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Transdisciplinary sensibilities in investigating nuclear research and innovation 
Susan Molyneux-Hodgson (University of Exeter)
Robbe Geysmans (SCK CEN)
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Combined Format Open Panel

Short Abstract:

STS engagement in nuclear debate has come and gone over time. Meanwhile, inter- and transdisciplinary ways of working are prominent in thinking and acting in STS. This panel will consider the intersection of inter/ transdisciplinary policy and practice with nuclear energy, both present and future.

Long Abstract:

Societal shifts away from fossil-fuel reliance, whether rhetorical or realisable, have opened larger spaces for discussion on the future energy mix to be aimed for and the ways in which this can be achieved. Alongside, and post-Fukushima, there has been a marked divergence in views on the place of nuclear in this energy mix, both in national policies and local debates. For some nations, a resurgence in nuclear innovation is the proposed solution to meeting future energy demand, for others, nuclear is off the table.

The engagement of STS scholars in nuclear debate has come and gone over time. Meanwhile, inter- and trans-disciplinary ways of working have come more to the fore in terms of thinking and acting in STS. This panel will consider the intersections of inter/ transdisciplinary policy and practice and nuclear energy presents and futures. We aim to ask:

What matters of concerns are present or absent in nuclear discussion?

What new forms of STS engagement with nuclear have emerged and what are the specific challenges around STS interaction with nuclear? are productive forms of societal interaction possible with the nuclear realm?

Are emerging nuclear innovations (e.g. small modular reactors) shifting debate and/or presenting new challenges to STS, to stakeholder engagement and to public discourse?

The panel invites contributions on the challenges and opportunities for trans- and interdisciplinary collaborations in research, development, innovation, and decision-making in the nuclear realm via studies of, and experiences with, inter/transdisciplinary interaction with technological innovation, and with a focus on conceptual frameworks and methodological approaches to understanding and challenging such collaborations. We welcome academic papers/presentations (ethnographic encounters, policy analysis, citizen science), video essays, storytelling and interactive formats.

The panel is organised with the ECOSENS project and SHARE research platform and will also involve a Workshop session (to be submitted separately).

Accepted contributions:

Session 1