Today, a diverse group will gather in a ‘hybrid forum’, as part of work to develop alternatives forms of public consultation on nuclear energy. This hybrid forum is the result of collaboration between The University of Manchester and National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL). The approach aims to bring a diverse range of people, with differing expertise, together in a space where they can discuss and find lines of agreement and disagreement. Traditional practices of public consultation are widely seen as limited in their ability to address controversial issues, including those that arise from activities carried out across the nuclear sector. At a time of widespread public distrust of expertise and ‘technical specialists’, and when the UK Government is backing the development of new nuclear technologies in the UK, such as Advanced Modular Reactors (AMRs), it is crucial that new forms of public engagement are developed. Improving engagement between the sector and civil society will allow different interested parties to play a more meaningful role in decision-making and to mobilise and motivate new interests and new expertise.
Manchester University 17th July 2018 read more »
Nuclear Energy projects are, by their nature, ‘social’ endeavours. Why? Because any industry is a reflection of the society in which it resides. The extent to which the industry can realise its aims and ambitions is undoubtedly linked to prevalent attitudes and cultures within its workforce or surrounding environment. For many policymakers and energy experts, nuclear energy represents an environmentally responsible solution to the current energy and climate crisis. Plus, in the UK alone, financial commitments to new build and decommissioning are already forecast to exceed £100 billion with this number increasing all the time. But, increasingly, fundamental policy decisions cannot be enacted without the support of all stakeholders both within and outside the sector. For example, in the UK, the successful implementation of a new nuclear build, or geological disposal facility (GDF) for nuclear waste, are both dependent on securing and maintaining public trust. This can sometimes be difficult as the general public and other influential stakeholders still have some deep misgivings or general antipathy towards the sector, meaning important debates remain unresolved. For example, current trends towards the possible future deployment of smaller reactors alongside the relaunched search for a volunteer site for GDFs will inevitably lead to new communities being exposed to the nuclear debate.
Manchester University 18th July 2018 read more »