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Robotics & Remote Systems
The Mission of the Robotics and Remote Systems Division is to promote the development and application of immersive simulation, robotics, and remote systems for hazardous environments for the purpose of reducing hazardous exposure to individuals, reducing environmental hazards and reducing the cost of performing work.
2020 ANS Virtual Winter Meeting
November 16–19, 2020
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Missouri S&T’s nuclear engineering program gains department status
Missouri S&T’s pool-type nuclear reactor. Photo: Sam O’Keefe/Missouri S&T
Sixty years ago, the Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T), then known as the University of Missouri at Rolla, was one of the first U.S. institutions to offer a nuclear engineering degree. Now, decades after it was offered as an option within metallurgical engineering, Missouri S&T’s nuclear program has attained new status as the Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Science Department, the university announced on October 20.
Our world is changing. These changes increasingly take the form of higher temperatures and other climate impacts, creating a global push to limit our reliance on greenhouse gas-emitting energy sources. Nuclear energy is the largest zero-carbon energy source in the United States. In combination with other low- or zero-carbon energy sources, nuclear energy offers numerous benefits that make it uniquely suited for supporting a future clean energy economy.
Many of the world’s largest short-term decarbonization efforts have been accomplished using nuclear energy. While all forms of energy production have potential downsides, nuclear energy’s reliability, density, and versatility make it well suited as a part of a global clean energy system.
No energy source is always available, but nuclear energy gets pretty close. In the United States, nuclear power plants regularly operate for more than 90% of the year, providing “baseload” clean energy. In the developing and developed world, the availability of clean energy is critical to reducing humanity’s long-term impact on the environment and population.
Nuclear power plants provide clean energy during disastrous weather events and require infrequent refueling, contributing to their high reliability. Nuclear energy’s high capacity factor, a measurement of how much of the time an energy source is generating electricity, makes it ideally suited to providing energy in situations when weather and other resources may not be reliable.
Electricity is only part of the story.
Electricity production accounts for less than 40% of the energy usage and carbon emissions in the United States. Around the world, nuclear power plants are currently used to heat homes and create fresh water in addition to providing electricity. Transportation and industrial energy use, which are heavily reliant on fossil fuels, make up half of total energy usage in the United States and will need to be decarbonized. Nuclear energy has long been seen as a viable replacement for fossil fuel-based heat in many industrial processes and can be used to create electricity and zero-carbon fuels, like hydrogen, for use in decarbonized transportation.
Responsibly making use of the abundant resources on our planet goes hand in hand with caring for the air and water we rely on. Of all low- or zero-carbon energy sources, nuclear energy is by far the most energy dense and can generate the same amount of energy more efficiently. Nuclear energy can generate the same amount of electricity as solar on a third of the land, as wind on a fifth of the land, and as hydroelectric on a twentieth of the land. Nuclear energy also uses fewer overall resources, such as concrete and steel, when compared to other low-carbon sources. Plus, the average nuclear power plant in the US is just 38 years old. This combination of low resource use and long lifetime result from the density of nuclear energy and allow for a significant contribution to decarbonization goals.
Last modified April 17, 2020, 4:17pm CDT