This series of papers is designed to describe key concepts often used in the exploration of difficult public policy issues. These concepts might help guide and inform our examination and assessment of used fuel management approaches by suggesting important questions for the study to ask and answer.

These concepts include: risk, security, the precautionary approach, adaptive management, traditional knowledge and sustainable development. The NWMO welcomes comment on these papers, and more generally on the applicability of these concepts to the long term management of used nuclear fuel.

1.1 Sustainable Development and Nuclear Waste

David Runnalls, IISD, MB CAN

This paper suggests how the concept of “sustainable development” first emerged, its evolution over time, and what the concept currently entails. The paper discusses how this concept might apply to the issue of the long term management of used nuclear fuel, and includes discussion of the types of questions which the application of this concept raises and might be incorporated in the NWMO study.

The paper suggests that sustainable development, “more a journey than a destination”, includes as building blocks for decision making: “intergenerational equity, integrated decision making, living off income and not capital and most important of all, a process which gives more or less equal weight to social and environmental factors, along with economic feasibility, leading to a result which makes both people and ecosystems better off.” The paper suggests ten questions for the study pertaining to: engagement of communities of interest; well-being of people; integrity of the environment; economic and financial health of the project; viability of traditional and non-market activities; development of institutional arrangements and governance; overall integrated assessment and continuous learning system; security considerations; ethical process; and, appropriate treatment of risk and precaution.

The NWMO welcomes comments on this paper, as well as your thoughts on the applicability of the concept of sustainable development to the long term management of used nuclear fuel.

Author Biography

David Runnalls, IISD

David Runnalls is President of IISD and also serves as Co-Chair of the China Council Task Force on WTO and Environment. Runnalls has served as Senior Advisor to the President of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Ottawa, Canada, and to the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme.

Previously, Runnalls was Director of the Environment and Sustainable Development Programme at the Institute for Research on Public Policy in Ottawa. He worked with Barbara Ward to found the International Institute for Environment and Development and directed both its London and Washington offices. Runnalls was the Canadian Board member of IUCN-the World Conservation Union for six years and the Chair of the Committee for the World Conservation Congress in 1996. He is a member of the Boards of the World Environment Center (New York), IIED (London) and Pollution Probe (Toronto).

An occasional writer and broadcaster, he has served as environment columnist for the CBC radio program, As it Happens and for CTV’s Canada am. He was a member of the Discovery Channel’s regular environment panel and political columnist for the Earth Times, the paper of record for the United Nations Earth Summit in 1992.

1.2 The Precautionary Approach to Risk Appraisal

Andy Stirling, University of Sussex, UK

This paper suggests a description of the “precautionary approach” concept, discusses how this concept might apply to the issue of the long term management of used nuclear fuel, and suggests the types of questions which the application of this concept raises and might be addressed in the NWMO study.

The paper suggests the essence of the precautionary approach to the governance of risk “lies in the granting of greater benefit of the doubt to the environment and to public health than to the activities which may be held to threaten these things.” The paper suggests the key elements of such an approach are: Be more humble about the role and potential of science; Scrutinize the burden of persuasion and the thresholds of argument; Enhance the role of monitoring and scientific research; Compare the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of different policy options; Broaden and deepen interdisciplinary appraisal; Ensure independence, acknowledge subjectivity and explore assumptions; Provide for full participation by stakeholders and the affected public; Address options at the earliest stages and consider the strategic resilience of portfolios. Eighteen questions were suggested for the study.

NWMO welcomes comments on this paper, and more generally on the precautionary approach and its application to the long term management of used nuclear fuel.

Author Biography

Andy Stirling, University of Sussex

Andy Stirling is a part time Senior Lecturer and Senior Fellow at Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at Sussex University, UK.

Dr. Stirling has served on a number of Government and EU advisory committees, and is currently a member of the UK Advisory Committee on Toxic Substances and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Risk Research. Dr. Stirling has worked with a variety of government and industry bodies, including: (internationally) the International Atomic Energy Agency and International Energy Agency, the Environment and Energy Directorates and Centre de Prospective of the European Commission, the European Environment Agency, the US National Research Council, the Belgian Federal Council on Sustainable Development the Norwegian Research Council and (in the UK) the Economic and Social Research Council, the Treasury, Health and Safety Executive, Environment Agency, Office of Science and Technology and Departments of Environment and Trade and Industry. Stirling has also worked with a number of commercial firms and a range of NGO's, including Greenpeace, Genewatch UK, Green Alliance and Sustainable Energy Watch.

Recent projects related to implementation of the Precautionary Principle include: “Precaupri”, carried out under the auspices of the European Commission’s STRATA programme concerning the chemicals sector; “Late Lessons from Early Warnings”, undertaken under the auspices of the European Environment Agency concerning international case studies in environmental pollution; “Science and Precaution in the Management of Technological Risk”, under the auspices of the EC Forward Studies Unit concerning risk regulation.

1.3 Adaptive Management in the Canadian Nuclear Waste Program

Kai N. Lee, Williams College, USA

This paper suggests a definition for the concept of “adaptive management”, discusses how this concept might apply to the issue of the long term management of used nuclear fuel, and suggests the types of questions which the application of this concept raises and might be included in the NWMO study.

The paper suggests the following definition for adaptive management: “Adaptive management is the process of conceiving and carrying out a program as an experiment, so that learning from experience becomes an explicit objective. An adaptive approach to nuclear waste management may enable NWMO to build and sustain public trust while accelerating technical progress.” The paper outlines several good reasons for considering an adaptive management approach, as well as challenges which might be encountered in attempting to implement such an approach.

The NWMO welcomes comments on this paper, as well as your thoughts on the applicability of the concept of adaptive management to the long term management of used nuclear fuel.

Author Biography

Kai N. Lee, Williams College

Kai N. Lee is Rosenburg Professor of Environmental Studies at Williams College, an independent liberal arts college in Williamstown, Massachusetts, U.S.A. He has served on eleven boards and committees of the U.S. National Research Council, the operating arm of the National Academies of Science and Engineering.

In 2003 he chaired a committee examining the long-term stewardship of radioactive wastes from the Cold War production of nuclear weapons. In 1999 he was an author of the report Our Common Journey, by the Board on Sustaiinable Development, a study of the scientific basis for a long-term transition to a sustainable global society. In the 1980s Lee served as a member of the Board on Radioactive Waste Management, a standing body advising the U.S. government on radioactive waste matters.

Lee was educated at Columbia and Princeton Universities, receiving a PhD. in physics from the latter in 1971. He then studied political science and public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, before beginning a teaching career at the University of Washington. He came to Williams College in 1991 as director of the Center for Environmental Studies, serving until 1998. His book Compass and Gyroscope (1993) has been widely used in environmental teaching and policy discussions of adaptive management. Lee lives in Williamstown with his wife Mary Dana Jeffrey Lee. They have two grown daughters.

1.4 Nuclear Waste Management in Canada: The Security Dimension

Franklyn Griffiths, University of Toronto, ON CAN

This paper suggests a definition for the concept of “security”, discusses how this concept might apply to the issue of the long term management of used nuclear fuel, and suggests the types of questions which the application of this concept raises and might be included in the NWMO study.

The paper suggests the following definition for security: “a condition, never fully realized, in which a referent entity or process is made and kept safe against harmful acts, events, and situations.” The paper explores two conceptual frameworks for their value in meeting our concern to safeguard all aspects of the nuclear waste management process: national security; and, human security. Both frameworks are concerned with making things secure however, the paper suggests, they conceive of the job and how to go about it in different ways.

NWMO welcomes comments on this paper, and more generally on the concept of security as it applies to the long term management of used nuclear fuel.

Author Biography

Franklyn Griffiths

Professor Emeritus of Political Science and George Ignatieff Chair of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto, Franklyn Griffiths’ research and policy interests centre on international security, particularly nuclear arms control and the potential for practices of civility to address problems of violence in ways that conventional security policy cannot. He is also concerned with Arctic politics, and with issues of global cultural diversity.

Among his publications are Arctic Alternatives: Civility or Militarism in the Circumpolar North (edited, 1992), Strong and Free: Canada and the New Sovereignty (1996), and MOX Experience: Canada and the Disposition of Excess Russian and U.S. Weapons Plutonium (1997). At various times he has been Director of the Centre for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Toronto, Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Secretary of State for External Affairs, Visiting Professor at Stanford University, and Visiting Scholar at the University of Cambridge. Professor Griffiths retired in June 2001. He is currently working on problems of civility and international relations.

1.5 Risk and Uncertainty in Nuclear Waste Management

Kristen Shrader-Frechette, University of Notre Dame, USA

This paper suggests a definition for risk and for uncertainty, discusses how these concepts might apply to the issue of the long term management of used nuclear fuel, and suggests the types of questions which the application of these concepts raise and might be included in the NWMO study.

The paper suggests that "because choosing successful policies for long-term management of waste and spent nuclear fuel presents a case of uncertainty, not risk or certainty, it is a decision for stakeholders and citizens, as well as experts." The paper discusses six types of uncertainty: framing uncertainty; modeling uncertainty; inference-option uncertainty; statistical or parameter uncertainty; decision-theoretic uncertainty; and, policy-implementation uncertainty. The paper suggests seven strategies for alleviating and making transparent scientific/technical uncertainty and ten strategies for dealing with social/ethical uncertainty.

The NWMO welcomes comments on this paper, as well as your thoughts on the applicability of the concepts of risk and uncertainty to the long term management of used nuclear fuel.

Author Biography

Kristin Shrader-Frechette, Notre Dame University

Kristin Shrader-Frechette is O'Neill Professor of Philosophy and Concurrent Professor of Biological Sciences at Notre Dame University.

Shrader-Frechette works on environmental ethics and policy, environmental justice, quantitative risk assessment (especially of nuclear threats), philosophy of science, and normative ethics. In addition to her philosophy degree, she holds a degree in mathematics and has done post-docs in biology, economics, and hydrogeology.

Author of 280 articles and 14 books, she has done pro bono environmental-justice work with Appalachians, Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans throughout the US, and has served as advisor (often on nuclear, or environmental-justice, problems) to the UN, WHO, WCC, several foreign governments, the US Congress, and the US President. The first female president of the Risk Assessment and Policy Association (RAPA), the Society for Philosophy and Technology (SPT), and the International Society for Environmental Ethics (ISEE), she has served on many boards/committees of the US National Academy of Sciences. Her work appears in philosophy journals as well as science, and policy, journals.

Since 1982, her research has been funded continuously by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). She has been a fellow of the Kroc Institute since 1999. Dr. Shrader-Frechette's latest book is Environmental Justice: Creating Equality, Reclaiming Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2002).

1.6 Thinking About Time

Stewart Brand, The Long Now Foundation, CA USA

This paper contains thoughts on time and responsibility, particularly thinking about very long time frames. It poses the question: “How do we make long-term thinking automatic and common instead of difficult and rare? How do we make the taking of long-term responsibility inevitable?” This question is explored through the attempt to design a clock that will operate for 10,000 years – a period of time equal to our lives on Earth since the last ice age. Five design principles emerged for such a clock: longevity; maintainability; transparency; evolvability; and scalability.

This document contains selected excerpts from the book "The Clock of the Long Now" by Stewart Brand, reprinted here with his permission.

The NWMO welcomes comments on this paper, as well as your thoughts on the concept of time as it applies to the long term management of used nuclear fuel.

Author Biography

Stewart Brand

Stewart Brand is a cofounder of Global Business Network. Best known for founding, editing, and publishing the Whole Earth Catalog (1968-1985; National Book Award, 1972), he also has a long-standing involvement in computers, education, and the media arts.

From 1987 to 1989 Stewart ran a series of private conferences on "Learning in Complex Systems," sponsored by strategic planners at Royal Dutch/Shell, AT&T, and Volvo. In 1988 he joined the Board of Trustees of the Santa Fe Institute, an organization dedicated to multi-disciplinary research in the sciences of complexity. In 1987, Stewart wrote The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at MIT (Viking). It became a QPB Selection, won the Eliot Montroll Award, and has been translated into Japanese, German, Italian, and Spanish. From 1974 to 1985, Stewart founded, edited, and published CoEvolution Quarterly. He also served as editor-in-chief of the Whole Earth Software Catalog (Doubleday) from 1983-1985. During this time, Brand organized the first "Hackers' Conference," which was televised nationally and has since become an annual event. He also founded The WELL (Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link) a computer teleconference based in the San Francisco Bay Area. It now has 10,000 active users, and is considered a bellwether of the medium.

After receiving his degree in biology from Stanford in 1960 and spending two years as a US Infantry officer, Stewart became a photojournalist and multimedia artist, performing at colleges and museums. In 1968, he was a consultant to Douglas Engelbart's pioneering Augmented Human Intellect program at SRI, which devised now-familiar computer interface tools. In 1972, for Rolling Stone, he wrote the first article about the computer lifestyle, entitled "Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death Among the Computer Bums," chronicling the fringes of computer science at Xerox PARC, the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and MIT. That article became part of his book, Two Cybernetic Frontiers (Random House, 1974), which also introduced anthropologist/ philosopher Gregory Bateson to a wide audience. In 1974 he organized a "New Games Tournament," which generated three books and became a genre in experiential education.

In 1994, eight years of research by Stewart into how buildings change over time (a form of organizational learning) came together in a richly illustrated book, How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built. Referred to as "a classic and possibly a work of genius," the book has been used as a text by computer systems designers as well as building preservers, architects, and many lay building users.

Since co-founding The Long Now Foundation with Danny Hillis in 1996, Stewart has been involved with its growing number of projects. The 10,000-year Clock project aims to build a monumental timepiece inside a mountain in eastern Nevada; the first working prototype went on permanent display at the Science Museum in London. The Rosetta Project set about micro-etching 1,000 languages on a 3-inch nickel disk and wound up building the world's largest website of living languages. Long Bets is another web project, this one to make a permanent repository and forum for "accountable predictions," where each Prediction accumulates votes and discussion and can become a bet with real money at stake. The All Species Inventory was spun off as its own foundation, with the aim of discovering and cataloging every life form on earth within the current human generation. Another project, called Long Server, is attempting to help solve the very difficult problems in long-term preservation of digital materials. Stewart's book, The Clock of the Long Now: Time and Responsibility, investigates the advantages of taking the very long term seriously, including some new ways to think about the future.

1.7 Drawing on Aboriginal Wisdom

Joanne Barnaby, Hay River, NT CAN

The paper discusses the importance of traditional knowledge, describes what it is and offers a working definition. It then discusses how traditional knowledge can help industry and government in environmental management, and suggests the types of questions which the application of traditional knowledge raises and might be addressed in the NWMO study process. This paper was developed in advance of a workshop devoted to examining these and other questions.

The NWMO welcomes comments on this paper, and more generally on traditional knowledge and its application to the long term management of used nuclear fuel.

Author Biography

Joanne Barnaby, Joanne Barnaby Consulting

Joanne Barnaby has extensive experience in working with northern communities. This experience includes over 27 years of working in Aboriginal organizations providing both leadership and senior management services to aboriginal peoples. While Joanne has not held a staff position in government, she has held positions of public trust including as a Special Advisor to the Premier of the NWT and as a Special Advisor to the Canadian Delegation on the Biodiversity Convention. More recently, she has been awarded contracts as a consultant to assist in the development of public policy in the management of northern and national resources.

Joanne now focuses her energy on creating the means for building on the strengths of both western science and traditional knowledge in the development challenges facing northern and aboriginal communities. Her two terms on the Board of Directors of the Science Institute of the NWT together with her pioneering work at the Dene Cultural Institute to bring forward traditional knowledge in a modern day context, has provided her with the unique experience to fully appreciate the needs and opportunities associated with development initiatives. Her work now emphasizes building economic, cultural, and environmental sustainability using western and indigenous traditional knowledge systems, developing management models for full aboriginal participation and for accountability to society. Ms. Barnaby uses an educational approach to facilitating public and aboriginal participation in the consideration of development projects, providing an opportunity to increase appreciation and understanding of the value of each knowledge system. Her long standing working relationship with northern leaders and elders as well as with science based managers has provided her with the communication skills required to bridge these understandings.

1.8 Nonproliferation Aspects of Spent Fuel Storage and Disposition

Thomas Graham Jr. & James Glasglow, Morgan Lewis

This report addresses nuclear nonproliferation aspects of spent fuel storage and disposition at nuclear power plant sites, in central storage facilities and in geologic repositories. The report contains a summary of relevant policy developments over the past several decades as well as commentary concerning international agreements that have significant implications from the perspective of nuclear nonproliferation. Prinicipal provisions of U.S. laws and regulations are also reviewed in this 66 page report.

Authors Biographies

Thomas Graham, Jr.

Ambassador Thomas Graham, Jr. is special counsel in the Energy Practice Group of Morgan Lewis. Ambassador Graham has served as a senior U.S. diplomat involved in the negotiation of every major international arms control and non-proliferation agreement for the past 30 years, including The Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT) Treaties, The Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) Treaties, The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, Intermediate Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). He has also served as the Acting Director and Acting Deputy Director of ACDA, as Legal Advisor to the U.S. SALT II, START I and START II Delegations, the Senior Arms Control Agency Representative to the U.S. Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces and the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Delegations, and many others. In addition, Ambassador Graham led U.S. Government efforts to indefinitely extend the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1994 and 1995.

James A. Glasgow

James A. Glasgow is a partner in Morgan Lewis’s Energy Practice Group. His law practice focuses on international trade issues and transactions involving nuclear fuel, nuclear power plants and other energy facilities. From 1970-1976, Mr. Glasgow was a trial and appellate attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, Atomic Energy Commission and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. From 1976 to 1981, he was a senior legal adviser and deputy assistant general counsel for International Affairs in the Office of General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Energy and its predecessor, the U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA). He represented ERDA and DOE on U.S. delegations engaged in the negotiation of peaceful nuclear cooperation agreements. Mr. Glasgow has authored papers on nuclear fuel and international nuclear commerce topics to the American Nuclear Society, the U.S. Council for Energy Awareness, the Nuclear Energy Institute, the Uranium Institute, the World Nuclear Association and the World Nuclear Fuel Market.

1.9 Safe-Keeping

Is Safe-Keeping of Radioactive Waste Preferable to Disposal? The Importance of Semantics

In the course of our ongoing dialogue on concepts, Colin Allan and Paul Fehrenbach have suggested ‘safe-keeping’ as a potentially helpful concept in examination and assessment of used fuel management approaches. This paper, originally prepared for Global 99, is reprinted here with the permission of the authors.

This paper suggests a definition for the concept of ‘safe-keeping’ in the context of used nuclear fuel management. “The internationally agreed objective of radioactive waste management is to manage radioactive waste in a manner that protects worker safety, public health and the environment, now and in the future, and, in keeping with the principle of sustainable development, to do so in a way that minimizes the burden passed to future generations. While waste management often entails a number of intermediate steps such as interim storage, the end state is usually considered to be final disposal. As with other terminology used by technical people, disposal is precisely defined within the waste management community to mean placing waste in a state with no intention of retrieving it. However, the term disposal is often interpreted by the general public, and, in some case, by the broader technical community, in its usual sense to mean “to discard” the waste. This leads to a variety of false perceptions that are difficult, if not impossible, to correct. The authors believe that some of these mis-perceptions could be addressed by moving away from the use of the word “disposal” and adopting another term in its place, including a re-statement of the end objective. The objective would be to place the waste in a state of “Safe-keeping” where it could be left indefinitely, potentially forever, pending decision making in the future. Ideally, to minimize the burden placed on future generations, such Safe-keeping would not require further intervention to maintain safety, and to ensure safety, if institutional control were lost, it would be passively safe in the long term."

1.10 Commissioned Comment on Guiding Concepts

NWMO asked experts in the field to comment on the Guiding Concepts papers, on the way in which the concepts have been defined, and the implications for the long term management of used nuclear fuel. We hope this comment will help spark further thinking and broader discussion. We invite you to consider these comments and add your own perspective to the discussion.