SCK•CEN maintains a neutral position in the social debate on nuclear energy and other nuclear applications. It is up to society to decide to what extent these technologies should be exploited to provide solutions for future challenges.
and social/scientific research
SCK•CEN has a long standing tradition of philosophical and social/scientific research. We study the social, political and ethical aspects of the use of nuclear technology in our society. On the one hand we focus on what it means to manage existing nuclear applications responsibly. However, we also consider and debate what a correct justification method for nuclear technology in our society could be, and what the implications would be for scientific research and policy.
SCK•CEN has an ethical charter that serves as a guide that shows how we, as an institution and as an individual contributor, should manage a technology which entails unavoidable risks and has many opposing views in our society. That is why we consequently encourage critical reflection of our own position as a scientific institute and the role of each scientist and policy maker in this process. We are convinced that critical research starts (and ends) with critical self-examination.
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Periodic population surveys
Irrespective of the future choices made by society, questions surrounding nuclear safety, radiation protection and waste management will remain high on the agenda.
In order to keep our finger on the pulse of society (to 'test the barometer') we organise periodic large scale population surveys. Do people feel they are sufficiently protected from the risks of radioactivity? To what extent are they interested in nuclear science? Is there a difference in attitude to nuclear energy between younger and older people? The response to these important questions enables us to provide better information and involve the population more in our future research.
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