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Institutional Issues in the Planning and Implementation of a Program to Dispose of High-Level Radioactive Wastes

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The Department of Energy DOE is responsible for the siting, development, and operation of facilities to dispose of high-level radioactive waste HLW. This is a difficult and complex task which involves research and development on geologic disposal technologies as well as nationwide transport of wastes, site selection, land acquisition, setting fee schedules, securing license approval, gaining concurrence from one or more potential host states, and numerous other steps. The current responsibilities of the DOE for HLW disposal are a sharp departure from the historic responsibilities for and experience in management of defense HLW. The research reported in this Note was conducted for the following reasons 1 To determine the nature of institutional issues facing the HLW disposal program, 2 To identify actions needed to resolve these issues, 3 To evaluate and describe the implications for program design and implementation, and 4 To help assess the capabilities of the current program to implement a repository program. Section II and the materials contained in the appendixes illustrate the complexity and nature of the implementing tasks facing DOE program managers. Actions necessary for implementation were identified by examining the distribution of responsibility and authority to implement the HLW program among the DOE and non-DOE actors e.g., other federal agencies, the states, localities, and public and private interest groups and the conflicts between the DOE and these other actors. Using a technique of backward mapping, paths of actions needed to resolve these conflicts and to implement the program were developed. The siting component is evaluated in Section II to illustrate the methodology. A form of dynamic planning and program implementation called strategic management will permit the DOE to set and modify program objectives in light of the overall goals of the program and the changing interests and powers of influence of non-DOE actors.

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  • Administration and Management
  • Government and Political Science
  • Solid Wastes and Pollution and Control
  • Radiation Pollution and Control

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