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InSOTEC is a collaborative social sciences research project funded under the European Atomic Energy Community. It was initiated in 2007 and currently is in its second three-year phase. The project is focused on the complex interplay between technical and social questions and issues as they are manifested in the area of radioactive waste management. The design and implementation of geologic disposal have received special attention from the project.

InSOTEC has a special interest in negotiations that take place in terms of problem definition and proposed solutions, in the area of radioactive waste management. One aim of the project is to develop a fine-grained understanding of how the technical and the social influence, shape and build upon each other in the case of radioactive waste management and the design and implementation of geologic disposal.

The project includes four research oriented work packages:

WP1 provides a review of national and international Radioactive Waste Management focusing on the correlation of socio-political and techno-scientific challenges and whether or not they are acknowledged and dealt with as such.

WP2 consists of an assessment of mechanisms regarding the interaction of social and technical challenges through a number of case studies. These are: siting; technology transfer and transfer of socio-technical innovations; the issue of reversibility and irretrievability; and the demonstration of safety.

WP3 looks at arenas where socio-technical combinations on RWM are formed through the co-production of knowledge between different actors. For this reason, networks or spaces are explored where people and organizations from various backgrounds interact with each other and create knowledge through a process of dialogue. A particular case study is the Implementing Geological Disposal Technology Platform (IGD-TP).

WP4 links the research activity to the practice of Radioactive Waste Management and Geological Disposal by offering concluding reflections and recommendations.