University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Political Science

Taylor Polity Article - 2013

"Thinking About Nuclear Power"

Professor Bob Pepperman Taylor, in a recently published article (Polity 45 (2), 297-311), analyzes the opposition to nuclear power, distinguishing between what he calls survivalist opposition to nuclear power (built on a conviction that the central moral fact about nuclear power is the likely cataclysmic threat it represents) and opposition focused instead on matters of justice and democratic equality. He argues that survivalist concerns played a dominant role in the uncompromising opposition to nuclear power in the past, but the democratic critique holds more promise for strong opposition today. The tension between these two elements of the anti-nuclear power movement reflects a more general tension in the environmental movement as a whole, and it provides an illustration writ small for why environmentalists do well to avoid resting the full weight of their politics on the science of human (and broader ecosystem) survival.

Last modified September 24 2013 12:06 PM