Kernenergie (on)besproken

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This book discusses the nuclear controversy in Belgium from the point of view of (social) learning theories. A historical account of the nuclear controversy in Belgium paints a picture of difficult relationships, unstructured debates and strained learning opportunities. We argue that this account can (at least partially) be explained by the dynamics of polarisation exhibited by the debate, the ‘social constitution’ of nuclear power and the role of governance authorities. In the conclusion we propose some innovations which might be helpful in order to avoid reproducing the antagonistic dynamics of the past. Accepting the principle of ‘sustainable development’ as a ‘thick and vague theory of the good’ guiding future energy policy might help in reframing the (nuclear) energy debate in new and unaccustomed terms. We argue in favour of the creation of specific loci where the implications of this principle can be discussed. In any case history will matter, as actors in the nuclear debate tend to frame their expectations regarding possible future developments in light of experienced trajectories of past claims and promises. Therefore, a thorough discussion on Belgium’s nuclear past will have to inform its future.


Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLeuven, Belgium
Number of pages367
ISBN (Print)978-90-334-6659-5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007


  • history of nuclear power, controversy, sustainable development, governance

ID: 90897