The Nuclear Pipeline: Integrating Nuclear Power and Climate Change

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Contribution to Books

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This chapter focuses on nuclear scientists and engineers, and the effectiveness of small-scale interventions that could be made to prepare them to consider novel kinds of climate disruptions and how such considerations could affect plant design and operations. Events at Fukushima in 2011 prompted renewed attention to nuclear safety. Soon after, scientists recorded record-breaking global temperatures, particularly during the summer of 2012. Perhaps as a result of these two events, academics and the media have begun asking whether nuclear power plants are robust to natural events beyond the range of available historical data (beyond design basis), including climate-related events such as increasing drought and rising cooling-water temperatures. Science policy scholars, scientists, and engineers outside nuclear science and engineering have begun to pose such questions and model possible effects. This study demonstrates there is almost no public discourse and very little professional discourse within the nuclear science and engineering community on this topic. We posit that this is largely because of the insular culture and professionalization standards of nuclear science and engineering, which could limit the effectiveness of curricular interventions made in engineering education.


Engineering Identities, Epistemologies and Values: Engineering Education and Practice in Context is volume 21 of the Philosophy of Engineering and Technology series.