Societal aspects of nuclear research
Throughout the last decades, the ever growing use of technology in our society has brought along the need to reflect on the related impact on the ecosystem, human health and on society as such.
Issues of justification and risk management of technological applications
There is growing evidence that the complexity of issues of justification and risk management of technological applications such as nuclear and fossil fuels, cloning and genetically modified crops cannot be tackled by pure rational technological and economical reasoning alone.
The first reason is that, due to the complex and interlinked character of causal natural and technical systems and the time dimension of processes, the natural sciences behind these applications cannot provide clear and quantifiable evidence of the inherent risks, potential impacts and related consequences.
Secondly, evaluating these technologies and their alternatives in a policy context unavoidably leads to a multifactorial exercise of balancing benefits and burdens, while certain practices, even in a context of peaceful application, may be perceived as being incompatible with personal or group value frameworks.
In order to pursue robust and transparent policies that integrate justification of these complex technological applications, and that, at the same time, could provide answers to the concerns of civil society, both supportive research and political decision making need a transdisciplinary approach and should be done in close interaction with civil society.
Research on societal aspects of nuclear technology and radioactivity
The SCK•CEN research on societal aspects of the applications of nuclear technology and radioactivity is organised within the PISA programme, which is one of the research programme lines of the Society and Policy Support expert group.Contact person(s)