Ethical dilemmas of nuclear power production and nuclear waste management

When we produce nuclear power we are depleting a non-renewable resource (uranium) that will eventually not be available to future generations. Furthermore the ensuing nuclear waste needs to be isolated from the biosphere for long periods of time to come. This gives rise to the problem of justice to posterity or intergenerational justice. Different production methods or nuclear fuel cycles address these issues differently which is why we first need to carefully scrutinize all the possibilities. This project focuses on such an analysis by investigating how the various fuel cycles employed will affect the interests of future generations.


Philosophical discussions on justice to future generations have been combined with the technological realities of nuclear power production: what is our moral obligation to posterity and to what extent can existing technologies help us to meet such obligations? Which scientifically feasible future technologies have the potential to help us to comply with these obligations better? The answers to these questions can help decision-makers to reflect on the desirability of future fuel cycles, which again will support Research and Development paths for the final industrialization of a certain desirable technology.

Related Scientific publications (selection)


  • Taebi, B. and J. L. Kloosterman. 2015. Design for values in nuclear technology. In Handbook of Ethics, Values, and Technological Design: Sources, Theory, Values and Application Domains, edited by J. van den Hoven, P. Vermaas and I. Van de Poel. Dordrecht: Springer Science+Business Media: 805-829 available online
  • Taebi, B. and S. Roeser, eds. 2015. The Ethics of Nuclear Energy: Risk, Justice and Democracy in the post-Fukushima Era. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. available online


  • Taebi, B. 2012. Intergenerational Risks of Nuclear Energy. In Handbook of Risk Theory. Epistemology, Decision Theory, Ethics and Social Implications of Risk, edited by S. Roeser, R. Hillerbrand, P. Sandin and M. Peterson. Dordrecht: Springer: 295-318. available online
  • Taebi, B., S. Roeser and I. Van de Poel. 2012. The ethics of nuclear power: social experiments, intergenerational justice, and emotions. Energy Policy (51): 202-206. available online


  • Taebi, B. 2011. Ethics of Nuclear Power: How to understand sustainability in the nuclear debate. In Nuclear Power - Deployment, Operation and Sustainability, edited by P. Tsvetkov: InTech: Rijeka, Croatia, InTech: 129-150. available online
  • Taebi, B. 2011. The Morally Desirable Option for Nuclear Power Production. Philosophy & Technology 24 (2): 169-192. available online


  • Taebi, B. and A.C. Kadak. 2010. Intergenerational Considerations Affecting the Future of Nuclear Power: Equity as a Framework for Assessing Fuel Cycles. Risk Analysis 30 (9):1341-1362. available online


  • Taebi, B. 2009. Nuclear Power and Prima Facie Duties towards Future People, Proceedings of the conference ISTAS IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society Proceedings 2009, May 18-20, 2009, Tempe, Arizona: 1-4. available online


  • Taebi, B. and A. C. Kadak. 2008. Intergenerational future of nuclear power, equity as a universal language to assess fuel cycles, Proceedings of the conference Workshop on Philosophy and Engineering, November 10-12, 2008, The Royal Academy of Engineering, London: 63-65. available online
  • Taebi, B. and J. L. Kloosterman. 2008. To Recycle or Not to Recycle? An Intergenerational Approach to Nuclear Fuel Cycles. Science and Engineering Ethics 14 (2):177-200. available online


  • Taebi, B. and Kloosterman, J.L., To Recycle or Not to Recycle? An Intergenerational Approach to Nuclear Fuel Cycles. Science and Engineering Ethics, 2007. 13(4). click to open pdf

Related Professional/Popular publications


  • Taebi, B. 2009. Splijtbare rechtvaardigheid, kernenergie en belangenconflicten tussen generaties In De politiek der dingen, edited by F. Bolkestein, J. M. van den Hoven, I. R. van de Poel and I. Oosterlaken. Budel: Uitgeverij Damon: 139-151. available online


  • Past project


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