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Dalton Nuclear Institute

Students sat on bench eating and laughing

Nuclear and society

Outcomes from debates around nuclear power and the civil nuclear industry could have profound implications for the future of the planet.

It is crucial that we find new ways to understand the social forces that are driving such debates.

We host The Beam, a nuclear and social research network which investigates the social challenges bound up in the UK’s nuclear future. This collaborative, cross-disciplinary research network brings together the nuclear sciences with social research, promoting collaboration across industry and academia.

Our projects look to investigate interactions within the nuclear industry, and how it engages and integrates with the communities that surround it.

The University seeks to foster and promote research in this domain and The Beam was founded to facilitate and make visible our work in this area.

Through this research we can bring new insights and perspectives to the key issues of understanding, acceptance and governance of the industry and offer up radically alternative pathways for challenge resolution.

Example projects

Projects include:

  • Ethnographic study of Sellafield Ltd. exploring social and cultural features of the organisation that might explain prevailing understandings of risk and innovation.
  • A pilot study in Trawsfynydd exploring issues of community wellbeing and vulnerability as facilities move from operational to decommissioning status.
  • Testing a hybrid forum approach for use in a nuclear setting to enhance the authenticity of public consultation around contentious nuclear issues.
  • An exploration of the social and cultural processes influencing technological innovation in decommissioning the Sellafield nuclear site in West Cumbria.