Nuclear Facilities Transparency Resources

Sandia National Laboratories Cooperative Monitoring Center (CMC)
in conjunction with WIPP is providing this Nuclear Facilities Transparency Homepage. 


Transparency Implementation

Transparency associated with nuclear facilities will generally fall into one of two major categories. The first category includes access to actual data that results from monitoring operational and environmental parameters at a particular nuclear facility. The second major category involves ensuring public access to information related to the decision making process associated with nuclear facilities.

Monitored/Measured Parameters: Most nuclear facilities include hundreds of sensors that provide valuable information used for ensuring that internal processes remain functional and continue to perform in an optimum manner. A second set of sensors are associated with off-normal conditions and implement safety functions either automatically or in conjunction with a pre-determined manual response function by facility operators. A third set of sensors provides information to the facility operators relative to the state of the environment in and around the nuclear facility, including those meteorological parameters that could potentially impact facility operations. Some of the information that these sensors provide can impart a sense of comfort to the local population, assuring them that the facility is functioning in a normal manner.

Providing communities with a "look inside" can be very helpful in diminishing the sense of secrecy that often surrounds nuclear facilities. A major transparency implementation issue is determining what information is important to the local population and how that information can be obtained without impacting the operations of the facility or inadvertently revealing sensitive security or personnel information.

Access to Information and Processes: Development of facilities intended for peaceful uses of nuclear energy is often a very lengthy and complex process that can consume many years or even decades of time before the onset of actual operations. One key ingredient to the successful completion of this process involves gaining support from the local populations and their government agencies by ensuring that the process is open and honest from start to finish. With today’s communication capabilities, large volumes of information can be made available to the general public using the Internet as an information dissemination medium. Documentation associated with nuclear facility development must be available to the public in a format and at a language level that can be understood by every member of a community.