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G20 Summit: Geological Disposal Update

i May 31st No Comments by

Last week we shared a report from one of Japan’s leading newspapers, The Mainichi, that claimed geological disposal would be discussed at the forthcoming G20 Summit.  We also said we’d seek to find out further information.

What we have found out:

  • The Japanese have been seeking other government’s support for an international conference on geological disposal through several international forum
  • As is usual for these Summits, the host organising country seeks to get issues it considers important onto the agenda
  • To their credit, the Japanese have identified geological disposal as an issue affecting all major economies, and want to place the environmental and ethical debate on a more global level, hence their desire to place this on the G20 table in some way
  • The behind-the-scenes horse-trading that goes on in advance of all such Summits may mean that the Japanese have to park their conference proposal for now

We keep a watching brief. Even if the conference proposal does not get raised at the G20 this time, the need to globalise the debate does not recede. The Japanese will certainly keep banging their drum.

However, the nature of any conference and subsequent global debate is important.  If it is just the same nuclear sector faces speaking only to each other, “the converted”, then little progress is likely to be made.  It is time to include community voices in the debate.  There is a sound basis to build upon the initial work of the ground-breaking IAEA technical workshop from last November, at which municipalities and community representatives from around the world gave a common message to the nuclear sector – listen to us, don’t lecture us.

The IAEA workshop revealed the many, largely unheard, community voices that provide powerful and relatable testimony in favour of geological disposal.  And in a world of fake news, faux science and information overload, these communities can create ashared repository of knowhow and experience which is more publicly trusted than anything a government, agency or NGO can ever hope to achieve.

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