Public opposition to the disposal of radioactive waste in the United Kingdom has often been characterised as being largely of the "not in my backyard" (NIMBY) variety. In this paper, the history of policy for the management of radioactive waste in the United Kingdom is reviewed, highlighting the numerous shifts in policy and the combination of political and technical factors at work. It is argued that much of the public distrust of plans for radioactive waste and the public perception of the risks of the disposal of radioactive waste is heavily influenced by that history.
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