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Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences pres.

NERS Colloquium: Nuclear Communities and Consent in Nuclear Waste Siting

Speaker: Marissa Bell, Department of Geography at SUNY University at Buffalo

Speaker: Marissa Bell Speaker: Marissa Bell
Speaker: Marissa Bell
In searching for solutions for nuclear waste, it has become evident that the social and political aspects of siting these facilities present unique challenges beyond the technical aspects of siting. Consent-based siting has emerged as a way to overcome some of these challenges. Yet consent itself is a complex concept. How do we define consent? Who has the right to consent? How does geographic context shape the way consent gets negotiated? These are questions I seek to explore in this discussion, drawing from qualitative fieldwork conducted in two communities in Southern Ontario that volunteered to be part of Canada’s search for a willing host for a spent fuel repository. I intend to demonstrate how particular socio-political and economic nuclear landscapes shape how consent is understood, the importance of recognizing and incorporating various voices in the process, and why thresholds for consent might paradoxically need to be higher in existing nuclear communities.


Speaker: Marissa Bell, Department of Geography at SUNY University at Buffalo
Marissa Bell is a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography at SUNY University at Buffalo and a research fellow at the Institute for International Science and Technology Policy at George Washington University. Interested in energy justice, environmental governance, and political economy of risk, her dissertation work examines how geographic context and socio-political dynamics shape the implementation, community engagement, and perceived legitimacy of consent-based policies for siting high level nuclear waste in Canada. She contends with the need for nuclear waste storage, on the one hand, with the need for more equitable, fair and just methods of siting through community engagement, geographic context, and attention to process. Born in London, UK, but having grown up across European and American cultures, she has always been interested in how space and place influence decision-making and identity formation. Prior to embarking on a PhD, Marissa completed a BA at King’s College London, with a focus on European geopolitical identity, followed by an MA at the University at Buffalo, focusing on the risk tradeoff between climate change and nuclear risks post-Fukushima. In other research, Marissa has examined localized opposition to wind turbine installation in upstate New York, reflecting her broader underlying interest in energy justice and sustainable energy transitions.
Speaker: Marissa Bell Speaker: Marissa Bell
Speaker: Marissa Bell
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