Newsletter of the Science Council for Global Initiatives - February 2014

Can We Solve the Energy Problem Without Nuclear Power?

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) held a symposium on February 15 addressing the question of whether greenhouse gas emissions from global energy production can be cut by 80% by 2050. Dr. Richard Lester, chairman of MIT's Department of Nuclear Engineering, delivered an insightful examination of whether this can be accomplished without nuclear power. He has been kind enough to allow us to post the entirety of his talk on our website for the benefit of our readers. His perspicacity in elucidating the issues will likely be appreciated by those who are serious about the interlocking issues of climate change and energy production. Click here to read the entire speech.

Tom Talks at MIT

SCGI's proposal received the most votes in the MIT Climate-CoLab climate solution contest (a big Thank You! to all who voted). SCGI President Tom Blees spoke about nuclear energy at the two-day MIT climate conference. He also spoke at the Center for Global Energy Policy event at Columbia University with Nobuo Tanaka, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency; Dr. Yoon Chang, Integral Fast Reactor expert; and Dr. Ray Hunter, Department of Energy's senior adviser to the State Department. It was a very informative and productive gathering.

Radiation: Fears and Facts


Fukushima heightened world fears of radiation. The media continues to encourage this fear of the unknown. The following brochure and You Tube presentations are very helpful in understanding radiation.

Keeping it Cool!

In the wake of the Fukushima experience, the risk of a complete station blackout has led to questions about the safety of various reactor designs. Nuclear power plants around the world are being re-examined to assure that such a situation cannot be repeated. Backup power systems must be safely sited in areas unthreatened by natural disasters that might impact the plant itself.
Nevertheless, passive safety systems that allow for a complete station blackout without damage to the reactor core are increasingly being incorporated into new designs. Even the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR), a GE design that was first built in Japan in the mid-Nineties, incorporated such concepts to allow all electrical power and water to be withheld for up to 36 hours before having to be concerned about core damage. The AP-1000, currently being built in China and the USA, brings a considerably longer safety margin, and the soon-to-be-licensed ESBWR is even substantially better. The PRISM reactor-the design that SCGI has been favoring for deployment-takes it to a whole other level of safety.

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