Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Postpone the nuclear waste decision

Although nuclear waste has been produced for a long time, there is still no good way to discard the highly toxic material, which remains hazardous for up to 130 000 years.
In his new book titled Nuclear Waste Management and Legitimacy. Nihilism and Responsibility, Mats Andrén, professor in History of Ideas and Science at the University of Gothenburg, discusses the nuclear waste issue from a humanistic perspective.

The nuclear waste debate is usually focused on technology. Yet in order to better understand and discuss the problem, the issue should be viewed from a humanistic perspective where societal aspects are considered. We need a better conceptual framework, says Andrén, who addresses the issue of legitimacy in his book.

‘Legitimacy is a very central concept when it comes to nuclear waste management. Lack of legitimacy has stopped many plans to store nuclear waste for example below the ocean floor, in the bedrock or in space, due to resistance and uncertainties regarding the plans,’ he says. He argues that inability to establish legitimacy is one explanation to why political decisions regarding a solution to the problem are lacking.

His book proceeds from the policy considerations, cultural understanding and ethical concerns currently associated with nuclear waste management. It examines some of the underlying, often hidden, ideas involved and explores the conceptual framework focused on legitimacy and responsibility and applying it to the nuclear waste issue, with a particular emphasis on analysing and discussing deep geological disposal.

In Sweden, the plan is to store the waste in the bedrock 450 metres below the surface. In his book, Andrén discusses what it really means to bury nuclear waste for thousands of year. He writes that we could learn from the past: What is buried usually comes to light one day, with the belief that it might be valuable in some way. In a future energy-scarce world, nuclear waste might be dug up and used as a resource – despite the radiation.

‘Picture a very energy-hungry world where nobody knows how to handle nuclear waste. Let’s say we stop using nuclear power in 100 years, and somebody digs it up 500 years later. How do we know that the necessary knowledge about how to manage the waste is passed on to future generations? Or maybe archaeologists will dig it up in say 2000 years in response to some indication that the rock is hiding

Mats Andrén believes that it would be better to store the waste above ground, where it can be safely monitored, and postpone the storage decision for another couple of decades.
‘Maybe we’ll use nuclear power for another 40-100 years. I argue that the storage decision can wait and that we should focus on evaluating the options and on gaining more knowledge in the meantime.’

The book Nuclear Waste Management and Legitimacy. Nihilism and Responsibility will start selling on 14 March.

For more information, please contact:
Mats Andrén, professor in History of Ideas and Science
Telephone: +46 (0)31 786 44 76

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>