Case study: The Power of the Atom
Atom not so scary? What are the prospects and opportunities for the development of nuclear energy in the world in the face of climate change? Nuclear power plants, as a way of generating electricity, began to rapidly lose their popularity after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. The failure of the power plant reactor in Japan's Fukushima (2011) completed the work and eventually plunged nuclear power. However, the world leaders, as well as the public opinion itself, in countries where nuclear power plants play an important role are divided on this issue. Nuclear power plants raise many concerns. Their action and the threat associated with failures have even become mythical, and around the topic arose a lot of so-called fake news, which do not favor this technology, because they create a climate of fear, threat and social resistance.
Recommended for: secondary schools 16+, university students, adult learners
Tags: nuclear energy, environment safety, cost of energy, sustainable energy
Building block 3. Truths and myths about radiation of nuclear power plant
We have been spoken about radioactive radiation practically since the days of Maria Skłodowska-Curie and her husband, Piotr Cuire, who developed the theory of radioactivity, the techniques of radioactive isotope separation and discovered two new radioactive elements - polonium and radium. With time, their achievements began to be used in many fields of energy, medicine, science, technology and industry, as well as in archeology and art. Today, one of the most common ways to use nuclear radiation is the treatment of cancer. Thus, nuclear radiation has many advantages. But like everything in our lives, it also has its drawbacks. And these disadvantages are usually the most feared by man. So is a nuclear power plant emitting harmful radiation into the environment? Does it threaten man and his health? Is it possible to study the level of radiation generated by a nuclear power plant? Does the nuclear power plant need to have safeguards installed that allow it to work in it, as well as to live near it? How much radiation do we receive every year from other sources closer to us, such as radiation from the ground, radiation from medical procedures, such as ordinary x-ray of the tooth? If you want to learn the truths and myths on this topic, read the materials contained in this building block.
1. Paper “Nuclear for Climate” - paper about Nuclear for climate and its changes; Nuclear energy is a key part of the solution to climate change
https://www.world-nuclear.org/focus/climate-change-and-nuclear-energy/nuclearforclimate.aspx [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]
2. COP 25 climate change conference in Madrid in 2019: COP 25: Nuclear innovation for clean and sustainable growth
https://www.world-nuclear.org/focus/climate-change-and-nuclear-energy/cop-25-nuclear-innovation-for-clean-and-sustainabl.aspx [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]
4. Accidents at Nuclear Power Plants and Cancer Risk
https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/radiation/nuclear-accidents-fact-sheet [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]
5. Nuclear Radiation and Health Effects
https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-security/radiation-and-health/nuclear-radiation-and-health-effects.aspx [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]
1. ”Pro-Nuclear Power …”
https://nuclearstreet.com/pro_nuclear_power_blogs/b [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]
2. „Need to talk about nuclear energy”
https://about.bnef.com/blog/liebreich-need-talk-nuclear-power/ [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]
1. How fear of nuclear power is hurting the environment?
2. Power Plants and Pollution
3. Uranium – the most dangerous metal on earth
The learning outcomes represent the competences which learners are expected to develop as a result of the training intervention:
1. The learner will begin to understand and be able to describe what is radiation and what are the sources of natural and artificial radiation.
2. The learner will be able to list some effects of radiation, good and bad for a man.
3. The learner will be able to outline the nuclear materials and their practical use by a man.
4. The learners will be able to understand and differentiate between facts, beliefs, opinions, interpretations according to the health benefits and concerns of nuclear energy and nuclear power plant.
Suggested teaching methods
> Information searching
> Information comparison
> Present arguments
Suggested learning activities
> Explain the idea of systemic causality.
> Constructing Ishikawa diagram in groups of 4-6 learners – what are the causes of radiation and its effect of human health and life. What are the good and bad sides of radiation for human. Systemic causality – learning about complexity of radiation.
> Each group presents their work, discussion among groups, teacher wraps up
> Learners list possible effects of radiation of human health and life (mind-mapping)
> Read two articles about nuclear radiation (articles #4 and #5):
> Discuss about the effects of nuclear radiation coming from both sides.
> Outline types of disinformation and their harmful potential on a man.
De Facto pillars
Frames and Framing: Discussion what are the truths and myths about radiation of nuclear power plant. Does the nuclear power plant produce the unsafety radiation that can provoke cancer and many other human illnesse?
Systemic Causality: Constructing Ishikawa diagram in groups of 4-6 learners – what are the causes of radiation and its effect of human health and life. What are the good and bad sides of radiation for human. Systemic causality – learning about complexity of radiation.
Additional online tools
You have selected a topic from the Disinformation Games area. Please be advised that this area hosts, or links to, resources that contain misinformation or disinformation. The presence of such materials is to assist in developing and sustaining skills for navigating and detecting disinformation. To achieve this goal – and with clear intent – none of the materials are explicitly marked as true or not true.