It has always amazed me how broad and diverse the nuclear science and technology field is. It is one of the things that drew me to the nuclear business in the first place. The American Nuclear Society, with its eighteen technical divisions, embraces this diversity from accelerator applications and space nuclear to isotopes and robotics. We are truly a disparate group of engineers and scientists. Based on this, I guess I should not be surprised by the renewed interest we are seeing in uses of nuclear energy beyond the generation of electricity. In recent years, engineers and scientists from all around the world have focused on reducing the impact of electric energy generation on the environment and on finding ways to also reduce the impact of other industrial processes. What I have been seeing—including at COP27—is a renewed interest in nuclear power not only for electric generation but also for its unique capabilities in a diverse set of applications. To name only a few, I have seen strong interest in desalinization, hydrogen generation, process heat, and district heat.
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Global warming is widely recognized as an existential threat that will have horrific consequences if left uncontrolled. The intent of this article is to create a call to action for our industry to unite in promoting nuclear energy as the best way to combat this threat while investing in research for improved deployment methodologies. Together, we need to decriminalize our reputation by reversing the extraordinary and lasting fear generated by the sensationalistic and irresponsible reporting done throughout and after the Three Mile Island-2 nuclear accident. Provided is context on how the world’s current energy use will only continue to accelerate global warming. Lastly is a proposed nuclear research program to develop a method to contract 1000-MWe or larger nuclear power plants that are safe and able to compete on price.
August 20, 2014, 3:57PMANS Nuclear Cafe
The Environmental Protection Agency's proposed Clean Power Plan has gained favor with some nuclear energy advocates. An extensive analysis of the proposal, however, reveals that current nuclear generating capacity would largely suffer under the new carbon rules. In fact, the results of an evaluation performed by my fellow graduate student Justin Knowles and myself show that 15 states are actually incentivized to shut down all of their nuclear units and replace them with natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) generation. In effect, this plan allows for increasing carbon emissions; a far cry from the stated goals of the Clean Power Plan.