The question of what to do with radioactive waste has dogged political administrations of nuclear-powered electricity-producing nations since the inception of the technology in the 1950s. As the issue rises to the forefront of current energy and environmental policy debates, a critical policy analysis of radioactive waste management in the UK provides important insights for the future.
Nuclear Waste Politics sets out a detailed historical and social scientific analysis of radioactive waste management and disposal in the UK from the 1950s up to the present day; drawing international comparisons with Sweden, Finland, Canada and the US. A theoretical framework is presented for analysing nuclear politics: blending literatures on technology policy, environmental ethics and the geography and politics of scale. The book proffers a new theory of "ethical incrementalism" and practical policy suggestions to facilitate a fair and efficient siting process for radioactive waste management facilities. The book argues that a move away from centralised, high capital investment national siting towards a regional approach using deep borehole disposal, could resolve many of the problems that the high stakes, inflexible "megaproject" approach has caused across the world.
This book is an important resource for academics and researchers in the areas of environmental management, energy policy, and science and technology studies.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 – The problem of radioactive wastes
Chapter 2 – Inflexible technologies and incrementalism
Chapter 3 –Nuclear power and the problem of radioactive waste
Chapter 4 - Nirex and the search for a site
Chapter 5 – Health, environmental risks and the social construction of radioactive waste
Chapter 6 - The participatory-deliberative turn
Chapter 7 - Managing Radioactive Waste Safely
Chapter 8 – Partnership, volunteerism and ethical incrementalism
Chapter 9 – What next for nuclear waste?
Matthew Cotton is a Lecturer in Environmental Policy and Planning at the University of Sheffield, UK