Nuclear waste politics in modern Russia
CBEES Advanced Seminar with Andrej Stsiapanau.
Almost 65 years after the first nuclear power plant (NPP) was launched in Obninsk (Russia) in 1954, the decommissioning of the nuclear facilities, nuclear waste management and decontamination of the radioactive areas are becoming increasingly critical issues for communities, nuclear governance institutions and the nuclear industry itself around the world. The list of possible technical solutions for spent nuclear fuel and other types of waste includes deep geological disposal (DGD) after reprocessing in France, Japan, UK; direct DGD in Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Germany, US, Czech Republic; surface long-term storage in the Netherlands, Italy and Spain, and the choice remains open. By 2030 the Russian nuclear corporation «Rosatom» plans to phase out all remaining 11 Chernobyl type reactors and to create by this time the national system of the nuclear waste management including the radioactive waste geological disposal sites.
This transition to the new nuclear waste strategy in Russia, from storage to the disposal of the nuclear waste, is in the core of this paper: elaboration of the nuclear waste legal framework from 2011 to 2015 and creation of the disposal system for medium level waste from 2015 to 2018. This paper explores the ways in which new nuclear technologies of radioactive waste management are able to mediate technological risk and safety discourses and social and political struggles for transparency and accountability in communities: how does the changes within radioactive waste strategies affect the public participation process? Or in other terms, how the transition to the hosting of the radioactive waste is negotiated with the communities?
Andrei Stsiapanau, PhD in 2010 in Social Sciences at Vilnius University, Lithuania. Previous positions as associate professor at the European Humanities University (2013-2019), as research fellow in the international research project “Politics and Society After Chernobyl. Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Lithuania, and Germany in Comparative and Entangled Historical perspective (1986-2006)” funded by the Volkswagen Foundation; and as postdoc at the Centre for Sociology of Innovation (CSI) at the Ecole des Mines (Paris Tech), France, within the Bernard Fraudel Programme, and in the HoNESt (History of Nuclear Energy and Society), "Nuclear Legacies" (Södertörn University). Currently research fellow in the EDUATOM project (VMU, Kuanas, Lithuania) and visiting scholar in the KTH, Division of History (Stockholm, Sweden).