Time will render radioactive waste harmless. How can we manage the time radioactive substances remain harmful? Just ‘wait and see’ or ‘marking time’ is not an option. We need to isolate the waste from our living environment and control it as long as necessary. For the situation in the Netherlands, it is obvious that a period of long term storage is needed. Both the small volume of waste and the limited financial possibilities are determining factors. Time is needed to let the volume of waste grow and to let the money, needed for disposal, grow in a capital growth fund. An organisation such as COVRA — the radioactive waste organisation in the Netherlands — can only function when it has good, open and transparent relationship with the public and particularly with the local population. If we tell people that we safely store radioactive waste for 100 years, they often ask: “That long?” How can we explain the long-term aspect of radioactive waste management in a way people can relate to? In this paper, an overview is given of the activities of COVRA on the communication of radioactive waste management.

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