NC Research Platform

Research Platform Nuclear Condition(s)

Politics & History, Technology, Philosophy

The research platform Nuclear Condition(s) examines the interplay of technology, politics, and society in nuclear safety and security cultures.

  • Research questions focus less on geopolitical strategies, but rather on aspects of technological management of nuclear technology.
  • This includes security concerns. Nuclear materials management imposes major responsibilities on engineers and engineering activities.
  • Other than in times of the Cold War, current research is characterized by modified concepts of peace, safety, and security.
  • The possession of nuclear materials for civil use and the technical expertise steadily gain importance. That becomes apparent in disarmament and non-proliferation discourse: In the era of ‘weaponless deterrence’, state in possession of material and knowledge rank as so called latent nuclear power states. Thus they are “positive/part of the solution” as well as “negative/part of the problem”.
  • With respect to the nuclear phase-out that applies for Germany, too: not less but more engineering expertise is required by responsible-minded physicists and engineers.
  • Research is conducted on the interface of history, political science (safety/security and peace, STS), physics, engineering and the philosophy of technology. The research program thus continues the longstanding tradition of IANUS’ interdisciplinary peace research program.

In engineering and natural sciences IANUS affiliated scientists have contributed valuable solutions for the research field outlined above. E.g. Moritz Kütt developed an open-source software for more transparency in verification processes of nuclear materials in disarmament control. Friederike Friess’ thesis is on transmutation processes in Accelerator-Driven-Systems. Matthias Englert is working together with Wolfgang Liebert and Giorgio Franceschini on proliferation-resistant fusion reactors. A closer cooperation has also developed in an interdisciplinary setting between Matthias Englert (physics, Öko-Institut, Darmstadt), Anne Harrington (politics & international relations, Cardiff, UK), and John Downer (STS, Bristolk, UK) who set up the nuclear philosophy-blog.

Core Team

Research Objectives and Scope

The Disciplines