Inclusion rather than ‘exceptionalism’

Third, these standards themselves, and regulations and international rules governing the use of nuclear power, need to be reconsidered in a more inclusive perspective. Instead of persisting in a ‘nuclear exceptionalism’ that no longer adequately serves the needs of the whole global community, a wider perspective should be taken (Abdel-Aziz et al., 2009; Hecht, 2012).

Regulatory innovators or change agents, would consider more, and perhaps different, factors than have hitherto influenced the formation of rules (Alexandre, 2011). A much broader spectrum of needs, capabilities, harms and risks — not just to humans, but to the environment and the atmosphere, and over time — will need to inform the design of more equitable rules for a more equitable and sustainable result (Sunstein, 2005; Mossman, 2006; Dell et al., 2012; Rowell, 2012; Kharecha and Hansen, 2013).

For example, a suite of goal-based SMR standards, set against the background of a more inclusive understanding of commensurable societal risks, costs and harms, could (directly or obliquely) take into consideration (among other factors) the radiological consequences of Fukushima, the higher cost of climate change to developing countries, the inherent and overlapping safety characteristics of the technology, and the social and economic detriment of lack of electricity (Wiener, 2004; Abdel-Aziz et al., 2009; IBRD, 2009; IAEA INPRO DF5, 2012; MacKay, 2009; UNDP, 2013).