Impact Assessment and Participation: Case Studies on Nuclear Power Siting in West Germany

  • Volkmar J. Hartje
  • Meinolf Dierkes
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 3)


The demands for more citizen participation have so far been attributed by a number of researchers to a general legitimacy crisis of parliamentary democracies in western industrialized countries. Greater interdependency between ecological and socio-economic systems, increasing number of interventions and the cumulative effects of past interventions, have resulted in a higher likelihood of secondary, unintended impacts of public intervention. Due to differing values, goals and perceptions the assessment of these impacts is not only a question of information and valid projection, but also one of political evaluation and of the integration of these effects into policy formulation and implementation. Impact assessment then, comprises two major concerns: the development of techniques and methods to implement the concept (how to assess); and the evaluation of these impacts in the political processes (who assesses). The second concern gains its importance from the fact that governmental bureaucracies control the selection and weight of the criteria that determines the result of the impact assessment process. This has been clearly demonstrated in the context of nuclear power plant siting in all western industrialized countries.1 Citizen groups are increasingly questioning the validity of assessment data produced by power plant companies and governmental authorities. The right of these institutions to decide unilaterally on specific locations has been challenged.


Nuclear Power Plant Citizen Participation Citizen Group Western Industrialize Country License Process 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Volkmar J. Hartje
    • 1
  • Meinolf Dierkes
    • 1
  1. 1.International Institute for Environment and SocietyScience Center BerlinWest Germany

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