Leonard Koch

A retired, "Pioneer", Leonard is probably the oldest continuing supporter and participant in the development of the original concept of nuclear power. This concept was conceived by Enrico Fermi and his brilliant colleagues in the late 1940's and provided the basis for the original "scientific concept" for nuclear power: the need to use fast neutrons and to recycle the fuel. From the beginning he was directly involved in establishing the feasibility of meeting those requirements.

He joined Argonne National Laboratory in early 1948 and participated in the development, design, construction and early operation of EBR-l as the Associate Project Engineer.

He was responsible for the development, design and construction of the EBR-ll as the Project Manager. He wrote the book, "EBR-ll", published by the American Nuclear Soceity, which describes that activity.

Leonard received his B.S in M.E. from Illinois Institute of Technology and his MBA from the University of Chicago.

Twenty five years after ending his employment as Vice President of Illinois Power Company he continues to believe that Fast Breeder Reactors with Fuel Recycle are the energy source of the future.

He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society. He received the Walter H. Zinn Award from the Power Division of the ANS and the Global Energy International Prize from Russia.

 

Ref. Wall Street Journal June 2, 2010, Pages A1 and A18.

Ms. Rebecca Smith wrote about Atomic Waste describing the problem accurately and in great detail. She recognizes that "after 3 decades and more than $10 Billion in expenditures the Energy Department was giving up on it's only candidate for permanent storage", Yucca Mountain. She very accurately describes how utilities have solved this problem temporarily by using casks but there are already 14,000 metric tons of "waste" in such storage and 49,000 metric tons being readied for such storage. Unfortunately, this is the "stuff" we were going to store for thousands of years while we "hope" that these casks will be acceptable for 60 years (they are approved for 20 years now).

She fails to mention that this "stuff" has energy value, the equivalent of several thousand barrels of oil PER POUND!

This "spent nuclear power reactor fuel" is the more difficult "nuclear waste" but the other one "depleted Uranium" is more valuable and is much more available. It contains the energy equivalent to about 5,000 barrels of oil per pound, we (the U.S.) have about A MILLION TONS of this "waste" in storage in large drums in storage yards; it is only mildly radioactive. The U.S. has literally the equivalent of TRILLIONS OF BARRELS OF OIL in storage. The rest of the world has more!

The best way to use it is in "SO-CALLED FAST REACTORS". Apparently, Ms.Smith(and the Wall Street Journal)isn't aware that the United States invented them! The first nuclear power plant to generate electricity was such, by the U.S. We were the World Leaders in Fast Reactor development and technology. We are not anymore! Russia probably is and is selling them internationally (to China and India). Many other countries are in various stages of development of this technology. It has never been "so-called". It is our responsibility to see that it is not done here.

It is our responsibility to ensure that the Wall Street Journal and others are aware of the energy options we have and that we use them intelligently. We now understand that all energy sources include a degree of risk including drilling for oil under a mileof water.