Earth and Environmental Sciences (SEES)
New professorship for radiation expert
Fri, 12 Aug 2011 09:35:00 BST
An expert on nuclear radiation and the Chernobyl disaster is the latest member of University staff to be awarded a professorship.
Dr Jim Smith, who has spent years researching the on-going impacts of the Chernobyl disaster, is one of the world’s experts on radiation and its effects. He has advised the International Atomic Energy Agency on issues at Chernobyl, including the decommissioning of the reactor’s cooling pond for a report to be presented to the Ukrainian government on the future of the heavily contaminated Soviet power plant. This was one of many visits he has made to the Ukraine, most recently when he was accompanied by a journalist from Nature for an article on current and future research at Chernobyl.
Earlier this year his expertise was reported under headlines around the world when he was one of the science community’s clearest voices on the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan. For several weeks Jim was in demand from dozens of major news outlets, speaking to journalists from Reuters to USA Today and giving interviews to Newsnight, Channel 4 and BBC News.
Jim’s most recent paper, on the lakes in and around Chernobyl's fallout zone, coincided with the twenty fifth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster and was covered by New Scientist as well as being widely reported in Russia and Ukraine. The study revealed that radiation from the nuclear accident appears to have had no long term effect on the abundance or diversity of aquatic animal life.
Professor Smith said: "It's a great honour to be made a Professor. I'm hoping in future to apply many years of research at Chernobyl to help address some of the major problems of radioactive contamination around Fukushima."