"On the Uses and Disadvantages of History" for Radioactive Waste Management

Erik Laes, Jantine Schröder, Gaston Meskens

    Research outputpeer-review


    In this paper we propose a critical investigation of the epistemological, ontological, and moral foundations for the legitimacy of the (internationally accepted) permanent geological disposal option for high-level radioactive waste. We do so through a reading of Nietzsche’s second untimely meditation, “On the uses and disadvantages of history for life.” In particular, we offer an interpretation of some of the central concepts in this text and Nietzsche’s work in general—perspectivism, pluralism, active forgetting, etc.—and investigate the effects of the confrontation between these lines of thought and present practices in the management of medium- and high-level long-lived radioactive waste (categories B and C). Furthermore, we argue that this untimely meditation comes at a timely moment, i.e., at a time when modernity’s way of dealing with waste could be undergoing a major transformation. The paper ends with some preliminary reflections on our nuclear inheritance and its link with nuclear power of the future (GenIV).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)181-202
    JournalRisk, Hazards & Crisis in Public Policy
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Nov 2010
    EventManaging Radioactive Waste Problems and Challenges in a Globalizing World - CEFOS - Center for Public Sector Research, Gothenburg
    Duration: 15 Dec 200917 Dec 2009

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