Jimenez Varas, Gonzalo and Muñoz, A. and Brucker, R. and Villar, T.
Introducing Nuclear Energy to High-School Students: The Spanish Young Generation in Nuclear (Jóvenes Nucleares) Lectures.
In: "Nuclear Engineering Science and Technology, NESTET-2011", 15/05/2011 - 18/05/2011, Praga, República Checa. ISBN 978-92-95064-12-6.
One of the main goals of Spanish Young Generation (JJNN) is to spread knowledge about nuclear energy, not only pointing out its advantages and its role in our society, but also trying to correct some of the ideas that are due to the biased information and to the lack of knowledge. With this goal in mind, lectures were given in several high schools, aimed at students ranging from 14 to 18 years old. This paper explains the experience accumulated during those talks and the conclusions that can be drawn, so as to better focus the communication about nuclear energy, especially the one aimed at a young public. In order to evaluate the degree of knowledge and information on a specific topic of a given group of individuals, statistical methods must be used. At the beginning of each lecture (and sometimes at the end, in order to evaluate the impact of the talk) the students were submitted to a short survey conducted by Spanish Young Generation. It consisted in eight questions, dealing with the relation between the main environmental issues (global warming, acid rain, radioactive waste…) and nuclear energy. The answers can be surprising, especially for professionals of the nuclear field who, since they are so familiar with this topic, often forget that this is just the case of a minority of people. A better knowledge of the degree of information of a given group enables to focus and personalize the communication. Another communication tool is the direct contact with students: it starts with their questions, which can then lead to a small debate. If the surveys inform about the topics they are unaware of, the direct exchange with them enables to find the most effective way to provide them the information. Of course, it depends a lot on the public attending the talk (age, background…) and on the debate following the talk: a good communication, adapted to the public, is necessary. Therefore, the outcome of the performed exercise is that Spanish teenagers have still a lack of knowledge about nuclear energy. We can learn that items that are evident for nuclear young professionals are unknown for high school teenagers