implementation procedures; and the behavior of the technical and societal environment.

4.1.1 Effectiveness of Adaptive Staging

Adaptive Staging is an untried approach. The effectiveness of adaptive approaches, as applied to natural resources management, has been evaluated by Lee (1993, 1999). Lee examined the conceptual, technical, equity, and practical strengths and limitations of adaptive management and arrived at the following conclusions: (1) adaptive management has been more influential, so far, as an idea than as a practical means of gaining insight into the behavior of ecosystems utilized and inhabited by humans; (2) adaptive management should be used only after disputing parties have agreed to an agenda of questions to be answered using the Adaptive approach (this is not how the approach has been used to date); (3) efficient, effective societal learning of the kind facilitated by adaptive management is likely to be important in managing ecosystems as humanity searches for a sustainable economy (Lee, 1999).

Hence, though promising in principle, Adaptive Staging has yet to be demonstrated. In addition, there are knowledge gaps on technological, organizational, policy, and managerial factors associated with the ultimate effectiveness of Adaptive Staging. Section 2.6.2 addresses institutional requirements for effective implementation of Adaptive Staging. Examples of key questions are:

  • What is the initial level of public trust and institutional constancy in the implementer?

  • What is the relationship between institutional constancy and public trust?

  • What are the institutional requirements for implementation of Adaptive Staging?

  • What does the implementer need to do to assure that unnecessary delays do not result from Adaptive Staging?

  • What changes does it imply within the culture of the implementer and the regulators?

4.1.2 Implementation procedures

In addition to generic knowledge gaps of any geologic repository development program,1 there are gaps concerning the implementation of Adaptive Staging, particularly from an institutional perspective. Examples of key questions are shown here:


Examples of knowledge gaps common to Linear and Adaptive Staging are: (1) Will the technology needed to monitor key parameters of repository behavior be available? (2) How extensive, spatially and temporally, should a monitoring program be? (3) Are mechanisms for effective stakeholder and public participation available?

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