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A Participatory Design Framework: Incorporating Public Views Into the Design of Nuclear Power Plants


PhD Project Details

Project Leader: Professor Adisa Azapagic

Project Duration: November 2008 - April 2013.

Project Overview

This thesis presents a participatory systems design framework for the design of a nuclear power plant. The work begins with a review of the so-called ‘nuclear renaissance’, the risks posed by nuclear power as calculated by experts, how the lay-person perceives such risks and how participatory approaches have been used to reduce opposition to new developments in other industries.

The review identifies two key questions;

  • Firstly, can the public be engaged on the topic of aspects of nuclear plant design and provide meaningful responses?
  • Secondly, can these responses be integrated into the design process of a nuclear power plant in a meaningful and practicable way?

A representative sample of UK citizens (n=1304) were asked 10 questions on their underlying view of nuclear power and then 12 questions covering different aspects of nuclear design in a questionnaire. This data provides a first understanding of what the UK public might desire from the design of a nuclear power plant. Statistical analysis using asymmetric Somer’s D suggests that whilst design preferences relating to nuclear fuel and waste are driven to some extent by underlying views, design preferences relating to reactor design are not. Further research is required to explore and validate this finding. A new framework for the design of a nuclear plant is documented. A modified Quality Function Deployment (QFD) method is used to combine sets of requirements from different stakeholders and produce a system level specification of a nuclear power plant. The modified method allows requirements from different stakeholders to be individually weighted, resulting in a graphical output showing how different stakeholders have influenced the design specifications. An example set of stakeholders requirements, including those gathered from the UK public as described above, are developed in a case study that demonstrates how the framework can be used to develop plant designs. An analysis of how this work might impact both Rolls-Royce and the broader nuclear industry is presented and themes relating to lean manufacturing and the combination of standardised modules into customised systems (Standardised Customisation) is proposed. Finally, an overview of opportunities for future research is presented.

This project is completed and the PhD Dissertation can be found here.

For More Information

The primary contact for this project is Professor Adisa Azapagic.

All group members involved in this project: