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Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 446;

Sustainability, Ethics and Nuclear Energy: Escaping the Dichotomy

Centre de Recherches Interdisciplinaires en Bioéthique, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), 50 av. F. D. Roosevelt, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Department of Technology, Values and Innovation, Delft University of Technology, Jaffalaan 5, 2628 BX Delft, The Netherlands
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 January 2017 / Revised: 2 March 2017 / Accepted: 3 March 2017 / Published: 17 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Nuclear Power)
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In this paper we suggest considering sustainability as a moral framework based on social justice, which can be used to evaluate technological choices. In order to make sustainability applicable to discussions of nuclear energy production and waste management, we focus on three key ethical questions, namely: (i) what should be sustained; (ii) why should we sustain it; and (iii) for whom should we sustain it. This leads us to conceptualize the notion of sustainability as a set of values, including safety, security, environmental benevolence, resource durability, and economic viability of the technology. The practical usefulness of sustainability as a moral framework is highlighted by demonstrating how it is applicable for understanding intergenerational dilemmas—between present and future generations, but also among different future generations—related to nuclear fuel cycles and radioactive waste management. View Full-Text
Keywords: equity; fuel cycle; future generations; radioactive waste; safety; security; sustainability equity; fuel cycle; future generations; radioactive waste; safety; security; sustainability
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Kermisch, C.; Taebi, B. Sustainability, Ethics and Nuclear Energy: Escaping the Dichotomy. Sustainability 2017, 9, 446.

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