Organisational risk perception and transformations in India's nuclear establishment

Wong, Catherine Mei Ling (2015) Organisational risk perception and transformations in India's nuclear establishment. Journal of Risk Research, 18 (8). pp. 1012-1029.

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The discourse on nuclear power and risk has shifted over the last few decades from security concerns emanating from nuclear weapons to threats to public safety in the event of industrial nuclear accidents. While the main focus of existing scholarship has been on public risk perceptions, comparatively little is known about organisational risk perceptions and the factors that influence organisations' willingness to accept the incalculable risks of nuclear power. This paper provides insights into how the nuclear establishment in India thinks about risk. Drawing on interviews with the senior management of nuclear organisations, the analysis shows that organisational risk perception is not merely a human construct or the outcome of simple technical cost-benefit rationalities. It is the result of interactions between material and ideational conditions of risk. These conditions are expressed through three core organisational narratives: (1) the growth imperative, (2) technological nationalism and (3) faith in systems and technology. While there is generally a strong consensus on these narratives within and among the nuclear organisations in India, the data also show that organisations are not homogenous entities. Instances of self-critique and reflexivity exist which could open new spaces for change towards a more inclusive organisational discourse on nuclear risk in India.

Item ID: 33043
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1466-4461
Keywords: civilian nuclear power in India; organisations; risk perception; actor–network theory; social amplification of risk framework
Funders: Australian National University (ANU)
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2014 00:10
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160802 Environmental Sociology @ 40%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160808 Sociology and Social Studies of Science and Technology @ 40%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1606 Political Science > 160605 Environmental Politics @ 20%
SEO Codes: 85 ENERGY > 8504 Energy Transformation > 850403 Nuclear Energy @ 30%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950408 Technological Ethics @ 30%
94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9402 Government and Politics > 940204 Public Services Policy Advice and Analysis @ 40%
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