Nuclear community: Citizenship in West Cumbria and the impact of the Sellafield nuclear site

Haraldsen, Stephen orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2071-1737 (2014) Nuclear community: Citizenship in West Cumbria and the impact of the Sellafield nuclear site. In: RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2014, Friday 29 August 2014, London.

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The geographically isolated locations of nuclear facilities, and the decline in traditional industries, means that nuclear sites tend to be central to their local economy, and highly embedded in local socio-political institutions and processes. Sellafield, a major node in the global nuclear fuel cycle for over 50 years and in 2008 privatised and acquired by international consortia, dominates the West Cumbrian economy. The rise of postmodern, or lifestyle politics, means for many citizenship is something which is expressed primarily through, and around, the mundane actions of their daily lives. Thus, given that citizenship is primarily expressed locally, a single dominant employer plays a significant role in its production. This paper, reporting the results of a mixed methodology of a postal survey and concurrent focus groups in West Cumbria, explores the effect that proximity to Sellafield has upon rights, duties, civil and political participation and identity. Initial findings suggest that, despite being globalising and globalised, Sellafield predominantly affects citizenship in a localising, but occasionally contradictory, way, such as underpinning a strong local identity and civil society, yet heightening awareness of global issues. Other elements of the complex relationship between the Sellafield site and West Cumbria will be presented.

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