A new perspective on nuclear waste management: facing the technical and social challenges of a complex science-policy issue


William J. Perry Conference Room

Encina Hall, 2nd floor

616 Serra Street

Stanford, CA 94305

Abstract: Continuing social concerns over nuclear energy technologies still limit the application of long-term solutions to nuclear waste management in most countries. These concerns result from a lack of public trust in the scientific basis used in the decision-making approach to waste disposal, particularly the siting of a geologic repository.  Also, nuclear waste issues have become intertwined with the discussion of the future of nuclear energy. Moreover, setting aside the technical uncertainties about the long-term behavior of the waste materials under extended geologic disposal conditions, a scientific dilemma exists about how to deal with the preferences of future generations that will have to safely manage the waste. This stalemate situation has motivated an effort to frame the discussion from a different and interdisciplinary perspective.

An innovative approach to nuclear waste management called ENTRUST is proposed. The approach consists of an analytical framework for the holistic assessment of nuclear waste management strategies and policies where the primary focus is on building and maintaining public trust. Based on a careful use of quantitative information for technical issues, ENTRUST seeks to support a participative and deliberative analysis of the policy and narratives on strategies for nuclear waste management and disposal.

Speaker Bio: François Diaz-Maurin is a Nuclear Security Visiting Scholar at CISAC (2017-2019) and a European Commission’s Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow (2017-2020).

François’ research at CISAC deals with the issue of the long-term management of nuclear waste produced at commercial power plants in a context of uncertain transitions and persisting social concerns over nuclear energy technologies. His interdisciplinary research seeks to merge quantitative and qualitative methods for the holistic study of nuclear waste management systems and policies.

In this talk, François will be presenting the preliminary results of his 3-year research project entitled “Building Trust in Nuclear Waste Management through Participatory Quantitative Story Telling (ENTRUST)”. The project will contribute to CISAC’s “Reset of U.S. Nuclear Waste Management Policy” science-policy initiative.

François received both B.S. (2004, with distinction) and M.S. (2007, with distinction) degrees in civil engineering from the University of Rennes 1, France, and a Ph.D. degree in environmental science and technology (2013, summa cum laude) from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain. Before joining academia, François spent four years as an engineer in the design of nuclear energy technologies in Paris, France (2007-2008) and in Boston, MA (2009-2010) for AREVA Inc. North America and AREVA Federal Services LLC.