World Nuclear Energy Day kicks off on historic date

December 1, 2020, 3:00PMNuclear News

The inaugural World Nuclear Energy Day, on December 2, will be a celebration of nuclear energy and the people who make it happen. As nuclear power is a leading source of clean energy across the globe, the day aims to remind us that clean energy enables healthy lives.

Click here to find out how some are observing World Nuclear Energy Day 2020.

Choosing the date: December 2 was chosen as the date of the event in recognition of the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction and the start-up of the first electric power reactor in the United States.

On December 2, 1942, Chicago Pile-1 went critical, creating the world's first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. Exactly 15 years later, on December 2, 1957, the Shippingport reactor in Pennsylvania achieved first criticality.

How the day was founded: World Nuclear Energy Day coordinator Jim Scherrer said that the idea spawned from the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in April, when a group of grassroots members of the nuclear energy industry felt that nuclear energy deserved its own day. The idea took shape from there. A six-person advisory board was created to select the day, create a theme, and get the word out.

The theme: World Nuclear Energy Day 2020 is designed to celebrate the inspirational commitment of people involved in the nuclear energy sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, often thanklessly and tirelessly working to keep the lights on and the essential nuclear facilities operating smoothly.

What to look for: The organizers are encouraging in-person events (abiding by the CDC guidelines to remain safe during the COVID-19 pandemic) to spark discussions around the future of nuclear energy, to honor the frontline nuclear workforce, and to connect each employee to this global celebration.

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