Fieldwork in St. Petersburg and Sosnovy Bor, Russia

April 23-29, 2017 Andrei Stsiapanau, the project research fellow, went on field work in St. Petersburg and Sosnovy Bor to conduct interviews with participants and key actors of the discussions over the construction of the radioactive waste depository. Russian corporation «Rosatom» considers to build a radioactive waste underground depository on the shore of the Gulf of Finland which extends between Russia, Finland and Estonia. The planned location is the city of Sosnovy Bor, with 67 thousand of population, 40 kilometers away from St. Petersburg, near the Leningrad nuclear power plant. Sosnovy Bor became a nuclear city in 1973, when the first unit of the Leningrad nuclear power plant was launched. The start of the first unit of the new Leningrad nuclear plant, which will replace the old RBMK reactors, is scheduled for 2017. In addition, within the city three nuclear sites – Research Institute, which is now testing the ship’s nuclear power plants, the melting plant of radioactive metals “Ecomet-S” and the radioactive waste repository of the Russian North-West region are located.

During the visit April 26 to the Sosnovy Bor Andrei Stsiapanau attended the Chernobyl disaster commemorative meeting and ceremony with the participation of the former liquidators of the Chernobyl disaster consequences, of the Leningrad NPP and Sosnovy Bor city administrations.  The same day at the Center for Independent Social Research in Saint-Petersburg Andrei Stsiapanau gave a talk in which he shared with the public his thoughts about very different representations about Chernobyl disaster in political discourses in Belarus and Russia.

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Conference in Freiberg, Germany

April 26-28, 2017 Anna Storm participated in the conference Authentizität und industriekulturelles Erbe – Identitäten, Grenzen, Objekte und Räume in Freiberg, Germany, and gave the keynote lecture “A landscape of home and a landscape of viewing: Simultaneous realities in the post-industrial situation”.

Photos by Nikolai Ingenerf

Fieldwork in Fessenheim, France

February 20-24, 2017 Florence Fröhlig and Anna Storm went on fieldwork to the small village of Fessenheim in the Alsace region. The dominant presence of the Fessenheim nuclear power plant and the stately energy company EDF was visible not only by dominating the skyline but also, for example, in the local football clubhouse. The two reactors were commissioned in 1977 and 1978 making them the oldest ones still in operation in France. Recurrent anti-nuclear demands as well as political promises to close the plant down have so far not been realized. It is located right next to the Grand Canal d’Alsace where heavy ship transports continuously pass by, and within 1.5 kilometers from the German border.

Fieldwork at SKB/SFR in Forsmark, Sweden

December 12, 2016 Anna Storm went on fieldwork to the final repository for short-lived radioactive waste in Sweden – SFR – managed by the company SKB. The repository is located in the bedrock under the Baltic sea, next to the Forsmark nuclear power plant and to the so-called Biotest lake (see blog post below). In a forestry area close by, the final repository for the most highly radioactive waste, the spent nuclear fuel, is prospected. A frog species that has to be relocated because of the prospecting has been moved to new-built pools and a “frog hotel” a little further away (the earth mound that can be discerned in the picture below right.)

Visit to Forsmark, Sweden

November 30, 2016 Florence Fröhlig, Kasia Keeley and Anna Storm visited the Forsmark nuclear power plant, two hours north of Stockholm in Sweden. As heritage scholars, it was the first time for all of us to enter an operating nuclear power plant, which implied additional security procedures and a noisy turbine hall. In other respects, an operating plant appeared rather similar to a closed down one… We also had a tour to the residential area for temporary workers, currently being replaced by a new hotel. Our visit both began and ended in the old company town of Forsmark, formerly an ironwork and today a historic site with many tourist in the summer. Since the 1970s the company town of Forsmark is owned by the Forsmarks Kraftgrupp AB who also owns the nuclear power plant. Past, present and future thus intermingle in very explicit ways in the Forsmark area.

Fieldwork at Barsebäck, Sweden

October 31, 2016 Kasia Keeley and Anna Storm went on fieldwork at the Barsebäck nuclear power plant in southern Sweden. We had a tour inside the plant, where decommissioning work has began but where visitors still have to go through the ritual of crossing the bench which separates the radioactive zone inside the reactor building from the non-radioactive spaces. We also had a windy walk in the plant’s immediate surroundings. At the so called Allan’s pond where contaminated mud is stored, the sea buckthorn were just turning from red to yellow.

Visit to Risö, Denmark

September 21, 2016 Kasia Keeley and Anna Storm visited the Risø nuclear research station outside Roskilde, Denmark. The station is idyllically situated at the Roskilde Fjord and currently under decommissioning. Its future is however most unclear. Will the radioactive leftovers remain on site? Will the bird watchers be able to access the headland in the future? Will the history of the nuclear research efforts in Denmark make its way into the big narrative of Denmark’s recent history?

Chernobyl’s legacy – thirty years later

April 27-28, 2016 The research team organized, in cooperation with the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies and the Institute of Contemporary History, a seminar on “Chernobyl’s legacy – thirty years later” at Södertörn University. Assistant Professor Olga Kuchinskaya from the University of Pittsburgh presented her book The Politics of Invisibility: Public Knowledge about Radiation Health Effects after Chernobyl (MIT Press 2014), and the photographer Pi Frisk introduced her photo exhibition Chernobyl children summer camp in Sweden in the university library.