RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT IN HUNGARY: CHANGING APPROACHES AND CONFLICTS
One of the most interesting paradoxes of the application of nuclear energy in Hungary is that although the building, operation, and even the recent lifetime extension of the Paks nuclear power plant has not faced significant social opposition, attempts for siting radioactive waste disposal facilities have been accompanied by a number of social conflicts. The paper reviews the history of radioactive waste management in Hungary from the 1970s until recently. It is found that since the political transition of 1990, top-down technocratic approaches to facility siting have been replaced by the so-called "market approach", which put a strong emphasis on host community support. Most important elements of the latter approach include public information and the provision of generous financial compensation/incentives for host and neighbouring communities. However, analysis of recent Hungarian siting cases shows the weaknesses of the pure market approach, e.g., the lack of transparency and openness regarding national strategies, the lack of accountability, and the focus on financial incentives rather than sustainable development issues.
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