Recherche – Thèses Canada

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Durant, Darrin.
Burying nuclear waste, exposing nuclear authority :Canada's nuclear waste disposal concept and expert-lay discourse.
Ph. D. -- University of Toronto, 2008
Ottawa :Library and Archives Canada = Bibliothèque et Archives Canada,[2009]
4 microfiches
Includes bibliographical references.
This thesis investigates Canada's debates about nuclear waste disposal, concentrating on the public inquiry into a nuclear waste disposal concept (held 1996-97). My evidence is an analysis of public inquiry transcripts, plus industry and Government documents (produced since 1954). My focus is on disputes about what the issue was that was in contention. I identify several different ways in which the issue in dispute was framed, specifically how expert and public groups enacted competing framings. I show that proponents of the waste disposal concept shifted grounds in terms of how they framed the issue: from solving the nuclear waste problem as intimately connected to ensuring a future for commercial nuclear power, to separating these two issues. Proponents also initially excluded the public from involvement in decision-making, but in contemporary times they embrace public involvement. This shift was mediated by declining support for nuclear power in general, as well as failures to retain control over the terms of debate and assessment themselves. Disposal concept supporters framed the issue as one of how to proceed in the face of technical uncertainty, and have thus marginalized deficiencies in present-day evidence for safe disposal by arguing future site-specific investigations will resolve all technical issues. This 'viable in principle' defense has been strenuously opposed by public opposition groups, who have framed the issue as involving more than just narrow questions of concept feasibility and safe disposal. Public critics have framed the issue as intimately connected with the legitimacy of present-day democratic procedures for ensuring the accountability of decisions. An analysis of the history of these competing framings suggests that much skepticism should attend recent nuclear industry claims to be accountable to public feedback. I also draw upon this history to comment upon debates about what is more salient: public capacities as experts or public rights as citizens. I show that ensuring democratic accountability, rather than just representation, has been an underlying political demand of public opposition groups, and that their main concern has been with the very ability to negotiate what the nuclear waste disposal issue ought to mean.
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