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Intergenerational Issues Regarding Nuclear Power, Nuclear Waste, and Nuclear Weapons

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Nuclear power, nuclear waste, and nuclear weapons raise substantial public concern in many countries. While new support for nuclear power can be found in arguments concerning greenhouse gases and global warming, the long-term existence of radioactive waste has led to requirements for 10,000-year isolation. Some of the support for such requirements is based on intergenerational equity arguments. This, however, places a very high value on lives far in the future. An alternative is to use discounting, as is applied to other resource applications. Nuclear weapons, even though being dismantled by the major nations, are growing in number due to the increase in the number of countries possessing these weapons of mass destruction. This is an unfortunate legacy for future generations.

Keywords: Intergenerational; nuclear power; radioactive waste

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Duke University, and Sigma Xi, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709

Publication date: December 1, 2000


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