follow-up. The case studies relate to original processes of consultation. The cases are:
- The BNFL national stakeholder dialogue in UK,
- A programme of expertise led by a local commission for the decennial review of a French nuclear power plant,
- The consultation process concerning the revision of the licensing decree of a French reprocessing plant,
- The renewal of the release authorization of a French nuclear power plant.
4. From the cases studies, identification of good lessons concerning stake-seekers’ involvement and proposal of possible improvements to better use the existing regulatory procedures, proposal of possible regulatory evolutions.
The study is currently addressing the last point. Proposals for increasing the stakeholders and stake-seekers dialogue will be discussed with representatives of the different concerned parties (administration, nuclear industry, NGO’s, elected representatives).
* Mutadis Consultants
** Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire
*** Centre d’étude sur l’Evaluation de le Protection dans le domaine Nucléaire