HMC Physics Colloquium
Tuesdays at 16:30 in Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning, Room B460
A Sustainable Nuclear Energy Future
April 14, 2009
The development of a sustainable, abundant, environmentally and socially acceptable global energy supply is the most pressing challenge of the 21st century. The magnitude and importance of the challenge to supply the world with the tens of terawatts of such power dictate that the solution, despite those who advocate for any single approach, will consist of multiple energy sources — both distributed and centralized. In this presentation the role of advanced nuclear power — the so-called Generation IV fission reactors under development today — will be discussed. Their features and performance and how they address the important issues of safety, nuclear waste, and nonproliferation will be presented. In addition, given the construction of facilities such as the National Ignition Facility (NIF) and ITER that will address the scientific feasibility of nuclear fusion, the potential role and evolution of this advanced nuclear technology in addressing the long-term global energy needs will also be discussed.