In 2009 and 2010, the Institute for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (IRSN) lead a pilot action dealing with the decommissioning of a workshop located on the site of Areva’s La Hague fuel-reprocessing plant site in Northwestern France. The purpose of the pilot program was to test ways for IRSN and a few local stakeholders (Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) members, local elected officials, etc.) to engage in technical discussions. The discussions were intended to enable the local stakeholders to review the operator’s decommissioning application and provide input. The pilot program confirmed there is a definite challenge in successfully opening a meaningful dialogue to discuss technical issues. Three factors influence the extent of the challenge: the knowledge gap between experts and local stakeholders, the conflict between transparency and confidentiality which is inherent with technical topics, and the difficulty for an official expertise institute to hold a dialogue with “outsiders” during an ongoing reviewing process in which it is participating. The pilot program, given its mixed results, also provided valuable lessons for further improvement of stakeholders’ involvement.

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