Confronting Risks: Regulatory Responsibility and Nuclear Energy

Steven Vanderheiden

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)
    6 Downloads (Pure)


    The imperatives of contemporary environmental governance require the minimization and/or the redistribution of risk among persons, peoples, and generations, subject to various tradeoffs and based in several key principles of risk distribution. Especially in cases involving manufactured risks, justice requires that states and societies protect their vulnerable from avoidable anthropogenic risk, and this imperative forms the basis for regulatory responsibility. The ethical issues surrounding risk as they apply to nuclear energy, including those inherent in expanded nuclear development as well as in continued reliance upon non-nuclear sources of electrical generation, are examined. Of particular concern is comparison of the risks associated with nuclear energy and those related to reliance upon carbon-intensive energy sources, including issues of justice in the distribution of risk and the legitimacy of involuntarily imposed risks, such that the potential costs and benefits associated with each of these risk-laden options can be meaningfully compared and the proposal to expand nuclear power as a climate policy tool critically assessed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)650-667
    Number of pages18
    JournalEnvironmental Politics
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011

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