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The Oskarshamn model - local competence building and environmental impact assessment

Kjell Andersson was between 1994 and 2006 consultant to the municipality of Oskarshamn supporting the municipality in its activities with regard to the nuclear waste management programme. During that time, Oskarshamn went trough several stages in the site selection process for a high level final repository. On March 11, 2002 the municipality council took the decision to accept site investigations, which include deep drilling with thirteen conditions.

The basis for the municipality work is the Oskarshamn Model, which includes seven points:  

The Oskarshamn model:

1. Openness and participation
Everything "on the table" – real influence for the municipality citizens.

2. The EIA process
Development of a basis for decision by all parties (the industry, the authorities, county, municipality with its citizens) together – the decisions will be taken independently by each. One can agree on the basis for decision still maintaining independence for decisions.

3. The council as reference group
Competent elected officials responsible towards the voters. Public participation within the framework of representative democracy.

4. The public – a resource
Concrete plans and clear study results are a pre-requisite for public engagement and influence. Sufficient time must be given to the process. The "public" is the real experts on many relevant issues.

5. The environmental groups – a resource
Their members and experts give valuable contributions. They have complementing views and can help stretching the industry.

6. Stretching SKB to clear answers
"We build competence so we can ask the difficult questions – we ask until we get clear answers".

7. The competent authorities are our experts
The authorities must be visible throughout the process.  The municipality decision on siting must come after statements by the competent authorities.
The Oskarshamn model applies the RISCOM Model with the "the three corners of transparency" and "stretching" in practice. The municipality experiences show that:

It is interesting to note that this has been accomplished on the initiative of the municipality involved rather than by the industry. The key stakeholders can participate in the process while maintaining their integrity for decisions to come. From 2003, Oskarshamn has been coopering with the municipality of Ísthammar which also is a potential host municipality for a final repository. The two municipalities now cooperate in organizing seminars, hearings etc.