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The Legacy of Nuclear Power and What Should Be Done About It

Peripheral Communities and the Management of the Nuclear Legacy
  • Andrew BlowersEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Energiepolitik und Klimaschutz. Energy Policy and Climate Protection book series (EPKS)

Abstract

Nuclear’s legacy from its civil and military programmes is concentrated in ‘nuclear oases’, places of nuclear risk that are peripheral, in terms of their remoteness, economic marginality and political powerlessness. By a process of ‘peripheralisation’ whereby nuclear activities are pulled towards existing locations and repelled elsewhere, these places are reproduced and reinforced as landscapes of risk extending over space and time. Geological disposal is the accepted method of managing the legacy of nuclear wastes but it is proving difficult to find sites that are scientifically or socially acceptable. So, for the foreseeable future, clean up and safe storage are the pressing and pragmatic solutions.

The problem of dealing with the nuclear legacy in its peripheral locations is complex and will take time but the size of the inventory is known and its management is unavoidable. But it would be premature to claim that a permanent solution for legacy wastes has been found, let alone for wastes arising from nuclear new build. Creating more wastes is avoidable, its legacy unknowable and it would impose unmanageable burdens on peripheral communities far into the future. For the present and foreseeable future the practical and ethical approach is to take a continuing responsibility by managing the legacy through clean up and storage, keeping it accessible and taking remedial action when necessary.

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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Open UniversityMilton KeynesUnited Kingdom

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