Image Road in the forest

Mediators of issues and mediators of process 

(Work Package 3)

The complexity of radioactive waste management issues has made it necessary for key stakeholders to introduce mediators, who facilitate public engagement by translating complex technological concerns into matters of immediate practical concern for individual and collective actors in society. Their roles will be studied in ARGONA by case studies with focus on the Swedish example. The Environmental Impact Assessment process in Finland will be used for a comparative analysis, and studies will also be done in the UK concerning the role of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM)
as mediator of the nuclear waste debate.

Furthermore, the project studies the conduct of the conduct of public consultations. By this is meant the communication models used, the organisation of consultation exercises, selection criteria of participants, forms of interactions between participants and finally the various outcomes in terms of reports and policy outcomes. This conduct of conduct, which typically takes place at the interfaces between the three arenas of deliberation, transparency and politics, is facilitated by a new type of expertise; the mediators of process . Also their role in rwm will be investigated in this part of the project. Detailed case studies will be conducted in order to analyse the negotiation of the design of public consultation exercises and its generation of various forms of sociality and interaction between participants.

In summary, this work package should give better knowledge of how different approaches to the public mediation of nuclear waste issues lead to varying levels of public engagement and involvement.  This will improve the prospects for avoiding frustration in nuclear waste management programmes with regard to the conduct of stakeholder participation. Furthermore, increased awareness of the roles of "mediators" of public participation approaches that organise and conduct processes and make claims on behalf of the public and various models of democracy should make the key decision makers more in charge of the processes. 

Contacts: 
Göran Sundqvist, Göteborg University, Lead contractor; goran.sundqvist@sts.gu.se

Linda Soneryd, Stockholm University (concerning conduct of conduct);
linda.soneryd@score.su.se