The Beam has begun
News 16th March 2018
The Beam, a unique new research network, has now been officially launched with ambitions to encompass an international membership and break new ground by promoting the integration of nuclear science and engineering research with contemporary social science theory and practice.
As a collaborative, cross-disciplinary research network, The Beam will foster a new engagement between the nuclear sciences and social research, and bring together academic, research and industrial partners, nationally and internationally.
For many, nuclear energy represents an environmentally responsible solution to the current energy and climate crisis, and investments in new build and decommissioning in the UK alone are forecast to exceed £100 billion. Important debates remain, however, around issues such as new nuclear build, the development of new technologies (such as robotics and Small Modular Reactors) and the provision of geological disposal facilities for nuclear waste.
The co-founders of The Beam are based across The University of Manchester and cover a broad spectrum of expertise. They aim to open up new thinking and approaches for civil nuclear decision-makers.
Co-founder, Richard Taylor, explains:
“The international civil nuclear industry is a reflection of the society in which it resides; it is inextricably linked to prevalent attitudes and cultures within its workforce or surrounding environment and, increasingly, fundamental policy decisions cannot be enacted without the support of all stakeholders.
“We want to inspire world class researchers to contribute within our network and bring their insight to bear on the global nuclear grand challenges. We encourage an ethnographic approach to our research with emphasis placed on those impacted by nuclear power both within its corporate structures or external to them.
“In this way we expect to bring a new perspective to the key issues of understanding, acceptance and governance of the global industry and offer up radically alternative pathways for challenge resolution.”
The University of Manchester’s position among the preeminent institutions leading nuclear research, alongside its breadth of world class capability in social sciences, business, law and humanities make it ideally placed to become a UK focal point for the coordination and dissemination of this research.
Hosted by the Dalton Nuclear Institute, the network will access established links to the global nuclear industry to help translate discussions into policy frameworks and practical applications for industry.