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Risk discourses and governance of high-level radioactive waste storage in Taiwan

Fan, Mei-Fang
Journal of environmental planning and management 2019 v.62 no.2 pp. 327-341
consciousness, experts, governance, issues and policy, nongovernmental organizations, radioactive waste, risk management, stakeholders, Taiwan
Policy scholars have indicated that the quality of the solution to a perceived social problem depends on the adequacy of its framing. This paper examines how policy stakeholders and local residents frame the issue of the radioactive waste storage facility in Taiwan, the limits of institutional mechanisms in decision-making processes, and the implications of the deliberative forums undertaken by the national Stop Nukes Now organisation. The controversy illustrates the problems of a knowledge gap and the top-down procedures as well as the challenges that Taiwan faces in becoming a nuclear-free country. This case demonstrates civic society organisations’ efforts to challenge the ‘social–technical divide’ and technical experts’ prior definition of the ‘problems’ and selection of a ‘solution’. Deliberative forums enable the participation of affected communities to shape public discourses, which helps to strengthen public communication, improves citizen consciousness of nuclear waste issues, and attempts to link wider communities and public interests.