Nuclear Cultural Heritage approaches and methods and their applicability in the context of the site selection procedure (NuCultAge)

Project description

The NuCultAge project is dedicated to the question of how a nuclear cultural heritage can contribute to the preservation of knowledge about the risk technology of nuclear energy and to the safety of the final disposal of radioactive waste. In this context, the question of how this nuclear heritage could be designed in order to be remembered or available for future generations after the dismantling of the nuclear facilities is also addressed. Such a heritage includes both tangible objects and intangible practices. Tangible objects or artifacts may include museum exhibits, dismantled nuclear power plants, uranium mining landscapes, or archives. There are different understandings of the term immaterial practices in the relevant literature. An example of immaterial practices are the memories of the anti-nuclear protests in the 1960s/70s as well as the protests around Gorleben, which at the same time manifested themselves in material artifacts.

One aim of the project is to analyze the different as well as related conceptual approaches to Nuclear Cultural Heritage with regard to their characteristics and to show commonalities, differences and their applicability in relation to the German waste management context. Another goal is to analyze to what extent a nuclear cultural heritage already exists in Germany or which requirements and framework conditions would have to be fulfilled in order to establish such a heritage.

Therefore, the project will review international concepts and examples as well as map the already existing objects of a nuclear heritage in Germany and record nuclear identities and cultures of remembrance and put them in relation to each other. The analysis of the German nuclear heritage is based on three selected case studies.

Three guiding research questions are addressed in this project:

  • How can a German nuclear cultural heritage contribute to safety in nuclear waste management?
  • What is the role of German national, regional and local nuclear cultures and identities as well as cultures of remembrance and how can a German nuclear cultural heritage be constituted against this background?
  • Where, how and by whom is a nuclear cultural heritage already being implemented in Germany?

Consequently, the research project connects the scientific study of nuclear cultural heritage with concrete, future challenges of nuclear waste management in Germany. It thus makes a scientific contribution to the creation and permanence of the German nuclear memory. This memory should contribute to a long-term responsible handling of the risky nuclear energy production as well as its radioactive legacies.

ITAS is developing conceptual approaches for a better understanding of the relationship between long-term governance and nuclear cultural heritage and is thus supporting Öko-Institut e.V. particularly in the initial and final project phases.


Dr. Sophie Kuppler
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-24807