NIRG has come about and is growing as there is a need. The nuclear industry is contested territory with the industry on the one hand and the peace movement on the other. Many academics work on the nuclear industry but often they are isolated from each other. The idea of forming an interdisciplinary group to connect such scholars became the basis of a nuclear research group.
NICHE gave co-ordinators Laurel MacDowell and Anna Stanley some seed money to hold an inaugural meeting in May 2009 in Ottawa. The small meeting agreed it was a good idea to have such a group, named it NIRG and discussed future projects. With the money remaining Laurel MacDowell organized a symposium at the University of Toronto in November 2009, put out a call for papers, invited three people to present papers to about 30 academics and grad students who attended the session. As a result of the symposium, we attracted more people and now NIRG has 28 active researchers in different fields working on various aspects of the nuclear industry including history, geography, public policy, international relations, health, environment, and waste management.
As Anna Stanley is now in Ireland, Laurel MacDowell is the current co-ordinator of the group. Current projects include: a student working with the NIRG members to complete a comprehensive nuclear bibliography this year. In addition the group is applying for grant money to hold a workshop, which was an idea from the inaugural meeting. Called The Nuclear Industry in the 21st Century Environment, the workshop will bring NIRG members together, to present and discuss research papers, and develop a book of essays, tentatively called Nuclear Portraits. The aim of this edited volume is to combine work that illustrates the full environmental, health, economic and social implications of the nuclear industry from exploration to waste disposal. It will provide a study of the varied interrelated aspects of the nuclear industry to discern and reflect its overall impact on people, local communities, and society. The book’s audience will be scholars and the public. A notice to NIRG was sent and a broader call for papers was sent to H-Sci-Med-Tech.