atw - International Journal for Nuclear Power | 04.2019


atw Vol. 64 (2019) | Issue 4 ı April

“living law [flourishes and is not]

imprisoned by the past” [18].

It is the continual conflict between

the dynamics of ‘stability’ and ‘change’

which determines if a political or legal

system will collapse in on itself, or if it

will survive. Walker, et al., provides a

line of inquiry regarding a bridging

force for the ability of a stable system

to successfully process change:

“It is assumed that patterns of

behavior will be more stable and

enduring if they can be characterized

as legitimate; that actors who have

legitimacy attributed to them will

be more able to induce compliance

than those who do not share that

attribute…” [19].

3.2 The concept

of legal legitimacy

The search for legitimacy in any

political system may be considered

“the oldest problem of political

theory” [20]. Given that a nuclear

waste management program is expected

to last for hundreds of years from

inception to end of life, this search for

legitimacy when creating a nuclear

power and waste management program

is of great importance, as a

citizen living under any political

system must “have confidence in [the]

administrative processes [found

within that system], and [in the final

outcome, be able to] respect and

accept [those] decisions” [21].

Each political system, whether

democratic or authoritarian in nature,

shares certain legal traditions, which

provide it with legitimacy. These traditions

not only entail a similarity of

various institutions (e.g., parliament/

legislature, courts, and administrative

agencies) and processes, they encompass

common core values, such as

lawfulness, expertise, efficiency, and

effectiveness [22].

Because legitimacy is such an

essential quality of the law, it is a

subject that has, and continues to,

preoccupy legal scholars [23]. Barnett

argues law proceeds from two binding

sources: (1) laws created through the

people’s voice, though not all may

agree, and (2) laws created where the

State embarks on a course of action

believing it is the best arbiter of what

is appropriate without the full input

of such non-consenting persons [24].

Barnett’s model rests upon the precept

that any government is established,

and endowed, with powers of

competencies to do what is required

in fashioning the legal structure for

executing the desired undertaking

and is sufficiently broad in its scope to

encompass the similarities shared for

rule making by both democratic and

authoritarian regimes. This is that the

primary reason for any government,

as a function of its political system, is

to fashion a framework for what is

deemed by that system as necessary

and proper for initiating, building,

financing and operating a civilian

nuclear power and/or nuclear waste

management program.

A central notion that forms the

core of the concept of legitimacy is

the way a political system establishes

procedures “for law-making and

implementation [that appear to

the beholder] as acceptable, i.e., appropriate

and binding” [25]. The

highest ideal for any nation state



to promulgate laws, statutes, regulations,

and rules in a transparent, fair,

and equitable system. However, it is

respected that the world’s myriad of

intricate political systems each have

their own unique complexities, which

are acted upon by enormous pressure

from numerous interest groups,

leaving one to question one’s personal

consent granted to the governing

body within any system of government.

This raises questions regarding the

ability of access by individuals to a

political/legal system, and its assurance

that individual rights and/or

concerns have been considered and

protected. For citizens living under an

authoritarian system of government,

the anxiety arises whether the governing

body has considered the inherent

needs of the citizenry throughout the

decision-making and administrative

process, more so than with matters of

consent, as consent is implied. Within

both systems, the administrative process

initiates similar concerns given

that all bureaucratic systems do not

provide for political accountability of

these unelected individuals with

expansive powers and “[with] the

public lack[ing the necessary] tools

| | Fig. 2.

Milestone Demarcation for “Change” in a Nuclear Power & Waste Management Program.


Decommissioning and Waste Management

A World’s Dilemma ‘Upon Which the Sun Never Sets’: The Nuclear Waste Management Strategy: Russia, Asia and the Southern Hemisphere Part I ı Mark Callis Sanders and Charlotta E. Sanders

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