Rapid Media Impact of Nuclear Accident Research

Since being published on Monday 20th November, the NREFS project results have attracted international media attention.

The Nuclear Risk Issues: Environmental, Financial and Safety (NREFS) project research results were released this week, which found that few people, if any, should be asked to leave their homes after a big nuclear accident. The public policy implications of these findings mean that it is important that they are spread widely in the public domain.

Online Coverage Generates Significant Discussion

As well as an official press release by the University of Bristol, a number of Science-based websites have carried the story. This includes myScience, EurekAlert!, The Huffington PostEarth.com and Phys.org. When the research was presented in a public lecture in Bristol this week it prompted a substantial Q&A session, which as been mirrored online.

This can be seen particularly on the Reddit Science forum, where a posting of the press release has generated over 1200 comments and 30,000 views in less than a day. This post also made it onto the top 100 hot topics on the site.

An unexpected source of coverage came from the Lad Bible. The online news community, prominent on Facebook, covered the story allowing it to reach its 2.6m readership. To date this article has been shared 2200 times and will certainly have reached a diverse international audience.

Principal Investigator Professor Philip Thomas from the Faculty of Engineering also wrote an article in The Conversation. This article gives a greater insight into the context of the research and considers some social implications of the recommendations.

National Newspaper  Coverage

The research was also covered in national newspapers.  The Times (paywall)The Daily MailThe Metro and The Evening Standard all focused on the comparison with London's air quality, using the South Downs fictional reactor simulation.

After the initial coverage the story was then featured in The Bristol Post, which applied the findings to the prospective Hinkley Point C power station.

Radio Interviews

Later in the week of publication Professor Thomas  gave an interview to BBC Radio Wales on the Good Morning Wales programme, applying the research findings to the under-construction plant at Hinckley Point C in Somerset. The full interview can be heard from 2:24:00 to 2:29:10 on the BBC iPlayer.

There is also a longer interview on talkRADIO on the Sunday Breakfast programme (select the 9:30-10:00 slot and listen from 2:20).

Research Available Open Access

Reflecting the public relevance of the research, the papers are available open access via Science Direct - 'Coping after a big nuclear accident'. They form a Special Issue of the Process Safety and Environmental Protection journal.

Original Press Release

For more details on the research you can read the press release that explains the findings here.


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