Book Chapter

Design for Values in Nuclear Technology

| 2014


Safety has always been an important criterion for designing nuclear reactors, but in addition to safety, there are at least four other values that play a key role, namely, security (i.e., sabotage and proliferation), sustainability (i.e., environmental impacts, energy resource availability), economic viability (i.e., embarking on new technology and its continuation), as well as intergenerational justice (i.e., what we leave behind for future generations). This chapter reviews the evolution of generations of nuclear reactors (I, II, III, III, and IV) in terms of these values. We argue that the Best Achievable Nuclear Reactor would maximally satisfy all these criteria, but the safest reactor is not always the most sustainable one, while the reactor that best guarantees resource durability could easily compromise safety and security. Since we cannot meet all these criteria simultaneously, choices and trade-offs need to be made. We highlight these choices by discussing three promising future reactor types, namely, the high-temperature reactor pebble-bed module (HTR-PM), the molten salt-cooled reactor (MSR) and the gas-cooled fast reactor (GFR).

About This Book Chapter

Molten Salt Reactor diagram

Design for Values in Nuclear Technology
Jan Leen Kloosterman
For more information on this publication: Please contact International Security
For Academic Citation: Taebi, Behnam, and Jan Leen Kloosterman. “Design for Values in Nuclear Technology.” In Handbook of Ethics, Values, and Technological Design: Sources, Theory, Values and Application Domains. 2014.

The Authors