Sustainability, Ethics and Nuclear Energy: Escaping the Dichotomy

Celine Kermisch, Behnam Taebi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
99 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number446
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • equity
  • fuel cycle
  • future generations
  • radioactive waste
  • safety
  • security
  • sustainability
  • OA-Fund TU Delft


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