Over the last few years the Belgian government organisation responsible for the Belgian nuclear waste, NIRAS-ONDRAF, experienced increased public resistance against its efforts to create a low level nuclear waste repository. In response to this resistance, the Universities of Antwerp (Universitaire Instelling Antwerpen - UIA) and Luxemburg (Fondation Universitaire Luxembourgoise - FUL) assisted in the establishment of local partnerships between NIRAS-ONDRAF and representatives of the local communities involved. These partnerships are intended to bring the decision making process closer to the public concerned and to lower the threshold for active participation. This model of collective decision making in a democratic environment is a process of negotiation. These negotiations should lead to a mutual project in which both experts and local stakeholders participated and which should replace the unsuccessful top-down approach formerly used.