Specifying the Concept of Future Generations for Addressing Issues Related to High-Level Radioactive Waste

TitleSpecifying the Concept of Future Generations for Addressing Issues Related to High-Level Radioactive Waste
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsKermisch, C
JournalScience & Engineering Ethics
Date Published2016
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number13533452
KeywordsDEBATES , ENVIRONMENTAL , Future , Geological , Nuclear , radioactive , safety , security
AbstractThe nuclear community frequently refers to the concept of 'future generations' when discussing the management of high-level radioactive waste. However, this notion is generally not defined. In this context, we have to assume a wide definition of the concept of future generations, conceived as people who will live after the contemporary people are dead. This definition embraces thus each generation following ours, without any restriction in time. The aim of this paper is to show that, in the debate about nuclear waste, this broad notion should be further specified and to clarify the related implications for nuclear waste management policies. Therefore, we provide an ethical analysis of different management strategies for high-level waste in the light of two principles, protection of future generations-based on safety and security-and respect for their choice. This analysis shows that high-level waste management options have different ethical impacts across future generations, depending on whether the memory of the waste and its location is lost, or not. We suggest taking this distinction into account by introducing the notions of 'close future generations' and 'remote future generations', which has important implications on nuclear waste management policies insofar as it stresses that a retrievable disposal has fewer benefits than usually assumed. 
NotesKermisch, Celine 1; Email Address: ckermisc@ulb.ac.be; Affiliation: 1: Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) , 50 Avenue F. D. Roosevelt CP 165/84 1050 Brussels Belgium; Source Info: Dec2016, Vol. 22 Issue 6, p1797; Subject Term: Radioactive wastes -- Management; Subject Term: Debates & debating; Subject Term: Environmental ethics; Subject Term: Nuclear energy -- Safety measures; Subject Term: Radioactive waste disposal -- Government policy; Author-Supplied Keyword: Future generations; Author-Supplied Keyword: Geological disposal; Author-Supplied Keyword: Nuclear power; Author-Supplied Keyword: Radioactive waste; Author-Supplied Keyword: Safety; Author-Supplied Keyword: Security; NAICS/Industry Codes: 221113 Nuclear Electric Power Generation; NAICS/Industry Codes: 562211 Hazardous Waste Treatment and Disposal; NAICS/Industry Codes: 562210 Waste treatment and disposal; Number of Pages: 15p; Document Type: Article