Abstract for: Nuclear Waste Management: Strategic Framework for Large-Scale Government Programs: Addressing Legacy Waste from the Cold War

We present a framework for the use of an influence diagram, or causal loop diagram, to develop system insight into the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) responsibility for environmental cleanup of legacy nuclear waste. We use this framework for exploring policy options, analyzing plans, addressing management challenges and developing mitigation strategies for DOE Office of Environmental Management (EM). The sociotechnical complexity of EM’s mission compels the use of a qualitative approach to analysis to complement a more a quantitative discrete event modeling effort. We use this analysis to drive scenarios for the model, pinpoint pressure and leverage points and develop a shared conceptual understanding of the problem space among stakeholders. This approach affords the opportunity to discuss problems using a unified conceptual perspective and is also general enough that it applies to a broad range of capital investment/production operations problems.