One factor in the controversies about nuclear energy in the Federal Republic of Germany that has hardly been researched so far is the "Citizens' Dialogue on Nuclear Energy". It was launched in 1975 by the then Federal Minister of Research Matthöfer as a reaction of the Federal Government to the growing resistance among the population. The research project is to examine the "Citizens' Dialogue on Nuclear Energy" comprehensively, interdisciplinarily and multi-perspectively, and to classify it from today's perspective (historical studies, political science/participation research and communication studies are involved). The period under consideration covers the years 1974 to 1983 and is based on extensive archival research. In addition to the source-critical analysis of documents from state archives, archives of initiatives and private individuals will be evaluated. Interviews with actors involved at the time ("contemporary witnesses") complement the approach. The results will be presented to the public.

The project focuses on questions of disposal (reprocessing, interim storage, final disposal). The core of the project is the scientific analysis of the interactions between state actors and organised civil society, their motives and mutual perceptions, as well as the transfer to today's site selection procedure. The aim is to identify the strengths, weaknesses and limitations of the activities at that time and to learn from them for the present.The client of the research project is the Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Disposal (BASE). According to the Act on the Search and Selection of a Site for a Repository for High-Level Radioactive Waste (Site Selection Act - StandAG) of 5 May 2017, the Federal Office is responsible for public participation in the site selection procedure. It creates the foundations and boundary conditions for how citizens can be involved in the site search in order to find a solution that is supported by a broad social consensus.

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