2023 journal article

Nuclear waste Educator's workshop: What and how do we teach about nuclear waste?


By: H. Wainwright*, B. Powell*, M. Hoover*, A. Ayoub*, M. Atz*, C. Benson*, R. Borrelli*, D. Djokic* ...

author keywords: Nuclear waste management and disposal; Interdisciplinary research and education
Source: Web Of Science
Added: October 23, 2023

A workshop was held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on July 25th and 26th, 2022. The objective was to develop a blueprint for educating next-generation engineers and scientists about nuclear waste management and disposal, which requires knowledge from diverse disciplines, including nuclear, chemical, civil, environmental, and geological science and engineering. The 49 participants included university professors, researchers, industry experts, and government officials from different areas. First, we have developed a list of key fundamental knowledge on waste management and disposal across the nuclear fuel cycle. In addition, we discussed strategies on how to teach students with diverse backgrounds through innovative teaching strategies as well as how to attract students into this area. Through the workshop, we identified the critical needs to (1) develop community resources for nuclear waste education; (2) synthesize historical perspectives, including past contamination and the management of general hazardous waste; (3) emphasize a complete life-cycle perspective, including proper waste management as the key component for energy sustainability; (4) teach students how to communicate about the key facts and risks to technical and non-technical audiences; and (5) accelerate the use of the state-of-art-technologies to attract and retain a young workforce. Furthermore, we aim to build a diverse, inclusive community that supports students in developing their own narratives about nuclear waste, particularly in recognizing that antagonistic views have been important to improving safety and protecting public health and the environment.