Institute for Technology Assessment and  Systems Analysis (ITAS)

Final storage project pursues transdisciplinary approach

Repository research has a long tradition at ITAS. Based on their previous work, in the project TRANSENS the institute’s experts now deal with the question of how citizens can be better involved in independent repository research.
Logo of the TRANSENS project
The TRANSENS project pursues a transdisciplinary approach

TRANSENS is the first interdisciplinary research project on the disposal of radioactive waste in Germany – with the ITAS team playing a central role within this research association. The experts of the research group “Endlagerung als soziotechnisches Projekt“ (Final storage as socio-technical project) are particularly interested in questions of dialogue, justice, and capacity to act with regard to the site selection process started in 2017.

“The challenging question of how to safely dispose of nuclear waste cannot be solved from a scientific point of view alone,” explains Peter Hocke, deputy spokesman of the research association and head of the ITAS team. According to him, the decision-making process during site selection for a final repository is not only influenced by technical challenges, such as the intended retrievability of the waste, but also by social discourses and existing conflicts.

Research of transdisciplinary nature

The ITAS team has lead responsibility for the TRANSENS workpackages “Handlungsfähigkeit und Flexibilität in einem reversiblen Verfahren” (HAFF; Capacity to act and flexibility in a reversible procedure) and “Dialoge und Prozessgestaltung in Wechselwirkung von Recht, Gerechtigkeit und Governance” (DIPRO; Dialogues and process organization in the interplay of law, justice, and governance). The whole research work is characterized by the transdisciplinary approach, which means it is always aimed at the interested public and other stakeholders involved in the search for a final repository.

Over the next five years, the aim of the TRANSENS research association is to develop new perspectives for the socio-technical processes related to radioactive waste disposal. At the same time, application-oriented basic research is advanced to be able to contribute to solving further societal and technological questions related to the very diverse challenges of radioactive waste disposal. A total of 17 affiliated partners also aim at promoting the younger generation of researchers to secure the scientific competence which is important for dealing with radioactive waste.

TRANSENS is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy and the Volkswagen Foundation in cooperation with the state of Lower Saxony. The research association is managed by Clausthal University of Technology. (20.12.2019)

Further information: