Today, 2 December, marks the second annual celebration of nuclear energy and the people who make it happen. World Nuclear Energy Day celebrates and honours the frontline nuclear workers who keep the lights on and facilities operating amid the pandemic.
This day has been chosen in recognition of significant days in North American history – both the first date for a self-sustaining chain reaction and the date the first US electric power reactor was started up. Fermi’s first nuclear reactor named Chicago Pile-1 became the first to create a self-sustaining chain reaction on 2 December 1942. Also, the first US power reactor in Shippingport, Pennsylvania went critical on 2 December 1957, exactly 15 years later.
World Nuclear Energy Day 2021 is designed to celebrate the commitment of people involved in this particular energy sector who have kept the lights on, heating and cooling operational and basically the machines running at nuclear facilities, especially during the pandemic.
The theme this year is “Nuclear in the Neighbourhood”. There are many forms of nuclear-related energy that have a positive effect on people and the environment across the globe. Marking the day is meant to raise awareness of the various types of energy and the benefit they can provide.
Beyond electricity generation, nuclear energy can also be used in medical applications such as diagnoses and disease management, industrial applications like material analysis or measuring devices, and agricultural applications including food irradiation and insect control.
The www.worldnuclearenergyday.org website maintains information about the global project and connects those who organise celebrations and events around the day. The site also contains an archive of events from last year.