The Legacy of Nuclear Power and What Should Be Done About It
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.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Beck, U. (1992). Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity, London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Blowers, A. (2017). The Legacy of Nuclear Power, Oxford: Earthscan from Routledge.Google Scholar
- Bradley, D. (1998). Behind the Nuclear Curtain: Radioactive Waste Management in the Former Soviet Union, Columbus, Ohio: Battelle Press.Google Scholar
- Brown, K. (2013). Plutopia, Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- CoRWM [Committee on Radioactive Waste Management] (2006). Managing our Radioactive Waste Safely: CoRWM’s Recommendations to Government, London: CoRWM, November.Google Scholar
- CoRWM (2007). Ethics and Decision Making for Radioactive Waste, CoRWM, February.Google Scholar
- Crenson, M. (1971). The Un-Politics of Air Pollution: A Study of Non-Decisionmaking in the Cities, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press.Google Scholar
- DECC [Department of Energy and Climate Change] (2011). National Policy Statement for Nuclear Power Generation (EN-6), Vol.II, Annexes, October.Google Scholar
- IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] (1995). The Principles of Radioactive Waste Management, Safety Series No. 111-F, Vienna.Google Scholar
- Jonas, H. (1984)The Imperative of Responsibility, Chicago, University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Kommentus (2001). Responsibility, Equity and Credibility – Ethical Dilemmas Relating to Radioactive Waste, Stockholm: Kommentus Forlag.Google Scholar
- Perrow, C. (1999). Normal Accidents: Living with High Risk Technologies, Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (1976). Nuclear Power and the Environment, Sixth Report, Cmnd 6618, HMSO, London (The Flowers Report).Google Scholar
- Shulman, S. (1992). The Threat at Home: Confronting the Toxic Legacy of the US Military, Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
- Sovacool, B. (2011). Contesting the Future of Nuclear Power, Singapore: World Scientific.Google Scholar