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Recognition, Expertise and Energy Justice in a Nuclear Energy Landscape

Authors: Marissa Bell*, University At Buffalo
Topics: Energy, Cultural and Political Ecology
Keywords: nuclearity, energy justice, nuclear energy, nuclear waste, risk perception
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2020
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual Track 1
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

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Energy infrastructure decision-making must be understood as embedded in geographic context in order to make sense of both process and outcomes. Energy landscapes conceptually link the social and technical elements of energy transitions to the spaces in which they are embedded (Bridge, Bouzarovski, Bradshaw, & Eyre, 2013; Buck, 2018). Viewing energy transitions through the lens of landscapes provides a holistic perspective into the various and dynamic factors that shape such decision-making. A growing body of scholarship is drawing attention to energy landscapes, merging approaches from geography, environmental and energy justice, STS, to better examine how energy transitions are affecting and integrating communities in their transformation. Nuclear waste storage is an integral and critical component of energy transitions and associated landscape transformations. Yet, studies of nuclear waste siting that incorporate one or more of these literatures is sparse, and even more so in the application of a landscape lens. As a consent-based process, the nuclear waste siting project in Bruce County, Canada, at least nominally, values the principles of inclusion and fairness of process. Yet significant questions remain as to whether this valuation is merely a projection of progressive intentions, or whether it is actually substantive. In order to critically evaluate the extent to which the nuclear waste siting process is incorporating just and fair recognition of voices, I examine the way perspectives, agency, and expertise combine to create a complex nuclear political landscape.

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