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Grid Locked: Rethinking infrastructure in uncertain times

11:30 AM, Thursday 26 May 2022 (20 minutes)

The announcement on March 4th, 2022 of a fire at a Ukrainian nuclear power plant and subsequent take-over of the Zaporizhzhia plant by Russian troops is alarming from many perspectives, including the fear of a repeat of the Chernobyl disaster of the late 1990s. The risk of living in proximity to a nuclear power plant is passively assumed by local residents. This paper explores at the global architecture of nuclear power stations by building case studies around the break in energy supplies resulting from the partial melt-down of the Five-Mile Island Unit 2 reactor in Middleton, Pennsylvania (1979), the nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near Pripyat in northern Ukraine (1986), the Northeast blackout of 2003 and shutdown of the Pickering Nuclear Power Plant (2003), and the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Oduma, Fukshima, Japan (2011). The case studies will explore the facilities and any available city-wide evacuation plans, in an attempt to situate the facilities in their broader social and physical networks. This paper is a preliminary search into rethinking infrastructure networks and power supplies in uncertain times. 

University of Montreal
Assistant professor
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