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Social implications of partitioning and transmutation research


Most studies regarding Partitioning and Transmutation (P & T), i.e. the transformation of long-lasting radionuclides, focus on technological aspects with the aim to test different implementation options of P & T. Success in this field of research would probably lead to a volume reduction of long-lasting radionuclides and all in all reduce the longevity of nuclear waste.

As on the one hand in Germany the question of permanent nuclear waste disposal is discussed very controversially, and on the other hand the necessary experts and technological resources for research on P & T are available, the question of positioning is rather urgent – especially against the background of the nuclear phase-out announced in 2011 by the federal government. What are the consequences of P & T for the permanent nuclear waste disposal that has been (and is still being) produced in Germany? What are the social factors influencing the acceptance of P & T?


The objective of the project is to give some vital input to the debate in Germany about future P & T research and implementation. A study based on the results of the project work should help German politicians to come to decisions in the field of P & T. The study follows a three-step-approach:
  1. Systematic collection of information about scientific, technological and social risks and benefits of P & T research.
  2. Evaluation of scientific, technological and social risks and benefits of P & T research.
  3. Recommendations for appropriate strategies of communication and action regarding P & T research, based on the evaluation.

Funding: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research
Partner: DBE Technology GmbH
Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit mbH (GRS)
Helmholtzzentrum Dresden Rossendorf (HZDR)
Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)
RWTH Aachen
Project duration: September 2012 – June 2013
Project staff: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ortwin Renn
Diana Gallego Carrera, M.A.
Dr. Michael Ruddat
Contact: Diana Gallego Carrera

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