JECE’s Fall Panel is fast approaching. Scheduled for November 12, 2010 in Classroom C of Sydney Lewis Hall, the event’s theme is “Nuclear Power in a Green Age,” and it boasts a fascinating panel of speakers.
Nuclear power’s relevance has never been more prevalent, as increasingly, we strive to protect the environment through the utilization of reliable, carbon-free energy sources. Complicating matters, the public has plenty of rightful concerns about nuclear power. Many are skeptical of nuclear power’s ability to produce safe energy, while others, feeling trapped by a difficult economy, worry about burdensome startup costs.
Let’s face it: we want to “be green,” but also save green. The initial monetary costs associated with nuclear energy can be off-putting, especially in areas where low-cost fossil fuels are already plentiful. Increasingly, we are facing the prospect of balancing the need to economically meet energy needs against environmental considerations. We as a society will have to make hard decisions.
Nuclear power offers the possibility to provide much-needed energy, but also carries with it the seed for potentially dire environmental consequences. One specific concern for nuclear energy production is what to do with its leftover waste products. Reprocessing spent fuel rods back into the nuclear cycle has been proposed as a means to reduce the dangerous waste remaining from nuclear energy production.
But is the option of spent fuel rod recycling a viable solution that could propel nuclear power to the forefront of a comprehensive green energy plan? What are the risks? Our panel of speakers will take the hard issues head on and discuss the potential challenges of including nuclear power in an environmentally friendly energy portfolio.
Our opening speaker will be Washington and Lee University Law Professor Al Carr, who will discuss nuclear licensing and its implications on the future of nuclear power usage. Washington and Lee University Chemistry Professor Frank Settle will speak about the nuclear fuel cycle itself, processing, fabrication, burn-up, and radioactivity. The Nuclear Energy Institute’s Mike Bauser is an expert with extensive experience with nuclear litigation and the nuclear waste debate. After the panelists speak on their areas of focus, there will be a question and answer period for audience members to ask the experts anything they like. The Fall Event speaker panel will no doubt spark a very interesting discussion and we are very excited and look forward to hearing them on Friday, November 12.