Over the coming years a large number of nuclear power plants (NPP) will be decommissioned as they reach the end of their operational life and the decommissioning proposals will be subjected to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). At present, experience of decommissioning is extremely limited and three detailed reviews were conducted of the public participation experiences associated with this activity in three European Union countries (Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom) to try to identify elements of good practice which could be carried forward to future decommissioning projects.
For each of the case studies, information was gathered using a combination of review of the Environmental Statement, site visits and interviews with key personnel identified by the study team. The information collected pointed to five ‘success factors’, which could be used to summarise the main aspects of good practice to carry forward. These can be categorised as: authority acceptance of the value of participation; integration of all participation activities under the umbrella of EIA; carrying out participation activities before final strategies are adopted; keeping the decision-making process transparent; and providing sufficient information to the public to facilitate participation.
A further review of public participation experiences in the literature covering 13 contentious projects provides support for these success factors.