Accepted Paper:

Nuclear safety regulation: Safety, safety culture and risks as boundary objects  


Marja Ylönen (University of Jyväskylä)

Paper long abstract:

Nuclear safety is multinational, national, organizational, technical and systemic by nature. Especially after the Fukushima accident safety issues gained momentum and led to an upgrading of nuclear safety standards by the IAEA. The emphasis has been on strengthening preventive measures against external hazards, enhancing nuclear emergency response and strengthening safety culture, so that safety should be given top priority in leadership and management within nuclear facilities. The paper addresses similarities and differences in safety assumptions among Finnish nuclear safety regulators and nuclear industry operators by looking at key concepts such as safety, safety culture and risks as boundary objects, which connect different experts and professionals and provide common space for discussion and dialogue. At the same time the paper focuses on how these concepts also separate experts and professionals who may have very different understandings of substantive issues. Empirical materials consist of revisions of the IAEA safety standards and national nuclear safety standards, interviews with nuclear safety regulators belonging to different subunits of organizations and having different educational background and working experience, as well as operators of nuclear industry. Method of analysis is content analysis. The objective of the study is to get an understanding of different assumptions and contents related to the concepts of safety, safety culture and risks among regulators and operators of nuclear industry, as well as of patterns of thought which may affect safety culture and the implementation of safety.

Panel C4
Non-concerns about science and technology and within STS