So today’s little post is for all you nuclear nerds out there. I came across this a few weeks ago. Its a nuclear reactor simulation game. Just bear with me. Now we realize how this will probably fly over most of your heads but we also know that some of you may get a little kick out of it. We really want to hear if anyone can actually work this! Is this in any way close to the dynamics of an actual reactor? It makes us feel a little like Homer Simpson but we’re interested to hear your feedback. Could this be a useful tool for school kids and college graduates to get to grips with reactor functionality? We only mention this to highlight one of the biggest problems we’ve seen after all our research for The Good Reactor, a massive lack of student interest.
The very first interview we did was with Paul Madden provost of The Queen’s College, Oxford and skilled British chemist. He expressed the need for more interest in subjects related to all facets of the nuclear world. The bottom line is there’s a shortage of students in the fields of chemistry and physics. It hadn’t occurred to us when we started to make this film that current numbers in relevant third level courses and the number of students needed to supply demand in the future are woefully unaligned. We simply don’t have the numbers.
Its not just a problem in the UK. This is across the globe. Furthermore this applies to all energy industries including renewable’s. After all, if nuclear power and renewable’s really are to solve the worlds energy crisis as many claim, it will need a capable workforce in order to run in it. Failing this even the nuclear industry would not hope to tackle the problems the future may hold.
Here’s a link to Katie Hudek. Encouraging to see such a well educated young person speaking about real solutions to the big problems we’re facing. Maybe the question we need to ask ourselves is not, ‘Can nuclear save us?‘, but, ‘Will we have enough Katie’s in 20 years to run the power stations of the future?’
If the incentives are made clear for students picking their finishing subjects after school then maybe we can start to tackle this problem head on. There is hope but only if this problem is addressed soon.
These students in MIT made an impressive leap with their WAMSR research but this should just be the tip of the iceberg not a break from the norm. Our schools must effectively encourage pupils to get onto courses relevant to energy. Saving the next generations from potential doom should be our main priority and this all starts in the classroom.