A new article by Vincent F. Ialenti entitled “Adjudicating Deep Time: Revisiting the United States’ High-Level Nuclear Waste Repository Project at Yucca Mountain” has just come out in Science and Technology Studies. Ialenti wrote on this topic and a different case study for Discard Studies in April with “When Deep Time Becomes Shallow: Knowing Nuclear Waste Risk Ethnographically.”
This paper draws upon perspectives on legal personhood, expert knowledge practices, and social relations influential in STS and anthropology to revisit the legal procedural framing of the United States’ now-defunct high-level nuclear waste repository project at Yucca Mountain. Specifically, it examines how this project reinvented both (a) conventional figures of legal personhood as what is called a ‘reasonably maximally exposed individual’ and (b) legal adjudication’s familiar ‘rule-facts-judge’ template as a frame for establishing the repository licensing regime’s delegation of roles, responsibilities, and duties in response to its unique regulatory horizons that extended millennia into the future. Unpacking the implications of these familiar legal figures being brought to bear on historically unprecedented ‘deep’ timescales, this paper concludes by offering alternative lines of inquiry for interdisciplinary analysis of nuclear energy and its associated waste products. Keywords: nuclear waste, temporality, legal anthropology
If you don’t have a subscription that allows you access to Science and Technology Studies, you can get a copy of the article on Ialenti’s Academia.edu profile.
Other posts at Discard Studies on Yucca Mountain and nuclear waste: