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Nuclear Technology - A High Risk Technology? or What Happens if Risk Communication Fails?
This seminar will introduce nuclear reactor safety to non-specialists by surveying the fundamentals and basic principles of safety in terms of historical examples and describing the safety design approach and engineering principles for controlling high-risk technologies. It will review how the perception of nuclear technologies and nuclear energy production has changed with time in Germany and what impact perception might have on new and old technologies and their acceptability, comparing examples of projects that failed in Germany although similar projects precipitated no major discussions in France or the UK. The presentation will lead into an open discussion on several fundamental questions. Why is risk communication important for engineering? What went wrong to cause the historical failures? How could we do better in the future?
Professor Bruno Merk is currently NNL/RAEng Research Chair in Computational Modelling for Nuclear Engineering at the University of Liverpool, NNL Laboratory Fellow for Physics of Nuclear Reactors, and Member of the Academic Editorial Board of PLOS ONE. He is an internationally recognized expert and thought leader in advanced nuclear reactor technologies and nuclear waste management strategies. He is currently involved in several national nuclear innovation projects sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and represents innovative technologies like iMAGINE – a nuclear energy system operating on spent nuclear fuel. Before coming to the UK, he was PI in the German National Programme on Nuclear Waste Management, Safety and Radiation Research (NUSAFE) and advised the German government on Nuclear Waste Management Strategies.