Colloquium: Nuclear Power and Prima Facie Duties towards Future People

Abstract:

Before assessing the desirability of nuclear power we first need to narrow down the focus on its potential and its impediments. Within the technological possibilities of nuclear power production, I shall formulate two prima facie duties for safeguarding the interests of future generations: 1) to ensure that they have access to at least the same resources as we have and 2) to ensure that the burdens imposed upon them remain minimal. The fulfilling of these duties necessitates the application of certain technologies, all of which gives rise to intergenerational burdens and benefits that could potentially be conflicting. To what extent can we expect sacrifices from our contemporaries if we are to reduce burdens or enhance benefits for people of the future?