Students show how to use nuclear science for peace

Sarwat Nasir/Dubai
Filed on December 15, 2018 | Last updated on December 15, 2018 at 10.10 pm
Students show how to use nuclear science for peace
Mahdi Abdul-Jalil and Sahil Shah are part of the team that won in a recent contest of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

They won the 'protecting the environment and water resources' category in the Nuclear Science for Development Student Challenge.

A group of Dubai students has won a competition that required them to explore peaceful applications of nuclear technology.

A team made up of five students from the Universal American School in Dubai took part in the competition held by the UAE Mission to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

They won the 'protecting the environment and water resources' category in the Nuclear Science for Development Student Challenge and were awarded a fully sponsored trip to Vienna, Austria, to attend the Ministerial Conference for Nuclear Science and Technology 2018 and interact with ministers of states, scientists and delegates.

One of the team members in the group, Sahil Shah, said their winning idea included a three-step plan that could benefit the environment using nuclear sciences.

"First, our company GREENtech would partner with schools around the UAE so that they could implement environmental sampling into their curriculum. The UAE government and the Ministry of Education could help us in our efforts to incorporate IAEA-certified data sampling procedures into science courses so that students can better understand the nuclear sciences. Students will utilise the provided methods to collect environmental samples (air, water, soil), which will complement their learning and which we can later collect," Shah said.

"Secondly, we will partner with universities and the government in utilising their expertise and their equipment to analyse the student-collected samples using nuclear methods such as neutron probing and measuring the isotopic decay of said samples.

"Finally, we (GREENtech) will collect all the analysed data from the university and government labs and set up an online database accessible to everyone to simplify the decision-making process for policymakers in the UAE."

Another team member, Mahdi Abdul-Jalil, said promoting the peaceful use of nuclear power "is of significant importance" because of the climate issues the planet is facing.

Abdul-Jalil, who wants to pursue biomedical engineering, said this experience has showed him how nuclear technology can also be used to develop quality of life.

"It is obvious that our current model for the way we get energy needs a dramatic change, and nuclear power seems to be the answer. Promoting the peaceful use of nuclear power will help diminish the negative associations and aid in public acceptance, and it starts with the youth," he said.

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