Nuclear Science Week: the ANS local and student sections events

October 27, 2020, 9:31AMANS News

Nuclear Science Week (NSW) is a celebration designed to focus local, regional, national, and international interest on all aspects of nuclear science. National events marking the 11th annual NSW took place October 19–23 in Washington, D.C. This year’s theme was “Think Clean. Think Solutions. Think Nuclear.”

Several ANS local and student sections from around the world organized their own events to celebrate NSW, as follows:

■ The Mississippi Local Section helped secure an ANS NSW grant for the Energy Academy, a joint project of the Vicksburg-Warren and Claiborne County school districts sponsored by Entergy. Each school district received $500 to conduct activities throughout NSW. The Claiborne district created a weeklong program aimed at providing high school students with an opportunity to learn about the value of nuclear science, including how nuclear technology works. The Vicksburg-Warren district hosted a “What’s Watt” engagement activity for 40 high schoolers to learn about nuclear energy by constructing their own miniature power station.

■ The Trinity Section received an ANS NSW grant to develop a portfolio of radiation visualization options for remote demonstrations. The demonstrations will be available virtually so that educational outreach efforts can continue during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

■ An ANS NSW grant was awarded to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Student Section. The section is creating a light-hearted video featuring “fast facts” about nuclear energy. The video participants will be wearing “banana suits” to help alleviate the general public’s apprehension about radiation exposure. The suits offer a visual tie-in to the fact that radiation is all around us—including in bananas. The video is slated for completion in mid-November.

■ The North Carolina State University Student Section cosponsored a variety of events all week in conjunction with the university’s Department of Nuclear Engineering. The section held a five-part viewing party for the HBO miniseries Chernobyl that culminated with a chat about the series with Mihai Diaconeasa, an assistant professor of nuclear engineering at NCSU and a probabilistic risk assessment expert.

■ The Penn State University Student Section sponsored a virtual tour of the Breazeale nuclear reactor on October 21. The Breazeale reactor holds the oldest civilian reactor license in the United States. The tour was guided by staff from Penn State’s Radiation Science and Engineering Center. During the virtual demonstration and tour, a senior reactor operator discussed the facility and how it operates.

■ The Utah State University Student Section presented information about nuclear power and ANS to the AP physics class at a local high school. The student section also set up a table in the campus library that was staffed by club members for three days during the week. They handed out copies of an op-ed about Utah's Carbon Free Power Project that was written by the Brigham Young University Student Section and offered doughnuts with the hopes of attracting interest and questions about nuclear power from fellow students.

■ The Kennesaw State University Student Section is hosting a virtual tour on October 29 of the Vogtle plant. The event was originally planned for last week but had to be rescheduled.

■ The University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez Student Section posted a video, Nuclear Science and Engineering in Space Exploration, on YouTube and the NSW national events page. The video, which is meant for young audiences, was also shown in Puerto Rican schools during the week.

■ Internationally, the United Arab Emirates Section began a social media campaign, “Get to Know UAE ANS.” The group publicized its NSW events with a graphic on Instagram (ans.uae) and Twitter (@uae_ans) that included names and dates of the presentations. Also, the Latin America Local Section worked with Brazil’s National Nuclear Energy Commission to promote NSW events in Brazil.

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