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Putting Water at the Centre of Nuclear Energy History

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 NUCLEARWATERS project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the NUCLEARWATERS project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "NUCLEARWATERS" about.

energy    coastscapes    environmental    six    considerable    physics    heavily    valley    transnational    argument    efforts    soviet    manipulating    centuries    atomic    worldwide    accidents    conceptions    disaster    difficult    historical    interpreting    river    significantly    egypt    practices    displayed    professional    politically    culturally    civilizations    history    sometimes    ambition    paving    modern    hydraulic    risk    nuclearwaters    riddles    water    social    revise    background    public    radiochemistry    community    packages    japan    groundbreaking    centred    baltic    problematize    ultimate    earlier    structured    form    inertia    region    angles    age    resolve    dry    millennia    ancient    hypothesize    fragile    it    geographical    engineering    waters    essence    dilemma    logic    union    relationship    basin    deeper    centrality    rhine    academic    grasp    speaking    implications    nuclear    ecologically    develops    wet    sea    technologies    nuclearized    disasters    builds    netherlands   

Project "NUCLEARWATERS" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: 100 44

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Sweden [SE]
 Total cost 1˙991˙008 €
 EC max contribution 1˙991˙008 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2017-COG
 Funding Scheme ERC-COG
 Starting year 2018
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2018-05-01   to  2023-04-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

NUCLEARWATERS develops a groundbreaking new approach to studying the history of nuclear energy. Rather than interpreting nuclear energy history as a history of nuclear physics and radiochemistry, it analyses it as a history of water. The project develops the argument that nuclear energy is in essence a hydraulic form of technology, and that it as such builds on centuries and even millennia of earlier hydraulic engineering efforts worldwide – and, culturally speaking, on earlier “hydraulic civilizations”, from ancient Egypt to the modern Netherlands. I investigate how historical water-manipulating technologies and wet and dry risk conceptions from a deeper past were carried on into the nuclear age. These risk conceptions brought with them a complex set of social and professional practices that displayed considerable inertia and were difficult to change – sometimes paving the way for disaster. Against this background I hypothesize that a water-centred nuclear energy history enables us to resolve a number of the key riddles in nuclear energy history and to grasp the deeper historical logic behind various nuclear disasters and accidents worldwide. The project is structured along six work packages that problematize the centrality – and dilemma – of water in nuclear energy history from different thematic and geographical angles. These include in-depth studies of the transnational nuclear-hydraulic engineering community, of the Soviet Union’s nuclear waters, of the Rhine Valley as a transnational and heavily nuclearized river basin, of Japan’s atomic coastscapes and of the ecologically and politically fragile Baltic Sea region. The ultimate ambition is to significantly revise nuclear energy history as we know it – with implications not only for the history of technology as an academic field (and its relationship with environmental history), but also for the public debate about nuclear energy’s future in Europe and beyond.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Per Högselius
Taking on Technocracy: nuclear power in Germany, 1945 to the present
published pages: 269-271, ISSN: 0307-1022, DOI: 10.1080/03071022.2019.1583870
Social History 44/2 2019-12-16
2018 Anna Storm
Atomic Fish: Sublime and Non-Sublime Nuclear Nature Imaginaries
published pages: 59-75, ISSN: 2282-4863, DOI:
Azimuth VI/12 2019-12-16

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