An Uncomfortable Responsibility: Ethics and Nuclear Waste

The European Legacy 17 (1):71 - 82 (2012)


This article discusses the ethics of nuclear waste management in terms of the concept of responsibility for the harmful effects of modern technology. At present, the principle that every country and new generation should assume responsibility for the nuclear waste they produce is challenged by a globalised industry and the repositories of nuclear waste that have accumulated over the past fifty years and been left for future generations to manage. The basic premise of the article is that modern technology, particularly nuclear power, calls for a new kind of responsibility that extends to future generations as well. This new concept of responsibility and the principles of long-term management of nuclear waste are set out and discussed in detail, with reference to Kant, Jaspers, Jonas, Peter Kemp and others

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