A Environmental Harm Perspective to examine our understanding of UK Nuclear Energy Expansion




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Peer reviewed



Uranium makes up 95% of the compounds used in the nuclear energy industry in the United Kingdom (UK). In 2018, the UK had 15 nuclear reactors which generate up to 21% of the UK’s electricity, however, the UK government plans to retire half of these reactors by 2025. Nonetheless, in 2017, the UK government announced they plan to invest up to £100 million in small nuclear power generation stations. This they contend will ‘provide a competitive edge to technology and a new source of clean power’ (GOV, 2017). This article aims to evaluate the outcomes of the proposed expansion of the nuclear energy industry in the UK. This study outlines what are the ecological and social considerations that must be considered when developing policy if the UK is to expand its nuclear energy industry. Using theoretical perspectives from the green criminological literature, it considers the strengths and weaknesses of the industry. In doing so, it highlights the interrelations between (nuclear) energy production, global economic market structures, and notions of social and environmental harm. Lastly, we utilize our theorization to posit a series of recommendations surrounding the intensification and expansion of nuclear energy production in the UK.


The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.


Uranium, Nuclear Energy, Green Criminology


McKie.R.E. (2019) A Environmental Harm Perspective to examine our understanding of UK Nuclear Energy Expansion. Extractive Industries and Society,


Research Institute

Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice