The Need for Nuclear Power
ISU Department of Physics Colloquiua, Monday, October 2

Atomic Time Machines: Back to the Future of Nuclear Power
ISU Department of Physics Colloquiua, Monday, November 27

Dr. Denis E. Beller
Research Professor, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Visiting Research Professor, Idaho State University

    Energy multiplies human labor, increasing productivity.  It builds and lights schools, purifies water and sterilizes mail, powers farm machinery and security systems, drives sewing machines and robot assemblers, powers life-saving medical procedures and research, and stores and moves information.  Billions of people worldwide who do not have access to commercial electricity for healthcare and sanitary food and water die decades younger than those in developed nations.  Thus, to improve the lives of billions of people, to provide them with advanced educations, better health, acceptable incomes, and increased longevity, we must provide them with economical and clean energy.  But impacts of our choices for energy supplies and our ever-increasing need for more electrical power have been highlighted by events in the U.S. during the past decade.  These events included a natural-gas explosion in New Mexico that incinerated twelve members of one family, rolling blackouts in California, the September 2001 terrorist attack on America, and recent escalation of prices for all energy sources.  For the sake of safety as well as energy and economic security, the world’s increased electricity supply should come from diverse sources.  Those sources include coal, oil, natural gas, hydroelectric, and non-hydro renewables (e.g., wind, solar, and biomass).  But nuclear energy is the only major sustainable energy source that can meet the growing world-wide demand for generation of clean, affordable, reliable, environmentally acceptable, safe, and sustainable electricity.  Because of the impact of growing energy demands and supplies on our environment and on world economies, many nations including the U.S. are expanding their use of nuclear energy and are planning even more expansion in the future.
    In the first of these two presentations on “The Need for Nuclear Energy,” Dr. Beller will describe why we must build new nuclear plants in the U.S. and in other nations to supply the electricity needed for a better future for billions of people.  In the second lecture he will describe the state of the nuclear power industry, both in the U.S. and the rest of the world.  These presentations will include recent improvements in safety and environmental performance, economics, and productivity.  He will also reveal current plans to recover shutdown reactors, to finish uncompleted ones, and to construct new, advanced nuclear power reactors in the U.S. and abroad, as well as multi-national plans to develop the next generation of nuclear plants and waste management and reduction systems.