Since 2008 ROSATOM has been creating a network of public outreach centres in locations where nuclear facilities are in operation or under construction. These are multi-purpose communication platforms designed to inform people about the use of nuclear power. Each centre is a cutting-edge multimedia hall offering 3D panoramic projection, computer graphics and stereo sound that make visitors plunge into virtual reality. Visitors are invited to watch a 45-minute film about nuclear power that includes a number of interactive quizzes. The centres hand out booklets, educational literature and souvenirs.
In addition to their regular operating schedule, these centres host a variety of events (conferences, workshops, exhibitions, etc.) for schoolchildren, students, teachers, journalists, public figures, and nuclear industry workers. Admission is free of charge.
With the first centre having opened in Tomsk in 2008, the network currently counts 19 information centres in Russia and abroad that have been visited by over 2.7 mln people. The centres are located across Russia, in Astana (Kazakhstan) and Minsk (Belarus). in Astana (Kazakhstan), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Mersin (Turkey), Minsk (Belarus), Hanoi (Vietnam).
How does an atomic energy information center look like? Take the Minsk Atomic Energy Information Center as an example which has been inaugurated four years ago under the auspices of the Ministry of Education of Belarus and ROSATOM.
Here, the classes are joy and entertainment. The center is a sample of how most complex information may be made attractive for learning. A number of visitors are the proof of that; it turns out that each month 1,000 to 1,500 visitors come to the center. Not only from Minsk. The people come here from different corners of the country. Certainly, they are not only children. Teachers come here, for example, to see the center’s capabilities and then to make field classes on the subject.
Do you often measure your radiation level by a dose meter? There is such an opportunity in this center. Tatiana Shyk, head of the atomic energy information department of the Republican Innovation and Technical Creativity Center, explains: “Certainly, it’s not a medical tool, we do not diagnose people. But it helps us show that radiation is a natural phenomenon, it’s intrinsic in all objects and subjects on the Earth, including humans.”
Moreover, you may visit a multimedia cinema while being in the center. Themes of 3D shows also are of special focus. These are use of nuclear technology from medicine, plant selection, and search systems in airports to radioactive waste management. The center has a lot of enticing tabletop games. All of them deal with nuclear.
Education of the population in nuclear power, nuclear safety and career guidance of high school students aimed at gaining engineering and technical specialties are among the main tasks of the center. But on the whole, they are much wider, Tatiana Shlyk is sure. “We do not agitate for atom. We popularize science on a whole. We say that it’s important to do science, it’s interesting and in fashion. We are for smart youth,” she says.
By the way, it is free to visit the center and take part in events, because the center is a non-commercial organization.