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Salford helps Saudis communicate facts about nuclear power

Monday 9 April 2018

THE MIDDLE-EAST is planning for life after fossil fuels with ambitious plans for nuclear power.

The UAE is already building nuclear reactors and Saudi Arabia alone has plans for a 16 new nuclear power plants in the next 25 years.

To help with the cultural acceptance of nuclear, Dr Gary Kerr, a science communications expert at The University of Salford has been flown in from the UK to help formulate messages around the key scientific facts about nuclear power.

Gary, has been commissioned by the Edinburgh Science Festival, where he is a regular contributor dispelling myths about science controversies and engaging the public in the benefits of scientific endeavour. 


Explains Gary: “Saudi plans to build 16 new nuclear power reactors and wants nuclear to provide 15% of the nation’s power by 2040 - so it's a huge part of the future for the people there.

“My role is about educating the nation’s science communicators about how they can engage the public, particularly children and young people to think about how to build a nuclear power station, and think about safety features inside them.

“Nuclear can be controversial and the best way to approach this is to present the facts. So the more you can engage people in the facts and the figures around nuclear, the more they can understand how it works.

“We want the children to think about location,cost, and safety of nuclear power stations; and to understand the processes ofgenerating electricity from nuclear sources.  We also exploreradioactivity in common materials and identify ways of blocking radiation.”

Nuclear power’s safety record is good relative to many industries but the effects of a handful of incidents including Chernobyl and Fukushima have had wide ranging consequences, not least in the public psyche.

Gary, who teaches on the University of Salford's Masters course in Science Communication and Future Media will be acting as a consultant at the Mishkat Interactive Centre for Atomic & Renewable Energy, in Riyadh.