A1 Journal article (refereed)
The Art of Being Ethical and Responsible : Print Media Debate on Final Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel in Finland and Sweden (2022)

Kojo, M., Vilhunen, T., Kari, M., Litmanen, T., & Lehtonen, M. (2022). The Art of Being Ethical and Responsible : Print Media Debate on Final Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel in Finland and Sweden. Social Justice Research, 35(2), 157-187. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11211-022-00391-6

The research was funded by Strategic Research Council at the Research Council of Finland.

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Kojo, Matti; Vilhunen, Tuuli; Kari, Mika; Litmanen, Tapio; Lehtonen, Markku

Journal or series: Social Justice Research

ISSN: 0885-7466

eISSN: 1573-6725

Publication year: 2022

Publication date: 08/05/2022

Volume: 35

Issue number: 2

Pages range: 157-187

Publisher: Springer

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11211-022-00391-6

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/81102


After decades of preparation, the fnal disposal of spent nuclear fuel has reached the construction stage in Finland, and the neighboring Sweden is likely to soon follow in the footsteps. These Nordic countries rely on a similar technical concept based on passive safety, advocated as a means of minimizing the burden to future generations. The scholarly literature on the ethics of nuclear waste management has thus far paid little attention to the views of the broader publics on the associated ethical challenges. This article helps to fll the gap through a longitudinal and comparative analysis of ethical discussion of the fnal disposal of SNF in news articles and letters to the editor in four leading Finnish and Swedish daily newspapers in 2008–2015. The study period included major milestones in the licensing processes of the respective two repository projects. The article examines the attention paid to intra- and intergenerational distributive and procedural justice, the changes in the ethical agenda over time, and the societal actor groups that receive attention in the media. The analysis reveals two distinct ethical media agendas: (1) the news article agenda that is dominated by framings of the main players (industry, politicians, authorities, and experts) and largely excludes future generations from the scope of justice, and (2) the agenda represented by the letters to the editor, which focuses on intergenerational justice concerns. Particularly, in the Finnish letters to the editor the value of the lives of distant future generations was discounted implicitly.

Keywords: nuclear waste; final deposition; safety and security; ethicality; justice; responsibility (properties); public discussion; media; journalistic writing

Free keywords: intergenerational justice; nuclear waste; passive safety; scope of justice; media attention; Finland; Sweden

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2023-03-10 at 13:54