In the area of radioactive waste management, the regulator or safety authority has emerged as a principal actor in the eyes of civil society. This study shows how regulators are increasing their interaction with society while still retaining – or reinforcing – their independence, and how they play their role within the stepwise decision making processes now adopted in most countries. Decision-making takes place in a “regulatory system”, in which not only the safety authority but a host of other players have a role to play. The regulator has come to be considered as the “people’s expert”, concentrating knowledge useful to local communities as they deliberate the hosting of a waste storage or disposal facility. The study updates a document first published in 2003. While it focuses on developments in the field of geological disposal, the trends it describes are probably relevant throughout the nuclear field.