“Are nuclear reactors safe?”

Today I attended a workshop on networking skills, targeted to graduate level students and post-doc fellows. As a master student, who just started in last September, I felt like a freshman (f!rosh) again! I met many aspiring scientists and engineering students, but it struck me more when I was asked by one of the PhD students the question “are nuclear reactors safe”? (That was after we introduced ourselves and explained our areas of research)

Hmm….. why no one had asked about my opinion before?

I have to say that my experience with the nuclear industry is still very limited to an undergraduate course at University of Toronto, a 3-month summer internship at Chalk River with AECL, and three nuclear courses taken as part of my master degree at McMaster University.  So sometimes, I’d tell myself this:

I’m not doing crazy, dangerous or destructive science here because I’ve met so many intelligent nuclear scientists, engineers who are also parents, grandparents, friends, supervisors, etc. They are SANE people and I can trust that they know what they are doing, right?

Maybe I looked naive to that workshop participant who asked me the question (“Are nuclear reactors safe?”), because I was told once that I looked like 16 (2 years ago). He doesn’t know me other than my research field and he definitely knows little about nuclear energy!

But for people who (actually) know me, if I tell them “nuclear reactors are safe”, will they believe me without any doubts based on my character and education?

As a result of this simple question that I got today, I decided to open a blog, on which I will try my best to document and share my wonderful studies in nuclear engineering with people who know me or not. I can only gurrantee that the posts will represent my current personal opinions. I am not advocating that nuclear energy is the solution to Global Warming (for example). Neither am I trying to convince any of you to cast away your concern for the environment. After all,  I’m still learning about this controversial science and profession myself! But I am genuinely interested in how we (as a society) can utilize nuclear energy in the most constructive ways.