The Disinformation Games

Your safe space for games and challenges related to misinformation and disinformation!

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.

The Power of the Atom

Recommended for: secondary schools 16+, university students, adult learners

Available building blocks: 6

Tags: nuclear energy, environment safety, cost of energy, sustainable energy

Tips for educators

Building block 6. Can nuclear power plants be the target of terrorists?

Everyone in Europe remembers a number of terrorist attacks that took place several years ago in several European countries. All the time terrorist attacks occur from time to time in various countries around the world. Their direct goals are either defenseless people on the street, public buildings, airports or objects important for the economy. The reasons guided by terrorists are also different, but innocent people always die in them. One wonders whether a nuclear power plant could become a terrorist attack? Probably. This cannot be ruled out. All the more so the consequences of such an attack could be huge. But what is the probability that there will be a successful terrorist attack on the nuclear power plant? You have to check it out. The materials prepared in this building block will help in this.

Suggested resources

1. Nuclear Energy Pros and Cons  [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]

2. Various Disadvantages of Nuclear Energy [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]

3. Article by Council on Foreign Relations about “Targets for Terrorism: Nuclear Facilities”  [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]

4. Wikipedia about “Vulnerability of nuclear plants to attack” [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]

5. Opinion on New York Times Journal about Nuclear Reactors as Terrorist Targets [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]

6. Forbes article about “If Nuclear Plants Are So Vulnerable To Terrorist Attack, Why Don’t Terrorist attack them? [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]


Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes represent the competences which learners are expected to develop as a result of the training intervention:

1. The learner will be able to explain the factors which lead to the large diversity of opinions on, and preferences for, different sources of energy.
2. The learner will be able to discuss the most common arguments for and against the energy types covered by the case study.
3. The learner will be able to understand how individual frames and motivated cognition shapes our profile as energy consumers.

Suggested teaching methods

> Information searching
> Information comparison
> Present arguments
> Team-working
> Discussion
> Brainstorming
> Apply source- and fact-checking to a set of resources
> Use of mind-mapping software
> Extract relevant information from sources and construct lists of characteristics

Suggested learning activities

> Ask the learners if they are afraid of the terrorist. Ask them to list 2-3 reasons for doing so. Record the answers in an aggregated list and note which reasons repeat most often. If any of them saw or hear of any terrorist attack?

> Go through the provided resources. Depending on the group size, split the learners in 2-3 groups and ask each group to study 2-3 resources. Let the learners to take notes.

> Ask the learners if when they were going through the resources they met a claim which sounded a) way too funny, b) way too stupid. Let them explain why. See if someone else in the group feels this is unfair and wishes to defend the claim. Keep things polite and within the fun zone. Start a debate why a particular claim can be perceived at the same time, by different people, as funny or stupid, important or irrelevant, etc.

> Ask the learner to produce in 2-man groups the memes related to the topic. It could be make as a competition, so also ask the learners to reflect what should be the competition criteria for winning? Would it be the funniest meme, the most ironic, the most sarcastic one...? Point the learners to a free meme-generator and have each team submit a max of 2 proposals. Let the whole class vote - based on the criteria they have determined themselves.

De Facto pillars

Frames and Framing: Discuss how stereotypes (frames) are clearly visible throughout this case study. Ask the learners to reflect whether the debate around safety of nuclear energy, nuclear power plants and eventual terrorist attacks can be regarded through frames. Attempt to define these frames.

Systemic Causality: Ask the learners to reflect and debate whether the global dangerous of terrorist attacks exhibits the properties of an issue which falls within the systemic causality pattern.

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.