Risky business: Moral arguments againts the Nuclear Waste Policy Act Amendments of 1987 Can consent be engineered?

Mary Manning Whitaker, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Risky Business: Moral Arguments Against the Nuclear Waste Policy Act Amendments of 1987, Can Consent Be Engineered? asks the moral and ethical questions of assigning risk. In a democracy a fundamental principle for imposing risk is obtaining the consent of the governed. In the case of a proposed high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, Congress has ignored this basic principle. An unwilling population in a politically weak state has been forced to bear the burden from highly radioactive spent fuel from nuclear power reactors operating in the majority of states. The State of Nevada does not reap the benefits from nuclear power generation and does not operate a nuclear reactor. Should a single state bear the current and future impacts and costs from such an unwanted risk? Is there a democratic solution to nuclear waste management?