Thursday, 12 April 2007

Reporting Nuclear Power

The World Conference of Science Journalists is to be held in Melbourne next week.

From a breakout session on Tuesday April 16, Reporting Nuclear Power.
In the past year, there has been a resurgence of interest in nuclear power in Australia and many other parts of the world, mainly as a response to climate change. This session explores how the media from different countries with diverse governments, climates, economies and power industries approach the topic of nuclear power. What drives individual nations to embrace nuclear power or reject it?

While some countries are still discussing whether they will ever need nuclear power, others are planning their first plant, and still others are shutting down existing plants. Then there are questions of getting involved in or opting out of uranium enrichment and/or nuclear fuel reprocessing. And everyone is still grappling with how to deal with high-level nuclear waste.

Traditionally, the debate over nuclear power in Australia has revolved around issues of safety i.e. potential contamination and waste disposal. Following the release of a recent government inquiry, those issues have been joined by argument over the speed and cost of development of a nuclear energy industry, and whether pursuing the nuclear option would preclude alternative sources of power.

But the issues and concerns are different in other parts of the world, particularly where nuclear power has become part of the fabric of society. This session brings the chair of a recent Australian inquiry (and now of the Australia’s nuclear research organisation) together with a long-term critic of nuclear power and a panel of non-Australian journalists to discuss how nuclear issues are viewed and reported around the world.

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