The contested politics of the Asian atom: a comparative analysis of peripheralisation and nuclear power in South Korea and Japan

Park, Jinyoung and Sovacool, Benjamin (2018) The contested politics of the Asian atom: a comparative analysis of peripheralisation and nuclear power in South Korea and Japan. Environmental Politics. ISSN 0964-4016 (Accepted)

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Abstract

South Korea and Japan have adhered to an unwavering commitment to a nuclear-focused energy supply system despite the contested nature of that technology and the unprecedented Fukushima accident in 2011. In this study, we explore the socio-political consequences of four nuclear-related facilities (Ulju, Gyeongju, Futaba, and Rokkasho) through the lens of social peripheralisation. This framework suggests that nuclear facilities will migrate to communities that are geographically remote, economically marginal, politically powerless, culturally defensive, and environmentally degraded. We expand and test this framework in two ways: moving beyond the UK (where it was developed) and moving beyond only nuclear waste repositories (to include reactors, fuel processing, on-site storage, and other elements of the lifecycle). We find that nuclear infrastructures in our four cases are imposed on peripheral regions, impairing not only the structure of local economies and political power, but also creating a discriminative structure in terms of social and environmental inequality. Peripheralisation suggests a deeper dynamic by which pro-nuclear attitudes become “locked in” socially and culturally so that communities come to depend on the very processes that made them peripheral. Community dynamics, subnational struggles, and contests over local power relations may determine the future of nuclear power.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Depositing User: Ellie Leftley
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2018 14:02
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2018 14:02
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/73201

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