Participation Disposal Policy

An Evaluation of Regional Participation Procedures in the Search for Suitable Sites for Deep Geological Repositories for Radioactive Waste in Switzerland

Project Management

Prof. Dr. Adrian Vatter

Project Handling

Claudia Alpiger
Newspaper Article: Walliser Bote, 07.02.2015 (PDF, 741KB)

Project Duration

September 2014 to June 2018

Project Financing

Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE)

Project Description

In this project, the regional participation structures (called "Regionale Partizipation") in the communities which are situated within the six potential siting regions for deep geological repositories for radioactive waste in Switzerland were evaluated. These participatory structures aim at including the wishes and concerns – e.g. in terms of written statements on the issues at hand – of regional politicians, the local interest groups, and the concerned citizens of the regions into the overall process.

The project’s main goal is, first and foremost, to evaluate the process of public involvement in the site selection procedure using predefined evaluation criteria. The implemented criteria draw on the well-established 'criteria to evaluate participation processes' by Linder and Vatter (1996) and their revised version by Vatter (1998) which were established to analyse the construction of nuclear power plants and special waste incinerator plants in Switzerland by means of qualitative case studies. The revised version (Vatter 1998), including 14 criteria, were updated on the basis of insights from the new participatory literature, added more specialized sub-criteria, and were divided in 4 groups (process properties (1), participants (2), information/resources (3), and effects (4)) to give them a structure.

On the basis of the evaluation results, the second aim is to give the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (lead of the process) advices and recommendations on how to improve the participation procedures in the six regions.

A further aim of the project is to study the degree of political participation observed among women, young people, and people with a migration background. The focus is on their political participation and political engagement in general as well as in the regional participation structures. Apart from that, the transferability of these regional participation structures within the Sectoral Plan for Deep Geological Repositories to other sectoral plans of the Swiss government is examined.

Published Reports

Published Poster

Participatory Disposal Policy (PDF, 446KB). Poster presented at the 2nd Conference on Key Topics in Deep Geological Disposal, Cologne (DE),  26–28 September 2016 (DAEF, Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Endlagerforschung).