Governing a nuclear megainvestment: A multi-scalar ethnography of Wylfa Newydd

Fabok, M
(2016) Governing a nuclear megainvestment: A multi-scalar ethnography of Wylfa Newydd. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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The ambitious 16+ GW new nuclear programme in Britain marks a distinctive low-carbon energy pathway. The proposed new build projects are megainvestments instituting novel ways of governance and public engagement with striking contrasts to previous constructions. To probe into this new era of nuclear megainvestments, the thesis focuses on the proposed £14bn Wylfa Newydd project on Anglesey, on the northwest fringe of Wales. In the intersection of sociotechnical transitions, human geography, and science and technology studies (STS) literatures, the case study addresses the geographies of energy transitions, the politics of governing low-carbon investments, and the changing participation in large-scale infrastructural projects. The multi-scalar ethnographic study included both living in local communities and engaging with stakeholder organisations, from local councils to Whitehall ministries and multinational investors, through interviewing, document analysis, and meeting participations. Based on the findings, the thesis claims that the new nuclear project is better characterised as a megainvestment assembled together from diverse issues across multiple scales, from Welsh language protection to supply chain development, than as a technological object, an energy-generating source, or a financial megaproject. The megainvestment is transformative well beyond Anglesey with distinct practices and visions tied to the investment across various geographic scales. The governance of Wylfa Newydd is blurring the boundaries between public and private organisations with a shift towards collaborative platforms and coproduction of specialist knowledge. The public consultations displace the political controversies to legal wrangles and disputes on (geographic) boundaries by fragmenting affected publics and customising issues. In summary, this transformative project marks a new era of doing megainvestments on multiple geographic scales, with shifts in particular towards collaborative evidence-based governance and customised public consultations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2017 06:38
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 07:04
DOI: 10.17638/03007544