Nuclear Power- Ethics Study

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VALUE ISSUES IN DECISION-MAKING ABOUT
NUCLEAR POWER GENERATION:
AN ETHICAL ANALYSIS

Report drawn up for Afrosearch

by

Prof. Johan Hattingh and Me. Leanne Seeliger

Unit for Environmental Ethics
University of Stellenbosch

March 2002
1
Report on Value issues in decision-making about nuclear power generation. Final Version: 15 March 2002. Prepared for Afrosearch by the Unit for Environmental Ethics, University of Stellenbosch. This Report consists of 98 pages in total, including the Executive Summary , Bibliography and Addendas.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ………………………………………………………………………..3

1. INTRODUCTION ……………………………………………………………………………....…4

2. METHODOLOGY …………………………………………………………………………..…....6 3. THE BASIS AND STRUCTURE OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS …………………..…….6

4. A HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF THE EMERGENCE OF VALUE ISSUES ………..……11 RELATED TO NUCLEAR POWER GENERATION
4.1 The nuclear debate in the USA ……………………………….……13 4.2

The nuclear debate in Western Europe ……………………………21

4.3

The nuclear debate in South Africa ……………………………..…25

5. THE ORIGINS, PARAMETERS AND IDEOLOGICAL CHARACTER OF THE SOCIOPOLITICAL DEBATE ABOUT NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY ………..…………..…………35 6. IDENTIFYING CORE ASSUMPTIONS AND VALUE ISSUES IN THE ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST NUCLEAR ENERGY …………………………………………….……45 6.1

A schematic overview ……………………………………………….45 6.2

On the question whether nuclear power is clean or not …………52

6.3

On the question whether nuclear power is safe or not …………..56

6.4

Nuclear energy and nuclear weapons ……………………………..64

6.5

On the question whether nuclear power is affordable or not ……67

7.

CONCLUSION ……………………………………………………………………………..69

8.

BIBLIOGRAPHY …………………………………………………………………………...75

ADDENDUM 1: SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS ……………………………..80 ADDENDUM 2: FOCUSING ON VALUES IN PUBLIC DECISION-MAKING:
IMPORTANCE, METHODOLOGY AND VALUE ADDED …………………………….92 GLOSSARY…………………………………………………………………………………98

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Report on Value issues in decision-making about nuclear power generation. Final Version: 15 March 2002. Prepared for Afrosearch by the Unit for Environmental Ethics, University of Stellenbosch. This Report consists of 98 pages in total, including the Executive Summary , Bibliography and Addendas.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
This report gives an overview of the value and ethical issues relevant to decision-making about nuclear power generation in general.

An historical overview of the emergence of these value issues as they respectively related to the USA, Western Europe and South Africa was traced in Section 4.

Questions with regards to the ambivalence towards nuclear power generation (i.e. strong opposition versus strong support) that emerged from this historical overview were analyzed in Section 5 and 6, where they were placed within the context of a social-cultural as well as an analysis of ideology. In this regard it was found that nuclear science and technology has brought modernism to its peak, but exactly this has also raised problems that cannot be overcome from within the framework of conventional responses of modernism itself.

Section 6 of this report has been devoted to a close analysis of particular arguments pro- and contra nuclear power generation as they relate to value issues with regards to nuclear power generation in general. Particular attention was given to issues of: §

Clean energy

§

Safety

§

Nuclear energy and nuclear weapons

§

The cost of nuclear energy.

The recommendations for decision-making that we make, have been based on the principles and contents of common morality, the contours of which are discussed in Section 3. These recommendations are stated in the report within the context from which they have emerged. All of these recommendations have been consolidated in a separate list at the end of this report (see Addendum 1). It is important to note that these recommendations should be read in conjunction with one another, and...
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