The nuclear power renaissance in the UK: democratic deficiencies within the 'consensus' on sustainability

Johnstone, Philip (2010) The nuclear power renaissance in the UK: democratic deficiencies within the 'consensus' on sustainability. Human Geography, 3 (2). pp. 91-104.

Download (938kB) | Preview


This paper focuses on New Labour’s policy towards the nuclear renaissance. It places this policy in the context of wider discussions on the democratic implications of the new constellations of governance emerging from the drive towards more sustainable futures. The paper identifies two crucial developments within the nuclear renaissance: firstly, the controversy surrounding the consultative process in 2006 and 2007; and secondly, the creation of new ‘efficient’ and ‘streamlined’ planning procedures through the establishment of the Planning Act 2008 and The Infrastructure and Planning Commission (IPC). The article builds on work which seeks to bring together questions of ‘democracy’ and ‘the political’ within discussions on ‘sustainability’. It argues that an understanding of these moments can only be properly established through an analysis of the wider discursive frame of ‘sustainability’ in which nuclear has been reinvented, and the way it has been utilized as a strategic tool of governing. The apparent ‘consensus’ on sustainability appears to foreclose discussions on multiple and divergent political imaginaries into a single shared vision. This is symptomatic of the wider conditions of the post-political and the post-democratic, where debate is reduced to managerial and technocratic particularities in which, regardless of public engagement, nuclear power becomes an ‘inevitability’

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
J Political Science
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Philip Johnstone
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2013 11:43
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2017 04:59

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update