Nuclear Power: Is It Worth the Risks?
This chapter provides a critical analysis of examples of policy recommendations that favor or oppose, respectively, nuclear power as an important component of the world's new energy economy. Each of these assessments shows how the respective policy recommendations considered or failed to take into account the lessons from the history of nuclear power. The chapter suggests an integrated framework—Political Ecology—that can incorporate qualitative and quantitative data in discussions of nuclear power. Political Ecology will not lead to a scientifically unambiguous answer about nuclear power. The framework encompasses the lessons of history, value judgments, and concerns about safety, financial investment, and electrical production, allowing political and business leaders and citizens to better understand the dilemmas surrounding energy choices and to more well-informed choices. For nuclear power, the Political-Ecological framework draws immediate attention to the two factors most prominently incomplete in positive assessments of nuclear power: safety and costs/investment/subsidies.