Beyond Fukushima: Disasters, Nuclear Energy, and Energy Law

54 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2012  

Lincoln L. Davies

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

Date Written: December 20, 2011

Abstract

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.

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

Suggested Citation

Davies, Lincoln L., Beyond Fukushima: Disasters, Nuclear Energy, and Energy Law (December 20, 2011). Brigham Young University Law Review, Vol. 2011, pp. 1937-1989. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2008401

Lincoln L. Davies (Contact Author)

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 S. University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.utah.edu

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