Nuclear Power Generation:
Concepts, Challenges, and Materials
Sunday May 3, 2009, 8:00 am - 6:00 pm, Houston, Texas
SynposisAs a result of rising petroleum prices, increasing energy demand, concerns over energy security, and initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,, there is a wider acceptance of nuclear power as an important component of the nations energy mix. There is also a developing general sense that the utilization of nuclear power for the generation of electricity will grow, perhaps dramatically in the not to distant future, resulting in a “renaissance” of nuclear power. Even with license renewal at existing reactors, the United States will need to build 20 to 25 new nuclear plants by 2030 to maintain nuclear energy’s market share at 20 percent of the U.S. electricity supply.
It is widely viewed that such an expansion of nuclear power would have positive energy, economic and environmental benefits. However, there are concerns about the economic competitiveness and safety of nuclear power, and the risk of proliferation and terrorism.
Objectives:This workshop will introduce the participant to: nuclear power technology, including the basics of nuclear power generation; the designs of past, present and future nuclear reactors (including their strengths and weaknesses); the goals that motivated the various plants designs; the challenges that must be met to extend the life of the fleet of operating power reactors; and finally the challenges that must be met to build new power reactors that have lower operating costs, are more reliable, safer, and efficient than currently operating power reactors. Fulfilling these challenges presents to scientists demanding questions, especially in the area of materials. These questions will be discussed. Finally, the workshop will also touch on questions of safety and proliferation. Planned topics include:
- Nuclear power in the US and the World – past and present
- The technology of nuclear power plants – past, present and future
- Technology and challenges for next generation nuclear reactors:
- It’s the materials!
- Materials for nuclear power
- Material degradation in nuclear reactors
- Materials and nuclear waste
- Challenges for life extension for operating power reactors
- Nuclear = acceptable energy? Safety, proliferation, and terrorism
Who Should Attend
These introductory - to intermediate - level courses are suitable for: Managers, Practicing Engineers, Industrial Scientists, on a decision-making level, Executives seeking strategic planning insight, Policy Makers with some technical background, and Academic Researchers developing a strong clean technology program.
Thomas E. Blue is a professor of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at The Ohio State University, and the Director of the OSU Nuclear Research Reactor. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1978, after working for two years on the Light Water Breeder Reactor Project at Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory. He has been a Professor at OSU, since 1984. He has been the principal investigator for more than 30 projects and co-PI of 13. He has authored more than 60 Archival Journals papers and 150 refereed proceedings. He has served as advisor for 48 Masters students and 10 Ph.D. students. Dr. Blue is a fellow of the American Nuclear Society.Wolfgang Windl is Associate Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at The Ohio State University and works in the area of Computational Materials Science. Among others, his fields of expertise include radiation effects in materials, electronic devices, and process simulations for electronic and structural materials. Previously, he spent four years with Motorola, ending his tenure as Principal Staff Scientist in the Digital DNA Laboratories in Austin, TX, where he was working in the area of multiscale modeling of semiconductor processing. Before that, he held postdoctoral positions at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Arizona State University. He received his diploma and doctoral degree in physics from the University of Regensburg, Germany. Among others, he received 1998 and 1999 Patent and Licensing Awards from Los Alamos National Laboratory, the 2004 Nanotechnology Industrial Impact Award from the Nano Science and Technology Institute, and was in 2006 the first recipient of the Fraunhofer-Bessel Research Award for Applied Research, jointly awarded from the Fraunhofer Society and Humboldt Foundation in Germany. He has delivered more than 70 invited talks at conferences, workshops, and university colloquia and has been teaching numerous workshops and short courses on both sides of the Atlantic.