The need for a multidisciplinary perspective in the nuclear sector: genesis of CEIDEN’s Sociotechnical Group

The social sciences already enjoy recognition and prominence within nuclear sector in areas such as safety culture, high-reliability organizations or human factors inside nuclear power plants. In the current context of climate crisis, ecological transition, energy security and policies for the progressive closure of nuclear power plants in some countries, the perception that citizens have of nuclear energy, can play a key role. In this sense, the social sciences can contribute to promoting inclusive governance on certain aspects related to nuclear energy, applying methods and techniques that standardize and rationalize this participation and help integrating nuclear with aspects which tend to be overlooked: social, political, cultural values, economic intangibles, landscape, etc. 

In this context, in 2019, the CEIDEN Sociotechnical Group was established, with two main objectives. The first one is to help foster a genuine dialogue between the social sciences and the nuclear sector. The second is to identify and promote specific research activities and collaborative exchanges from a sociotechnical perspective, truly integrating the vision of the social sciences and that of experts in the nuclear field. It is a multidisciplinary group of professionals from a wide range of disciplines, both in the social sciences (sociology, psychology, history, economics) and engineering (nuclear, industrial, agricultural). It includes members from universities and research centers and is represented by the State Research Agency, the CSN (Spanish Nuclear Safety Council) and ENRESA (organisation responsible for the management of radioactive waste).

The main activities of the group are the organization of regular meetings that serve to share information among members and generate joint reflection on future R&D and training activities that integrate the sociotechnical perspective, providing training in various courses in the nuclear sector to offer the vision of social aspects as well as proposing, participating and cooperating in research activities of interest to the members and objectives of the group, establishing a list of future R&D activities in Spain.

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