Etzkowitz, Henry
August 1984
Humanity & Society;Aug84, Vol. 8 Issue 3, p228
Academic Journal
The article presents a discussion on corporate induced disaster and the delegitimation of nuclear power. Delegitimation is expected by some to occur as a consequence of the economic and political crises of capitalism. Delegitimation occurs in the wake of a corporate induced disaster. The exposure of contradictions of cost and safety inherent in the development of nuclear energy is closing down the nuclear construction industry. There are strong economic and political pressures on electric utilities to withdraw from the nuclear industry but some companies are so deeply involved financially that their withdrawal could lead to bankruptcy. The author holds that when electric utilities finally give up the development of nuclear energy one will be forced to confront the essentially military purpose of nuclear research and development. Nevertheless, although the ideology and technology of the nuclear industry has been severely challenged by the anti-nuclear movement, the industry has not collapsed and its proponents look forward to its revival in the 1990's when demand for electricity was predicted to increase again. While crises encourage delegitimation they were not sufficient, by themselves, to complete the process of delegitimation. The final remaining legitimating theme of the nuclear industry was the contention that there is no viable alternative to nuclear energy as a source of power.


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