in which the project must be developed (regulatory constraints and institutional and societal considerations). The committee terms this planning “systemic.” Examples of planning activities that the implementer undertakes to establish the reference framework using Adaptive Staging are as follows:

  • Programmatic planning

    • Planning stages and Decision Points (with the understanding that they may be changed).

    • Identifying foreseeable alternatives in the reference framework and their implications.

    • Considering reversibility and implications thereof.4

    • Planning the licensing strategy.

    • Identifying foreseeable knowledge gaps and learning opportunities.

    • Planning a long-term science and technology program to address technical knowledge gaps.

    • Expanding the monitoring program to assess pre-closure and post-closure performance and to address technical, societal, and institutional knowledge gaps.

    • Integrating the transportation program with the reference framework and its alternatives.

    • Considering the surface storage capability needed to ensure flexibility and reversibility.

    • Planning incorporation of new knowledge from in the program and from outside sources.

  • Systemic planning

    • Working out an agreement with the regulator on licensing strategy.

    • Identifying safeguard vulnerabilities.

    • Identifying learning opportunities, including social and institutional sciences.

    • Planning research in social sciences to address societal and institutional knowledge gaps (see Sidebar 4.1).

    • Identifying roles of a stakeholder advisory board and a technical oversight group as well as mechanisms for input in decision-making (see Sidebar 4.2).

Of course, Linear Staging also can involve similar programmatic and system planning. The key difference with Adaptive Staging is that, although the reference framework is the most likely path to program’s success, at the outset of the program all parties acknowledge the possibility for changes in light of new knowledge, if warranted.

4.2.1 Impact on licensing, construction, and the early operational phase

Adaptive Staging has impacts on the licensing, construction, and early operational phases through:


The Nuclear Energy Agency suggests: “Reversibility may be facilitated, for example, by adopting small steps and frequent reviews in the program, as well as by incorporating engineering measures” (NEA, 2001 b, p. 11).

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