Nuclear Matter(s)

MArch, Year 5, Dissertation

Bartlett School of Architecture

Tutor: Edward Denison

This thesis explores the value of nuclear waste as an architectural investigation. The research comprises a critical review of the vast amount of literature on nuclear waste management to begin to theorise the role of architecture in this landscape. What is evident from this review is the conspicuous gap formed around the architectural discipline in research on the regeneration of nuclear sites or the recovery of radioactive materials.

This investigation therefore extrapolates from the scant material available on architecture an interrogation of studies through a literature review that discloses how a decontamination and subsequent recovery of nuclear waste might be feasible from a technical point of view and what role architecture, or architectural knowledge, can play in achieving this.

By means of a conclusion, the study imagines in a future scenario the impact that the technological development explored in the literature review would have on architecture. In this future setting, this thesis argues for the formulation of an architectural tool that can exploit the use of recycled nuclear waste in the design process.

This research ultimately argues for the importance and urgency of an architectural discussion on the value and recovery on nuclear waste in order to incentive its decontamination, therefore eliminating the existential threat it poses not just today, but across geological time.