Nuclear Safety and International Governance: Russia and Eastern Europe

The nuclear industry, which emerged in an atmosphere of post-war euphoria with the promise of infinite utility at virtually no cost, has been increasingly controversial in many states over the last thirty years.  As the unrealistic nature of the early claims became clear, questions began to be asked in the West as to the proportionality of the perceived risks and benefits and the adequacy of arrangements for control of the industry in the public interest @el Sesto 1982). The industry, naturally convinced of its case, responded defensively to the developing mood of scepticism and public unease, leading it to resist scrutiny and to suppress information which could subsequently be used against it. Plants tended to operate in relative isolation, with the result that there was no pooling of operating data from which lessons could be drawn and disseminated throughout the industry. Regulation, initially combined institutionally with promotion in an inherent conflict of interest, developed continually in its
comprehensiveness and complexity in response to public pressure, but did not generally win the trust of a citizenry sceptical of its eventual independence puffy 1997, Schnaiberg 1982). The international dimension, initially intended to balance promotion of the civilian industry with non-proliferation of weaponry, only latterly developed a concern with operational safety (Szasz 1992).

By: N Foss