Nuclear Power and Justice between Generations. A Moral Analysis of Fuel Cycles

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When we produce nuclear power we are depleting a non-renewable resource (uranium) that will eventually not be available to future generations. Furthermore the ensuing nuclear waste needs to be isolated from the biosphere for long periods of time to come. This gives rise to the problem of justice to posterity or intergenerational justice. Different production methods or nuclear fuel cycles address these issues differently which is why we first need to carefully scrutinize all the possibilities. This book presents just such an analysis by investigating how the various fuel cycles employed will affect the interests of future generations. It combines philosophical discussions on justice to future generations with the technological realities of nuclear power production: what is our moral obligation to posterity and to what extent can existing technologies help us to meet such obligations? Which scientifically feasible future technologies have the potential to help us to comply with these obligations better? The answers to these questions can help decision-makers to reflect on the desirability of future fuel cycles, which again will support Research and Development paths for the final industrialization of a certain desirable technology.