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Nuclear Reimagined: Artists Unveil New Images of Nuclear Power Ahead of IAEA Ministerial Conference


The winning image of the 2022 Nuclear Power Art Contest was created by Caspian Coyle, from the United States of America.

Orchids nestled by a rose-lit shore; a star birth across galaxies – these are some of the re-imaginings of nuclear power submitted in the 2022 Nuclear Power Art Contest. The images are of curiosity and wonder. The competition was launched by the grassroots, not-for-profit organisation Generation Atomic in collaboration with the IAEA and its upcoming International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century, to challenge stereotypes and show nuclear power as a keystone of the climate change solution.

The first prize was awarded to Caspian Coyle of the United States of America. Leonora Yakymashchenko of Ukraine was awarded second prize, and the third prize went to Vasily Gogidze of Georgia.

“The reality is that nuclear power is stigmatized,” said Coyle, whose winning image shows the artist holding an atom and dreaming of a future that is not dictated by fear alone. “I came up against this when I first heard about nuclear power as an environmentally sustainable energy source. But instead of letting my fear shut me down, I educated myself. When we only move from a place of fear, we lose the potential for greatness.”

The art competition received entries from 24 countries and the judges selected 20 finalists that are now on display virtually. “Many people have a view of nuclear energy shaped for decades by mushroom clouds and waste barrels leaking green goo,” said Eric Mayer of Generation Atomic. “This contest is about creating artworks that depict nuclear energy as the incredible power source it is, which can help save the world from climate change and energy poverty while preserving the environment.”

The contest prizes were sponsored by the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC), Électricité de France (EDF), and NuScale Power. Aleshia Duncan, Chair of IFNEC, said it was important “that future leaders and advocates of nuclear be true to themselves and express themselves in ways they are passionate about, and hopefully spark that same passion in others. As I always say, be fearless, and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and what you believe in.”

Finalist Miguel Trenkel-Lopez submitted artwork from the game he created, Megawatt, and shared: “We want to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists to help solve the climate crisis.”

Amber Johnson, one of the finalists of the contest will also speak at the ‘Reimagining Nuclear: Inspiring Youth’ event to be held during the IAEA ministerial conference, in Washington DC from 26 to 28 October 2022. At the event, nuclear professionals, influencers, advocates, and artists will talk about how they are changing the face of nuclear, and inspiring others to become nuclear power advocates. Johnson, who is a nuclear research reactor operator, will present her Master of Protons guitar with the lightning patterns created by shooting high energy electrons from a particle accelerator into the acrylic of the guitar’s body, “combining the power of music with the power source that can address climate change.”

The event, Reimagining Nuclear: Inspiring Youth, will take place at 17:30 EDT on Thursday, 27 October, 2022 in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, with live streaming available here. The discussion will be led by Ms Zion Lights (moderator), Science Advocate and Founder of Emergency Reactor, along with:

The IAEA’s Ministerial Conference provides a forum for ministers, policymakers, senior officials and experts to engage in high-level dialogue on the role of nuclear energy in the transition to clean energy sources, and its contribution to sustainable development and climate change mitigation. This conference also features five technical panels, and will encourage an exchange of views on the development and deployment of nuclear energy.

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