Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 07/2008

The Importance of Politics to Nuclear New Build

Malcolm Grimston

December 2005

Chatham House


The stance of the political establishment, locally, nationally and internationally, towards a major technical-scientific issue such as nuclear energy can be enormously important. Energy supplies must be socially and politically acceptable.

This report looks at the challenges for politicians and the 'consumers' of their decisions. First, how to reintegrate science into decision-making without making the mistakes of the past in which some scientists were given almost a free hand over policy development. Secondly, how to take strong and possibly unpopular decisions before the impending crises of, say, energy shortages and climate change become unmanageable.