Planning factors

Planning factors such as ER under a life-cycle perspective and nontechni­cal issues are increasingly influential factors. Issues to be mentioned are the resources to aid good planning (with economics taken into account). How effectively are they being used? Again, how the experience from more advanced countries in the field of ER can be better transferred to less advanced ones? How to best incorporate ER in the whole life cycle of an operation and also how to optimize remediation programmes taking into account the life cycle of the projects? What are the best ways to engage stakeholders in the decision-making process? What should be communi­cated and how? What are the challenges in the different geographical regions of the world? How to clearly state to the public (and be convincing on it) that remediation does not mean returning the environment to back­ground levels; instead, new productive uses can be envisaged after ER? Who are the relevant stakeholders and how to best approach them? Ethics of ER remains crucial: will optimization justify higher expenditures in afflu­ent countries in comparison to less developed countries?

8.5 Conclusion

In the past, many nuclear activities were developed without proper consid­eration of environmental issues. Operations took place without established or well-addressed environmental laws and regulations. Through lack of good operating practices, contaminated sites have been created in many countries. Several contaminated sites have also been created by nuclear and radiological accidents.

Contaminated sites can ultimately lead to undesired health effects to the local residents. Environmental remediation strives to reduce the radiation exposure from contamination of land or other polluted media, such as surface water or groundwater.

In recent years a dramatic change in vision occurred: awakening aware­ness of environmental long-term problems has been bringing forth a move away from treating environmental problems only after they have occurred (typically at the end of service life of a facility or site). The current vision is to prevent environmental impacts from the beginning in the life cycle of a facility or activity. This life-cycle management aims to treat each stage of an operation not as an isolated event, but as one phase in its overall life. Thus, the planning covers not only each stage, but is a continuing activity, taking into account actual and projected developments. By implementing the elements of this vision, it is expected that the generation of contami­nated sites as well as the need for expensive remediation programmes will be minimized.

National institutions need timely and accurate information on available remediation strategies and technologies, management options as well as guidance in dealing with non-technical factors, e. g., communica­tions and stakeholder involvement. To resolve environmental liabilities and to avoid the generation of new contaminated sites, the IAEA and other international organizations help countries to adopt appropriate practices.

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