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The social construction of risk and the controversial Brazilian Nuclear Program: among the scientific, the political and the public

Grant number: 12/00583-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2012
Effective date (End): June 30, 2015
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Sociology
Principal Investigator:Marko Synésio Alves Monteiro
Grantee:Ana Paula Camelo
Host Institution: Instituto de Geociências (IG). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):13/11897-1 - Nuclear policy and governance challenges after Fukushima: the Brazilian case, BE.EP.DR


This project aims to analyze the social construction about the risk about nuclear energy through a complex network of social, economic, technical, legislative, media aspects involved in the process of (re) definition of the Brazilian Nuclear Energy Program in the post-Fukushima context. We're talking about discussions and impacts in a context of retaking the nuclear program marked by the resumption of construction of Angra 3 (paralyzed since 1988), about the study of the places that would receive the new plants in Northeast and Southeast as part of the National Energy Plan 2030 and about the re-discussion of State policy for the sector, whose expectations were intensified in 2011. Tragedy in Japan happens just at this time of reinvestments in the sector, resulting in a debate on the feasibility and reliability of this source of energy. From the perspective of Social Studies of Science and Technology, especially Sociology of Science and Technology, we take the assumption that the risk itself is (re) constructed, (re) allocated and negotiated between the scientific, political and public. Because of this, this research also seeks to know the criteria and the influences that permeate the definitions of risk and safety on nuclear power and what image about the technology and nuclear energy they seek to build on that interaction. In light of the constructivist theory of sociology of scientific knowledge, we assess the relevance of such study and the discussion of consensus and dissent on such concepts, how and based on which arguments they are built; how science and technology legitimize these meanings in moments of indecision and renewed discussion of the risks and benefits that this technology offers, among other questions like: what happens when science is mixed with political decisions and with communication? How this relation tends to increase and / or reduce the perception of technology and nuclear threat? What is the role of science in (de) construction of risk idea? How does expertise issue and its legitimizing role appear? Which image about technology and nuclear energy is projected on Brazilian scenario from this interaction? How / where is the public debate? Therefore, it is identified as interesting and important tracking and monitoring in which ways the concept of risk appears associated with the technology and nuclear energy and how it has been discussed and (re) constructed not only from experts delimiting its concepts, but also in spheres that legislate about the subject, which publicize it and how it reverberates in general population. Therefore, the proposal to study the trajectory of the concept in different scenarios that converge in terms of theme. A previous theoretical research and field study have shown that the borders in the "security" and "risk" categories in which nuclear energy seems to pass are often tenuous and vulnerable to various influences, not only scientific criteria. What are these influences, which actors are involved, what are their speeches are other issues that we aim to reply with the discussion of the technology as a social event, result of interaction and the needs of agents and social institutions, not only experts, but also policy makers in public sphere interacting with society. And that the decision to insist and to invest (or not) in nuclear power is not only a scientific issue but also an issue and a political decision, and social. (AU)

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Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
CAMELO, Ana Paula. The social construction of risk and the controversial Brazilian nuclear program: among the scientific, the political and the public. 2015. Doctoral Thesis - Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Instituto de Geociências Campinas, SP.

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