This publication identifies conditions which affect (either increase or decrease) public concern for and political acceptance of the development and implementation of programmes for geological disposal of long lived radioactive waste. It also looks at how interested citizens can be associated in the decision making process in such a way that their input enriches the outcome of a more socially robust and sustainable solution. The publication also considers how to optimize risk management, addressing the needs and expectations of the public and of other relevant stakeholders. Factors of relevance for societal acceptance conditions are identified for the different stages of a repository programme and implementation process, from policy development to the realization of the repository itself. Further, they are described and analysed through case studies from several countries, illustrating the added value of broadening the technical dimension with social dialogue and insight into value judgements.