Sharp discrepancies between nuclear and conventional toxic waste: Technical analysis and public perception
- Journal Article
Partly due to failed approaches in nuclear waste (NW) governance, years of high levels of attention have resulted in novel, more participatory avenues in Switzerland and other countries. What can be said about the case of conventional hazardous waste (CHW) from households? What technical and legal aspects are similar to or different from those of the NW domain? How does the public perceive CHW and its handling? We address these (so far) open questions in this study that comprises multiple methodological approaches. We combine a technical and system assessment with a societal (perception) assessment, based on a representative survey (N = 3082) among the German-speaking population of Switzerland. We draw some conclusions for a possible way forward in hazardous waste policy and governance. We find a remarkable disparity between technical analysis and public perception. The community should discuss whether the current NW management is forward-looking and may serve as a model for CHW. For CHW, the multiplicity of agents and the heterogeneity of substances may make the situation too complex, non-transparent, and thus less salient in the public perception. Paradoxically, the ubiquity of conventional waste, traditional community landfills, and everyday handling of some waste may make it appear less alarming than NW. Show more
Journal / seriesJournal of Hazardous Materials
Pages / Article No.
SubjectConventional hazardous waste; Governance; Nuclear/radioactive waste; Risk perception; Technical safety assessment
Organisational unit02351 - TdLab / TdLab
MoreShow all metadata