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Lecture | Public Ethics Talk

Nuclear Ethics: Nuclear Energy and Weapons in an Uncertain World

Wednesday 4 May 2022
Public Ethics Talks
The event will be hosted via Teams

Behnam Taebi: Uncertainties about Nuclear Energy Policies

The debate about the future of nuclear energy is often reduced to a yes/no dichotomy. Ethics is expected to serve in this debate in a stop light fashion showing a green or red light to nuclear energy policies. The talk aims to shift from this “stop light” approach to a different one, that evaluates nuclear energy from the perspective of values this technology aims to serve or could compromise. This latter approach elevates the discussion to why (morally speaking) we wish to produce (nuclear) energy, how we could do that in various technological pathways and what the ethical implication are of each pathways. It further helps to appreciate the complexities in this debate and it highlights inevitable normative uncertainties, as situations in which there is more than one defensible answer to an ethical question. The talk presents a taxonomy of normative uncertainties, distinguishing between evolutionary, conceptual, theoretical and epistemic normative uncertainties. Each category will be illustrated using examples from the ongoing public debate about the future of nuclear energy. 

Nina Tannenwald: Nuclear Weapons and an Ethical Response to the Ukraine War

This talk aims to analyze the rhetoric of nuclear weapons threats and responses to these threats surrounding the war in Ukraine. It does so by bringing in a perspective that combines ethical theorizing, reflections on global security issues, and a human rights view to warfare policies.

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