Why is nuclear power feared and what significance will it have on the UK energy economy?

The UK is aiming to have a net zero carbon economy by 2050 and it is believed that nuclear power will play a vital role in achieving this.

Professor Martin Freer, Head of Physics and Astronomy and Director of the Birmingham Energy Institute at the University of Birmingham, has recently been interviewed by The Guardian Science Weekly about nuclear energy, how safe it is and the significance it will have on the UK energy economy.  During the interview, Professor Freer explained that nuclear energy is expected to account for 40% of electricity generation in the coming years, making it a major component of our energy economy. However, the concept of nuclear power is still met by some with a concerns over safety

Given that nuclear power is responsible for the deaths of fewer people per unit of energy produced than coal, gas or wind power, Ian Sample, The Guardian Science Weekly, asks why this source of energy is feared above others. Together, Ian, Professor Freer and Fred Pearce, environmental journalist, explore the concept of Radiophobia.  

With Professor Freer and Fred both agreeing that nuclear power is one of the safer methods of energy generation Ian goes on to interview Dr Tali Sharot, a neuroscientist at University College London to establish how the negative perception of nuclear energy could be changed. It is recognised that the message needs to be reframed, the mistakes made in the past need to be recognised and the benefits this technology can bring to society need to be highlighted.

To listen to the podcast, please follow the link below:

Radiophobia: why do we fear nuclear power? – Science Weekly podcast