Beyond Fukushima: Disasters, Nuclear Energy, and Energy Law
Lincoln L. Davies
University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law
December 20, 2011
Brigham Young University Law Review, Vol. 2011, pp. 1937-1989
Nuclear power long has held a precarious position in our energy landscape. In the aftermath of the meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan, the question of nuclear power’s future is as pressing as ever. Using Fukushima as a template, this article examines the role that disasters play in shaping energy law and policy. It argues that by focusing on disasters, energy law becomes shortsighted. Its evolution is often both reactionary and incremental — reactionary because changes in the law respond only to the immediate crisis, incremental because those changes do not address the crises’ root causes. As Fukushima makes clear, this exposes a dual flaw in U.S. energy policy: Our energy laws need to look more to sustainability, and they must include heavier doses of planning. The article begins by sketching the events that caused the Fukushima disaster, tracing three nation’s reactions to it, and then conceptualizing the role that disasters play in energy law.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 54
Keywords: Nuclear energy, Fukushima, disasters, energy law, energy policy, environmental law, sustainability, planning
JEL Classification: Q4, Q41, Q42, Q48, K19, K32, l52,L94, L97, L98, N50, N70, 020, 030, 033, 038, Q30, Q20
Date posted: February 21, 2012
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