On Tuesday I attended the launch of the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report at Chatham House think tank in London. WNISR is the pre-eminent independent analysis of nuclear statistics- reactor construction, start ups, operation, closure and decommissioning. This year it includes a new policy section exploring the links between civil and military nuclear infrastructures, and their implications. At the Q&A, chaired by Jonathan Porritt, former chair of the UK Sustainable Development Commission and former director of Friends of the Earth and currently executive director of Forum for the Future, I asked how might the plans of the China National Nuclear Corporation ( a state-owned enterprize that builds both reactors and m nuclear weapons in China) to finance , build and operate the proposed new reactor at Bradwell in Essex be compatible with the merging of civil and military nuclear activities in the UK programme. One of the co-authors of the chapter republished in full below, Professor Andy Stirling, replied "We live in interesting times"!!!!
Indeed, and I recommend everyone reads the new 2018 edition of WNISR.
INTERDEPENDENCIESBETWEEN CIVIL AND MILITARYNUCLEAR INFRASTRUCTURES
Military interests as drivers for lifetime extension and new-build?
Stephen Lovegrove, current Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence and former
Permanent Secretary at the Department for Energy and Climate Change responsible for negotiating the Hinkley Point C contracts, stated under questioning by the U.K. Parliament Public Accounts Committee754: “We are completing the build of the nuclear submarines, which carryconventional weaponry. We have at some point to renew the warheads, so there is very definitelyan opportunity here for the nation to grasp in terms of building up its nuclear skills. I donot think that that is going to happen by accident; it is going to require concerted Government action to make it happen.”
Interdependencies Between Civil and Military Nuclear Infrastructures
Military interests as drivers for lifetime extension and new-build?
The Odd Persistence of Nuclear Power
Why is it that nuclear power is proving surprisingly resistant in particular places around the world, to dramatically changing global energy market conditions and structures for electricity supply? Against a backdrop of decline in the worldwide nuclear industry as a whole, plans for plant life-extension and nuclear new-build remain major areas of investment in a few specific countries. Intense attachments persist to projects like Hinkley Point C in the United Kingdom (U.K.), for instance, despite: a delay standing presently at more than a decade; costs multiplying fivefold over original estimates; a series of still-unresolved technical difficulties; and demands for escalating government financial concessions and guarantees. Globally, successive issues of the WNISR show, how the relatively small number of continuing nuclear programs typically display a similar mix of severely deteriorating conditions and oddly dogged enthusiasm.
Although now increasingly replaced by the iconic status of other areas of innovation (like machine intelligence, synthetic biology, neuroscience and nanotechnology) one possible reason for the persistence of nuclear power in particular settings may relate to a residual effect of the past image of nuclear expertise as an epitome of scientific and technological prowess—and so a symbol of national standing.
Yet it is surprising to see such persistent nuclear attachments, because nuclear energy has clearly become much less attractive, when compared with competing low-carbon options. Worldwide, nuclear is already significantly more expensive than major alternatives like solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind power—with the disadvantage growing fast (see also Nuclear Power vs. Renewable Energy Deployment). Available cost-effective energy resources from these renewables are huge, and their modularity, small unit size and short lead times typically make them a more rapid means to carbon emissions abatement. Where once nuclear advocates claimed that ‘firm’ (inflexibly-steady) nuclear output is an advantage, grid operators now recognize that new network technologies render the underlying idea of ‘base load’ power to be “outdated”. Many options exist to manage so-called intermittent power at a fraction of the growing renewable cost advantage.
Technologies with such strikingly cumulative comparative disadvantages as nuclear would be abandoned in most other sectors. Therefore, serious questions arise as to why the declared commitments of some governments should remain so oddly intense around a nuclear option that under-performs so obviously across so many energy policy criteria.
Neglected Military Dimensions of Nuclear Power
Nuclear reactors, whether small or commercial-size, are the only effective means to produce crucial fissile materials for nuclear weapons, like plutonium-239. The fuel supply chain for nuclear power, and uranium enrichment in particular, is the source for high-enriched uranium, the other main strategic, weapons-usable fissile material. Further ingredients for various types of nuclear weapons, like tritium, are by-products of nuclear power. All these ‘material links’ have been acknowledged for many years and described in great detail. But less well appreciated in public debate, are a set of ‘industrial interdependencies’—involving the wider nuclear skills, education, research, design, engineering and industrial capabilities associated with civil nuclear industries, that are also essential in many ways to the sustaining or introduction of nuclear weapons programs or their associated platforms and infrastructures.
Together, these material links and industrial interdependencies are important for the world civil nuclear industry. For instance, most reactor design traditions derive from past prioritization of military aims. Heavy water reactors and graphite-moderated designs like the Chernobyl-style RBMK or the French and U.K. natural uranium gas-graphite reactors were based on principles originally chosen to facilitate on-load refueling for production of plutonium required in nuclear weapons manufacture. Likewise, even the most modern variants of light water reactors are still built around basic engineering principles originally optimized for the confined spaces of nuclear-propelled submarines. Yet, even after many decades of opportunities to establish entirely new designs dedicated to civilian power production, these military-derived variants still account for almost all of the global civil nuclear power capacity worldwide. In fact, there exists no major commercial reactor design, whose basic configuration was optimized from first principles solely for safe or economic civilian power. A high proportion of leading designs for a currently much-vaunted ‘new generation’ of Small Modular Reactors or SMRs (see the chapter on SMRs in WNISR2017) relate even more closely to contemporary nuclear submarine propulsion reactors.
“perceived needs to maintain the naval nuclear propulsion industry is a major reason to continue with otherwise-declining civil nuclear power”
Nor is there any sign that these longstanding connections are diminishing. An additional dimension to civil-military nuclear interdependencies has only come to light over recent years. This is the importance to government support of nuclear power in some countries of continuing commitments to build and maintain military, nuclear-propelled submarines. These machines are often identified as being among the most complex and demanding manufactured artefacts ever conceived. Security concerns are seen to require the sustaining of the entire range of necessary industrial capacities within a single country. Only in the last couple of years, are inside sources beginning to acknowledge that (even in large economies like that of the U.S.), it is difficult to sustain this military capability without a parallel civil nuclear power industry. High profile documents by industry bodies and senior policy figures openly urge that perceived needs to maintain the naval nuclear propulsion industry is a major reason to continue with otherwise-declining civil nuclear power. National achievement of nuclear submarine capabilities is also widely associated with global strategic leadership, for instance with former President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil stating in 2014 on a visit to the new Brazilian nuclear submarine facility: “The Brazilian naval force… have contributed decisively to our nation, towards our country integrating into the select group of five member countries of the Council of the United Nations Security dominating the submarine construction technology with nuclear propulsion”.
There are, around the world, then, many major connections between civil and military nuclear industrial capabilities, skills, expertise and infrastructures. Furthermore, dependencies between civil and military nuclear are often greater than between nuclear-specific engineering and other industrial sectors.
Thus, if civilian nuclear power and its associated specialist practices are to be allowed (like many earlier technologies) to go obsolete, then the nuclear establishments of a small number of countries that maintain military nuclear ambitions that would disproportionately be the losers. Conversely, for those hoping for long-stalled reversal in either horizontal or vertical nuclear weapons proliferation, it is possible that obsolescence of civil nuclear power as an energy source forms a potentially major global opportunity.
Broad Patterns in National Civil and Military Nuclear Ambitions
In all states with current and past nuclear weapons capabilities, parallel availability of the skills and industrial and research capacities now associated with civil nuclear power have been essential. The revenues arising from nuclear electricity sales have also been important, as part of these flow indirectly into supply chains and research, training and industrial systems that have joint civil and military applications. Some states (notably Israel and North Korea) have built modest military nuclear capabilities without directly pursuing civil nuclear power. But even here, existence of wider international nuclear industries (especially in sponsoring powers) has remained crucial.
Countries like Canada, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland were all enthusiastic pioneers of civil nuclear power, who also entertained early nuclear military ambitions, but which each later relinquished nuclear weapons. And these linkages can also be found in the history of ostensibly civilian nuclear programs of currently non-nuclear weapons states including Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Japan, South Africa and South Korea. Likewise, such links are well acknowledged in contemporary politics around the projected nuclear programs of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. The Economist for instance, argues of Saudi Arabia’s potential nuclear new-build program, that it makes “little economic sense”. The Saudi King has put this directly into a military context, in stating that “without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible”. Civil nuclear programs in Egypt, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, are held to be among the countries “most poised to seek advanced nuclear capabilities in response to a resurgent nuclear Iran”.
“if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible”
One rough circumstantial reflection of these evident general civil-military nuclear connections can be seen in the coarse-grain structure of resonating nuclear and military enthusiasms around the world today. Figure 32 below illuminates broad overlapping patterns across all relevant countries, between general military standing, nuclear weapons status, nuclear submarine capabilities, global geopolitical profile and the intensity of declared civil nuclear ambitions (as expressed in data published by the leading nuclear industrial advocacy organization).
According to the positions asserted in national data published by the World Nuclear Association (WNA), the five largest-scale prospective nuclear new-build programs in the world are in four of the five ‘official’ nuclear weapons states (excepting France). India is also pursuing an ambitious nuclear new-build program. And France is an illuminating exception, in that the scale of its existing reliance on nuclear power in itself militates against further large-scale national expansion. So large is the existing French civil nuclear fleet, that the associated national engineering base also required for military purposes, is much less under threat from nuclear decline than in other countries. But the Le Monde newspaper nonetheless does still highlight “the ultimate question an expert dares asking”: “What would become of the credibility of our nuclear weapons program and our position at the UN [Security Council], if France were to renounce its [nuclear power] plants?”
- Figure 32 | Circumstantial Relationships Between Reported Civil Nuclear Ambitions and Different Categories of International Military and Geopolitical Status (civil nuclear plans are based on WNA data)
Source: Andy Stirling, Phil Johnstone, WNISR 2018
The major state-held Russian nuclear construction and services company Rosatom is clear that the “[r]eliable provision of Russia’s defense capability is the main priority of the nuclear industry”. And in the U.S., the Nuclear Energy Institute, now strongly lobbies for subsidies for failing nuclear developments, on the grounds that abandonment of these will “stunt development of the nation’s defense nuclear complex”. Likewise, the pro-nuclear Environmental Progress group, highlights the national security implications of the U.S.A’s declining nuclear industry. Perhaps most significantly, former U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, argued in 2011 already in favor, and launched a report in 2017, which stated that “a strong domestic supply chain is needed to provide for nuclear Navy requirements. This supply chain has an inherent and very strong overlap with the commercial nuclear energy”. Accordingly, a memorandum leaked under the Trump administration in June 2018, reveals that recent regulatory measures to protect nuclear power reflect high-level perceptions that the civil nuclear industry is essential to national security, specifically including naval propulsion. Incidentally, the same month of June 2018, “several dozen retired generals and admirals, former State, Defense and Energy Department officials, three former chairmen of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and a sprinkling of former senators, governors, industrialists and other worthies” wrote a letter to U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, to commend him “for recognizing the important role our civil nuclear energy sector plays in bolstering America’s national security” and to urge him “to continue to take concrete steps to ensure the national security attributes of U.S. nuclear power plants are properly recognized by policymakers and are valued in U.S. electricity markets”. The authors also state that “the national security benefits of a strong domestic nuclear energy sector take many forms, many of which overlap and together are woven into the nation’s greater strength and resilience”. As example they are citing:
Several national security organizations, including our nuclear Navy and significant parts of the Department of Energy [DOE], benefit from a strong civil nuclear sector. Many of the companies that serve the civil nuclear sector also supply the nuclear Navy and major DOE programs.
In a stinging comment on the Perry letter, Victor Gilinsky and Henry Sokolski, respectively former Commissioner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Executive Director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, write:
For years, the nuclear industry insisted that civilian nuclear power had nothing to do with weapons programs. That was then. Now, in a desperate attempt to keep no-longer-competitive nuclear plants from being shuttered, the industry claims there really has been a connection all along, and electricity customers should pay a premium to keep it going. It is one claim too many. (...)
The whole point of the body of the Perry letter is that there is a close connection between U.S. nuclear power and our nuclear weapons programs. Why should we think that this connection is not present in other countries?
Evident in Figure 32 is a pattern under which, of the relatively few other countries in the world presenting themselves as pursuing the most ambitious civil nuclear new-build plans, eleven out of thirteen hold the status of being major (at least regional) military powers. With regard to the next tier of stated national ambitions for nuclear power, an association between civil nuclear and military interests is also apparent. Of 23 countries widely designated as ‘major regional powers’ or above, only Australia has never developed, or is not seeking to develop, a civil nuclear program. And among those in this group who have developed such programs in the past, only Germany and Taiwan are presented by the WNA to be without any nuclear new-build programs.
“having nuclear power means that we can manufacture nuclear weapons within a certain period of time”
Given the complexities of global affairs, it must be expected that any general pattern like this will include exceptions. That the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the only example in the world of a country displaying high stated civil nuclear ambitions that is not at least a regional military power, is actually an indication of the striking nature of the broader patterns shown in Figure 31. And it is notable in this regard, that the UAE is also at the geographical center of what is currently one of the most intense areas of regional military tension—and whose stated ambitious nuclear plans are in any case somewhat performative. Likewise, North Korea is already a nuclear-armed state, which is not formally categorized as a regional military power. But this involves other well-known extraordinary circumstances, implicating arguably the single most acute military nuclear stand-off in the contemporary world. On the other hand, Germany is the only regional military power, which WNA acknowledges to be actively scaling back its civil nuclear programs. This is also a special case, in that the ‘Energiewende’ policy in Germany has been forced by globally distinctive social mobilization. In Japan, the current reigning back of plans for nuclear power conditioned by the even more unique political consequences of the Fukushima catastrophe, is not reflected in WNA projections. And here, civil-military links are evidently salient, for instance, in senior Liberal Democrat politician Shigeru Ishiba’s statement that “Japan should never let go of nuclear power plants. Because having nuclear power means that we can manufacture nuclear weapons within a certain period of time and it can be a deterrent”.
The Case of the U.K.
The U.K. was one of the first developers of both nuclear weapons and commercial nuclear power. With early civil nuclear facilities documented to have been central to military plutonium production, joint civil-military nuclear ambitions are especially relevant in the U.K. Military nuclear standing is frequently emphasized as being central to elite British political identities on the world stage: suggestive of the cherished status of a country that “punches above its weight”; and indirectly linked to the “seat at the top table” of permanent membership of the UN Security Council.
So, it is no surprise that the U.K. should currently be pursuing declared nuclear new-build commitments that are exceptional in Europe (and in proportion to its system, the largest in the world); and with the then-responsible minister insisting in 2016 that “nuclear power is what this Government is all about for the next twenty years”.
It is long since the U.K. undertook any kind of full policy analysis systematically to justify its nuclear commitments. The U.K. Parliament’s National Audit Office (NAO) departed from normal procedure by explicitly criticizing in 2017 that Government, in its review of the proposed Hinkley Point C project, “has not formally reviewed and consulted on its published strategic case for nuclear power since the publication of the 2008 white paper”. And, in addition, this last attempt to justify the current nuclear program, was itself based on a consultation process that was successfully challenged by judicial review for being too cursory.
Thus, the most recent major U.K. energy policy initiative that was not subject to this kind of general formal skepticism goes back even further, to 2003. And, based on a far more comprehensive analysis, the conclusion of this last fully-considered U.K. Government energy white paper was that nuclear power is “unattractive”. Openly unwelcome to the then Prime Minister Tony Blair, it was this finding that was over-ridden by the cursory white paper of 2008 in a process acknowledged by Parliamentarians and nuclear proponents alike, to have been extraordinarily secretive.
A question that arises unusually explicitly and specifically in the U.K. case, then, is what these powerful “strategic factors” might be, that have so emphatically trumped stated energy policy considerations?
Again, the NAO cast some light on this, observing in their 2008 report on the U.K. Trident nuclear weapons program that “[o]ne assumption of the future deterrent programme is that the United Kingdom submarine industry will be sustainable and that the costs of supporting it will not fall directly on the future deterrent programme”.
There is one explanation that is notably consistent with both NAO’s 2008 Trident and 2017 Hinkley Point reports. This is, that the oddly-unspecified “unquantified strategic benefits” that the NAO observed in 2017 to be driving U.K. Government support for otherwise uneconomic civil nuclear power, relates directly to the military nuclear submarine capabilities that they assumed in 2008 to be underwritten from other sources.
These official statements by the U.K.’s leading public audit body confirm a picture that is highly visible in defense debates, but remarkably undiscussed in energy policy. With heavily redacted documents released under freedom of information legislation expressing strong anxieties, a host of other defense policy discussions clearly state that the U.K. nuclear ‘submarine industrial base’ would not be sustainable, if a decision were taken to discontinue civil nuclear power. Statements from U.K. submarine industry sources note incentives to “mask” the costs of this military program behind the related civilian industrial infrastructure. Submarine reactor manufacturer Rolls Royce recently dedicated a major report in large part to the argument that a program of submarine-derived small modular reactors should be adopted in U.K. energy policy in order to “relieve the Ministry of Defence of the burden of developing and retaining skills and capability” on the military side.
“seek a recognisable career pathway between the civil and defence sectors to ease transfer between the two”
These civil-military links are also highly visible in U.K. industrial strategy, with priority given to a nuclear ‘sector deal’ spanning both sectors together and with many new agencies and programs openly dedicated to achieving synergies between U.K. submarine and civil nuclear programs. The nuclear sector deal is particularly focused on facilitating ‘mobility’ between the civil and defense nuclear workforce as a key strategy to manage the skills challenge. It is stated in “The Nuclear Sector Deal” that “the sector is committed to increasing the opportunities for transferability between civil and defense industries and generally increasing mobility to ensure resources are positioned at required locations” and that 18 percent of projected skills gaps can be met by ‘transferability and mobility’. The document also states that the skills gap can be met through “greater alignment of the civil and defense sectors with increased proactive two-way transfer of people and knowledge. As the military service sector tends to be age and nationality limited, we propose that we actively seek a recognisable career pathway between the civil and defence sectors to ease transfer between the two”.
The Nuclear Skills Strategic Plan” outlines: “Demand for competent people is forecast to rise from 78,000 full time equivalent people (FTEs) in 2015 to 111,000 by 2021, requiring a total industry inflow of 9,000 per year” which includes both civil and defense activities. Precise numbers on defense requirements are not given in latest skills documentation and important caveats are required. One is that it is acknowledged that “in the civil sector, the new-build programme means that the main challenge is in the ‘generic skills’ element. For defence, and research and development, the challenge is more located in the area of subject matter experts”. While generic skills are not specific to nuclear, the defense industry has more requirement for nuclear-specific skills in the long term. Also the analysis of future skills “averages across the industry and will not reflect movement within the industry”.
This recent emphasis on mobility came after earlier statements on the severe crisis in the nuclear submarine industry. As stated by Grimes et al: “Across the enterprise the availability of deep specialist expertise in key and suitably qualified staff appears to be at the bare minimum necessary to deliver the programme”. There are additional pressures on the defense nuclear program as most workers have to be British nationals for security reasons and for cuts MoD budgets contribute to pressures on the submarine industry.
These included acknowledgements of overlaps and shared skills between defense and civil and the benefits of civil engagement for defense, as illustrated by Rolls Royce: “Skills are considered to be transferable between military propulsion and civil programmes”, where “a larger involvement in the broader [civil] industry will also have a spillover benefit to military capability through skill development and experience exchange as well as admissions that the decline of civil nuclear has exacerbated skills challenges related to defense.
As acknowledged by the Keep Our Future Afloat campaign (KOFAC), “the decline of the UK civil nuclear programme has forced the military nuclear programme, and in particular the nuclear submarine programme, to develop and fund its own expertise and personnel in order to remain operational”. Additionally, in terms of Research & Development (R&D) support, it has been noted that “the MOD’s [Ministry of Defence] programme had been underwritten by civil nuclear research that has over the years been dismantled and commercialised”, where the “(…) expertise these activities generated has atrophied”.
Grimes et al, are providing specific recommendations for managing the capabilities crisis in the nuclear submarine industry through further engagement with the civil sector. This includes that “the programme seek imaginative methods to better engage with the emergent civil new-build programme on nuclear matters to the benefit of Defence”, that “the Research Programme Group establish a workstrand to look at leveraging to maximum effect civil nuclear investment”, and that “MOD revisit the possible option of utilising other nuclear facilities including those in the civil sector”.
Stephen Lovegrove, current Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defense and former Permanent Secretary at the Department for Energy and Climate Change responsible for negotiating the Hinkley Point C contracts, stated under questioning by the U.K. Parliament Public Accounts Committee: “We are completing the build of the nuclear submarines, which carry conventional weaponry. We have at some point to renew the warheads, so there is very definitely an opportunity here for the nation to grasp in terms of building up its nuclear skills. I do not think that that is going to happen by accident; it is going to require concerted Government action to make it happen.”
It is these remarkable conjunctions that have helped lead to reports in the U.K. and international press, that what is underway in the U.K. is, in effect, an unacknowledged cross-subsidy (perhaps amounting to several tens of billions of pounds) away from electricity consumers and to the benefit of military nuclear interests. Whatever the actual figures may prove to be amidst many complexities and uncertainties, the prima facie evidence seems clear that future U.K. electricity prices are being raised significantly higher than would otherwise be the case, at least partly in order indirectly to support military nuclear infrastructures by enabling a flow of resources into joint civil-military nuclear engineering supply chains and wider shared provisions for nuclear skills, research, design and regulation.
The attraction of this strategy for the U.K. Government appears to lie in the triple aim of: (1) finding a means to cover the otherwise insupportable costs of this major military commitment; (2) whilst keeping the resulting expenditures away from inconvenient public scrutiny; and (3) entirely off the public books. But what is perhaps most remarkable, is that these evidently powerful pressures with apparently major impacts, remain entirely undiscussed anywhere in U.K. energy policy or related media debates.
Nuclear Power, Nuclear Weapons and Democracy
Nuclear power is a controversial and expensive technology with a number of adverse wider characteristics, that is increasingly recognized to be growing obsolete by comparison with competing low-carbon energy technologies, yet which continues to receive intense continuing strong government support in several places around the world. The reasons for this are seriously under-documented and under-scrutinized in energy policy arenas. Given the volume, depth and ostensible rigor of detailed energy analysis around the world, this substantive gap in discussion is remarkable.
Despite the strong qualitative evidence reviewed in this chapter, analysis of interdependencies, cross-subsidization and strategic complementarities between civil nuclear power and the military sector (especially the nuclear submarine industries), remains undiscussed. Firm quantitative evidence for such links remains lacking, because necessary disaggregated information on flows of revenue, capital, employment and skills are not in the public domain. Yet the secretive nature of the forces at work, is evidently helping prevent definitive conclusions over the scale of the associated impacts on military or energy strategies (see Figure 33).
Source: Robin Grimes et al, “Royal Navy Nuclear Reactor Test Facility Review” Ministry of Defence, 28 October 2014
What is urgently required in order to resolve this picture more clearly is the publication of currently missing crucial data concerning the nature and scale of the flows and interdependencies between civil and military nuclear industries, and a rigorous process of scrutiny involving probing interrogation, dedicated research and robust analysis.
A series of questions remain open. To what extent are current continuing commitments to nuclear power, in particular countries around the world, due to national attachments to parallel military nuclear infrastructures? What is the magnitude of public provision for a shared civil and military strategic base in education, skills, research and key industrial and supply-chain capabilities? How much of the costs of these shared underpinnings for military nuclear ambitions, are being concealed by otherwise uneconomic joint civil-military nuclear infrastructures? How much cheaper might low carbon electricity services be to consumers, if these military pressures for nuclear lock-in were removed, easing a shift to energy efficiency and competitive renewable energy? And if this lock-in is escaped, what opportunities are presented by the current demise of nuclear power, towards also reducing global exposures to military nuclear threats
Dr Phil Johnstone is a Research Fellow in the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of
Sussex, U.K.. He has carried out research in a number of areas while at SPRU including the governance
of discontinuation, disruptive innovation in the energy sector, industrial policy, and
the role of war and the military in technological development. He has researched nuclear issues
for the past ten years, with a particular focus on the U.K.’s nuclear new-build program. He is
co-organizer of the ESRC seminar series ‘nuclear futures’ which focusses on nuclear waste in
the U.K., and along with colleagues, he has given evidence on nuclear matters to inquiries conducted
by the Department of Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), The Welsh Affairs
Committee, and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). He is a member of
the Sussex Energy Group (SEG) and was the Tyndall Centre coordinator for the University of
Sussex from 2014-2016.
Professor Andy Stirling is a Professor in the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) and co-director of
the STEPS Centre at the University of Sussex. He has a background in the natural sciences, a
master’s degree in archaeology and social anthropology (Edinburgh) and a doctorate in science
and technology policy (Sussex). An interdisciplinary researcher on the politics of science
and technology, Andy formerly worked in the environment and peace movements and has also
collaborated with a range of governmental, business and civil society organizations. A fellow of
the U.K. Academy of Social Science, he has served on several U.K. and EU policy advisory committees
on issues around energy, chemicals, biotechnology, environment and science policy.