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Rosa Nan Leunbach and Kristian H. Nielsen publish "Exploring the Dialogical Space of Hybrid Forums: The “Predictably Unpredictable” Case of Radioactive Waste Management in Denmark, 2003-2018"

Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, Online First, 19 June 2020

23.06.2020 | Kristian Hvidtfelt Nielsen


Denmark was once at the forefront of nuclear research, operating three experimental nuclear reactors at the research facility at Risø, close to Copenhagen. However, the 1985 resolution of the Danish Parliament excluded nuclear power from the national energy mix. In 2003, the Parliament passed a resolution on the decommissioning of the nuclear facility at Risø, including plans for establishing a permanent solution for radioactive waste management. To understand the ensuing socio-technical controversy, we employ the “hybrid forum” framework that emphasizes the entangled political-epistemological role of the municipalities and protest groups. They mobilized political resistance while also performing “research in the wild.” In 2016, the protest groups became part of an institutionalized “hybrid forum” where they could negotiate directly with experts and government representatives. We conclude that municipalities and protest groups were instrumental in changing the Danish position on radioactive waste management from final repository to long-term storage at Risø.