Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Postpone the nuclear waste decision

02.04.2012
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
E-mail: mats.andren@lir.gu.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Waste in the water – New purification techniques for healthier aquatic ecosystems
24.07.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht Plenty of habitat for bears in Europe
24.07.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

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: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Staying in Shape

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Diving robots find Antarctic seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide in winter

16.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Protein droplets keep neurons at the ready and immune system in balance

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>