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Are journalists critical enough when covering nuclear? via SciDevNet

Nuclear power is a major topic in South Korea. The country is one of the largest generators of electricity from nuclear plants in the world. It has 23 reactors built with a total capacity of 20.5 gigawatts, another five are under construction and two more are planned. This makes South Korea fifth in the world in installed capacity.

So the issue could not be left out of the World Conference of Science Journalists, held in Seoul this week. Some of the sessions on nuclear energy were sponsored by the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, the Korean Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS) and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power. Together, these groups described the benefits of nuclear power, new developments and how nuclear power contributes to the economy and environment.

In a conference full of journalists, anybody would expect to see plenty of critical questions around this sponsorship and the all-embracing assertions that nuclear power is a positive asset. But there weren’t any.

[…]

Earlier this year, Indonesia’s National Nuclear Energy Agency (BATAN) invited a group of journalists on a trip to sign an agreement with Russia to build the first nuclear plant in the country. According to Surjadi, activities on this trip will clearly be all about the benefits of nuclear power plants. He advises journalists to talk to different sources to balance their stories. But first, he said, they have to study.

“I think the key to being critical is to know the subject: to understand what nuclear power is and what the uses of it are. We have to do our homework as journalists,” Surjadi said.

But journalists cannot always do this alone, they also have to be supported by the organisations they work for, including their editors. That’s what Dominique Leglu, editor-in-chief of Sciences et Avenir, a French science news website, pointed out.

Read more at Are journalists critical enough when covering nuclear?

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