Governmental Role-Play:

Radwaste II


Tod Loofbourrow, Lawrence Susskind, Denise Madigan and Wendy Rundle

Six-party, multi-issue negotiation among state and local government, enviromental, and industry representatives to select one of three sites for low-level radioactive waste disposal


Please note: you must order a copy (a.k.a. license/usage fee) for every person participating in the simulation in your course. This simulation has multiple roles, so you will be unable to complete your purchase without meeting the minimum quantity requirement of copies per role.

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PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. All Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

To order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Quantity.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.

Bulk Pricing Discount

For bulk orders, we offer the following pricing discounts. Please note that these only apply to bulk orders of the same simulation.

  • Between 100-250 copies – 10% discount
  • Between 251-500 copies – 25% discount
  • More than 500 copies – 50% discount
Log In or Register to download the free Teacher's Package Sample.


The state is required by federal law to site a low-level radioactive waste (LLW) facility within a year. The state's Public Management Authority (PMA), responsible for constructing and operating the facility, has identified three candidate sites. One of these sites must be chosen. The PMA is empowered to impose a site selection decision, but would prefer to see the six other stakeholder groups negotiate an agreement on one of the sites. If at least five of the six can reach agreement on a site, that site will be chosen. In the absence of an agreement, the PMA will select a site on its own. The six other stakeholders are: the town of Alford where Site A is located; the town of Bellman where Site B is located; the town of Crandon where Site C is located; a coalition of environmental groups; the Radioactive Waste Generators' Association; and the Governor's representative. The negotiations are divided into two rounds (though the players do not know this at the outset). In Round 1, the parties attempt to negotiate an agreement taking into account only the technical merits of each site. In Round 2, the negotiators are empowered to introduce other considerations, including financial compensation to the host community, legislative and administrative actions to reduce the level of LLW generated in the state, shared management and control of the LLW facility, and litigation assistance to parties involved in other environmental disputes.



  • Compensation: The importance of compensation considerations in siting negotiations is illustrated. Benefits need to be created to off-set costs in order to build consensus.
  • Benefits of simultaneous iteration: When the game is played by several groups at the same time, the comparison of outcomes is instructive. The players can explore how and why different negotiating strategies led to different outcomes. Typically, some groups will reach agreement and some will not. Very few groups will reach unanimous (6-way) agreement.
  • Pre-negotiation analysis: The importance of pre-negotiation analysis in evaluating options is illustrated. This game using stylized 'points' to indicate how desirable an outcome is.
  • Pareto-curve:Pareto-superior and Pareto-inferior arguments can be examined as illustrated by the scores.
  • Importance of neutrals: The need for a neutral "process manager" of some sort is illustrated as the parties struggle to structure their discussions.
  • Coalitions: This simulation provides an instructive context for exploring coalition strategies. Multi-issue, multi-party negotiations tend to involve the formation of coalitions, especially blocking coalitions.
  • Disclosure issues: Parties that reveal their true interests may or may not do better than those who remain silent or bluff. The advantages and disadvantages of revealing all of one's interests are illustrated in this negotiation.
  • Internal vs. External dynamics: When 14 players play the game (2 per role), they have an opportunity to explore the special difficulties of simultaneous "internal" and "external" negotiations.



The exercise works well with either 6 players (1 per role) or 12 players (2 per role).


Logistical needs:
Room for 7 or 14 people and break out rooms. Flip charts and markers are advised. A game manager is needed to facilitate process but who takes no part in substantive decision making.



For all parties:

  • General Instructions
  • Environmental Impact Statement Abstracts
  • Urgent Memo


Role Specific:

Confidential and Supplementary Instructions for the

  • Governor
  • Environmental Coalition
  • Association of Radwaste Generators
  • Town of Alford
  • Town of Bellman
  • Town of Crandon


Teacher's Package:

  • All of the above
  • Solution Set (Includes: Game Manager's Instructions and Debriefing Information)



Agenda control; Authority; BATNA; Bluffing; Caucusing; Coalitions; Commitment; Communication; Competition v. Cooperation; Constituents; Currently perceived choice analysis; Delay tactics; Environmental dispute resolution; Fairness; Facility siting and land use planning; Group process; Information exchange; Issue control; Joint gains; Linkage; low level radioactive waste management; Managing uncertainty; Media; Mediation; Meeting design; Misrepresentation; Monolithic vs. non-monolithic parties; Multi-party negotiation; Objective criteria; Offers, first; Pareto optimization; Political constraints, dealing with; Pressure tactics; Reservation price; Risk aversion; Science-intensive policy diputes; Systems of negotiation; Time constraints; Utility analysis



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Radwaste II Attributes

Time required: 3-5 hours
Number of participants: 6
Teams involved: No
Agent present: None
Neutral third party present: Mediator
Scoreable: No
Teaching notes available: Yes