Social value of nuclear decommissioning
Projects 7th January 2019
Key contact: Cara Mulholland, The University of Manchester
This project investigates the role of stakeholder communication and framing in project management to enable sustainability and social value.
The Public Services (Social Value) Act, 2012 outlines the need for all public funded projects to evidence consideration of social value in their work. As relatively new legislation based around a subjective, non-defined term of ‘social value’, practices of the legislation are yet to be streamlined. This opens up opportunities and challenges for organisations when bringing it into their work.
Research is needed to determine what social value can mean in different contexts. Stakeholders are included in the discussion often, as key drivers and the recipients of information sharing. This highlights the emphasis on communication in creating, measuring and presenting social value. Therefore this research investigates how social value is talked into being, framing the conversation in practice.
The fieldwork will investigate communities geographically close to large scale nuclear decommissioning sites, comparing nuclear energy experiences with historical coal mining areas to build four comparative case studies.
The Etihad Stadium, for example, was built on the former deep coal pit site in Ashton, one way of regenerating contaminated industrial land after closure. In South Wales, the decision has been made to hold onto many physical structures that embody the culture created from coal industry, creating new social value for generations to come.
Qualitative methods will be used for interviews with individuals, with the findings supplemented by observation of stakeholder meetings and related facilities.
Sharing this research and its outcomes is hoped to contribute to understanding of social value academically, but also influence the social value practices of large-scale ‘megaprojects’. The aim is to understand how social value communication depends on stakeholder relationships.
Undertaken within the Management of Projects Research Group in the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering at Manchester, this is an EPSRC PhD Industrial CASE award (January 2016 – December 2019). Arup and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) provide industrial guidance and support.
Research team: Cara Mulholland, Dr Paul W. Chan (The University of Manchester), Kate Canning (Arup), Frank Wigley (Nuclear Decommissioning Authority)