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The EnvironmentPhilosophy, Science, and Ethics$
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William P. Kabasenche, Michael O'Rourke, and Matthew H. Slater

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780262017404

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262017404.001.0001

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Emissions, Economics, and Equity: Problems with Nuclear Solutions to Climate Change

Emissions, Economics, and Equity: Problems with Nuclear Solutions to Climate Change

(p.245) 14 Emissions, Economics, and Equity: Problems with Nuclear Solutions to Climate Change
The Environment

Kristin Shrader-Frechette

The MIT Press

This chapter focuses on addressing the problems faced by current climate policy and attempts to show how equitable it would be to increase commercial nuclear energy in an effort to help address climate change. This type of assessment, as is argued here, must not only focus on what is wrong with current climate policy but also on proposing solutions to current problems or ways on how to correct flawed policies. This chapter shows first that because atomic power has nearly the same CO2-equivalent emissions as natural gas and because it is far more expensive than many renewable-energy technologies, it is not one of the more effective ways to address climate change. Next, it is explained that because of ethically flawed radiation-protection standards, using nuclear fission imposes environmental injustices on indigenous communities, workers, children, and members of future generations.

Keywords:   climate policy, commercial nuclear energy, climate change, atomic power, renewable-energy technologies, radiation-protection standards, nuclear fission, environmental injustices

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