Mega Infrastructue Projects & Sustainability

Posted: 4th May 2022

Phil Johnstone & Andy Stirling: Nuclear power has long offered an iconic

context for addressing risk and controversy surrounding megaprojects –
including trends towards cost overruns, management failures, governance
challenges, and accountability breaches. Less attention has focused on
reasons why countries continue new nuclear construction despite these
well-documented problems. Whilst other analysis tends to frame associated
issues in terms of energy provision, this paper will explore how civil
nuclear infrastructures subsist within wider ‘infrastructure ecologies’
– encompassing ostensibly discrete megaprojects across both civil and
military nuclear sectors. Attending closely to the UK case, we show how
understandings of megaprojects can move beyond bounded sectoral and time
horizons to include infrastructure patterns and rhythms that transcend the
usual academic and policy silos. By illuminating strong military-related
drivers modulating civil nuclear ‘infrastructure rhythms’ in the UK,
key issues arise concerning bounded notions of a ‘megaproject’ in this
context – for instance in how costs are calculated around what seems a
far more deeply and broadly integrated ‘nuclear complex’. Major
undeclared interdependencies between civilian and military nuclear
activities raise significant implications for policymaking and wider

Journal of Mega Infrastructure & Sustainable Development 28th April 2022

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