The Waste Network co-ordinates groups of citizens at places which have been considered as sites for nuclear waste management. The Waste Network was created in 1981 as a consequence of test drillings that were planned or executed at a number of sites. The aim of the network is foremost to promote exchange of knowledge and experience between local groups.
So far no final storage for high level nuclear wastes has been constructed anywhere. However, all agree that the nuclear wastes have to be taken care of. The Swedish debate shows that the choice of technical solution is a smaller problem. Most people in Sweden seem to have the opinion that they accept a given method and site if it has been chosen in a credible way and if it has been convincingly shown that this is the best possible option.
The management of nuclear waste in Sweden is characterised by the early fixing of method to disposal in canisters at a depth of about 500 meters in the bedrock. For more than 25 years the efforts of the nuclear industry and the operator SKB has concentrated on finding a suitable site for this repository. However, no clear and coherent process for choosing method and site has been presented. Step by step SKB has moved from looking for a suitable site were the rocks should have limited fissures to generally volunteering municipalities and then to municipalities hosting nuclear facilities.
The points give a short summary of the basic standpoints of the Waste Network:
· The management of the nuclear waste is not solved. As a consequence, in order to minimise the amount of waste, the further operation of nuclear reactors should be restricted to as limited time as possible.
· The choice of method should be made before the choice of site. The deadlock to the KBS method must come to an end. The choice of method must be reconsidered based on clearly expressed functional conditions formulated in advance.
· The siting must be based on considerations on environment and security, not political acceptance. A clear and understandable sieving process at a national scale should be performed to find the best possible site.
· An independent authority must control and supervise the EIA process instead of the nuclear industry. A well performed EIA process is the necessary condition to give the choice of method and site enough legitimacy and acceptance in the eyes of ordinary citizens.
· Environmental organisations being the representatives of the public must be given reasonable conditions and resources to take part in the EIA process to choose method and site. These resources should include the possibility to engage independent experts.