The Legacy of Nuclear Power
A new book by Andrew Blowers
In all the arguments about the future of nuclear power, one fundamental issue seems to be overlooked – the inevitable and long-lasting legacy of radioactive waste, contamination and risk that it leaves for generations to come. Already this legacy is massive and will take decades to clean up. Adding to this intractable and enduring problem by building more nuclear power stations should be economically and morally unthinkable.
|In his new book, The Legacy of Nuclear Power, Andrew Blowers, academic and activist, brings to life what the legacy means for our future and why. It is published at a critical time when the future of nuclear energy is high on the political agenda across the world.
The Legacy of Nuclear Power
(Routledge, 2016: Pb 9780415869997)
A social and technical problem
Managing the nuclear legacy is not just a technical problem; it is a social one, too. The places studied in this book, Hanford, Sellafield, La Hague as well as many others across the world, have long lived with the legacy and will continue to do so. In some places, Gorleben the most significant, the nuclear industry has met with resistance and has never become fully established, indicating how difficult it will be for nuclear energy to develop in new locations. The places covered in this book are all, in their different ways, nuclear oases, peripheral places with distinctive identities. Their stories represent the changing discourses of the nuclear industry through its early years down to the present day. Whatever the future fortunes of the nuclear industry, its legacy and the communities that manage it, will be with us for generations to come.
This fascinating short article that previews the books focuses on four nuclear communities tellingly demonstrates why radioactive waste is a moral issue and explains what the priorities for its management should be:
"Andy Blowers knows the communities around nuclear sites, across many countries, better than anyone. His book is utterly compelling, beautifully written and explains how a variety of consecutive discourses have influenced the evolution of these ‘peripheral’ communities, giving them the ambiguous status of being both marginal and dependent, but also endowed with political influence. In this process, he shows with great clarity and insight why it is so difficult to move forward with long-term solutions for the nuclear waste problem and why the waste is so unlikely to move from its current locations."
– Gordon MacKerron, Former Chair of UK Committee on Radioactive Waste Management
About the Author:
Andrew Blowers OBE is Emeritus Professor of Social Sciences at the Open University. Over a long career he has been involved in the field of environmental politics and policy making as an academic, politician, government adviser, nuclear company director and prominent environmental activist. As a member of the first Committee on Radioactive Waste Management he was directly responsible for some of the UK’s policy on legacy waste. The Legacy of Nuclear Power brings together his varied experience and expertise and reflects his lifetime concern with the fate of nuclear communities now and in the future.
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