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Deep Time Iterations: Familiarity, Horizons, and Pattern Among Finland's Nuclear Waste Safety Experts
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This ethnography reconsiders nuclear waste risk’s deep time horizons’ often-sensationalized aesthetics of horror, sublimity, and awe. It does so by tracking how Finland’s nuclear energy and waste experts made visions of distant future Finlands appear more intelligible through mundane corporate, regulatory, financial, and technoscientific practices. Each chapter unpacks how informants iterated and reiterated traces of the very familiar to establish shared grounds of continuity for moving forward in time. Chapter 1 explores how Finland’s energy sector’s “mankala” cooperative corporate form was iterated and reiterated to give shape to political and financial time horizons. Chapter 2 explores how workplace role distinctions between recruit/retiree and junior/senior were iterated and reiterated to reckon nuclear personnel successions’ intergenerational horizons. Chapter 3 explores how input/output and part/whole distinctions were iterated and reiterated to help model distant future worlds in a portfolio of “Safety Case” evidence made to demonstrate the Olkiluoto repository’s safety to Finnish nuclear regulator STUK. Chapter 4 explores how Safety Case experts iterated and reiterated memories of a deceased predecessor figure in everyday engagements with deep time. What emerges are three insights about how futures attain discernible features – insights about the “continuity,” “thinkability,” and “extensibility” of expert thought – that, I argue, can help twenty-first century experts better navigate not only deep time, but also unknown futures of nuclear technologies, planetary environment, and expertise itself.
Finland; Nuclear Energy; Radioactive Waste; STS; Temporality; Energy; Cultural anthropology; Environmental studies; Anthropocene
Lynch, Michael E.; Miyazaki, Hirokazu
Ph. D., Anthropology
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis