The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
After five reactor core meltdowns in the history of the civilian nuclear power industry, calls for reflexivity and humility in re-examining risk management practices are growing from within nuclear energy communities. For its entire history, the nuclear energy field has been male-dominated and also embedded in gendered ideologies of power, technological prowess, and risk-taking. This seminar draws on feminist scholarship and critical studies of science and technology to posit the need for an analysis of the gendered norms and values shaping the institutional cultures of nuclear energy governance. In particular, it calls for an exploration of how risk perceptions and management are influenced by gendered narratives, discourses, and practices in technocratic institutions of nuclear power. This talk will suggest how institutional policy changes could renegotiate practices in nuclear energy governance through principles of feminist scholarship such as social and environmental justice, care, and inclusion of diverse knowledges and epistemologies.