One of the major controversies amongst climate activists is the extent to which nuclear power should be one component in the search for greenhouse gas free energy. At this meeting Dr. Charlie Sinclair* will explore this question.
All SOCAN meetings are open to the public.
Dr. Charlie Sinclair has B.S. in Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. in Physics, from Cornell in what was at the time called “high energy nuclear physics”, or “particle physics”. His career included stints at Tufts University, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, the “Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility, or CEBAF, now known as Jefferson Lab., and Cornell University.
In the context of nuclear power’s current role, Sinclair writes: “With climate change emerging as such a clear cut problem, and having such a short term time scale for its resolution, I believe that nuclear power is truly essential, though I know that far from everyone shares this view.”
For more information on this program, and some background information, please visit: The Nuclear Conundrum Post
Presently fossil fuels provide well over 90% of the world’s total primary energy, with nuclear about 5%, and hydroelectric and all renewables about 2%. The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has concluded that to avoid the worst consequences of the climate changes already underway, to say nothing of the ocean acidification issues, it will be necessary to completely eliminate adding all greenhouse gases to the atmosphere by the end of this century. It is exceptionally difficult to construct a plausible scenario in which conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy completely displace this enormous amount of energy on the required time scale, and in the face of growing populations and economies. While nuclear power will not be a complete solution to the problem, it does offer the prospect of providing very large quantities of electricity with no greenhouse gas production.
I will review the arguments that have been made against nuclear power, the present status of nuclear power in the world, and describe possible futures for this important and clean energy source going forward. In particular, thorium fueled nuclear power, as opposed to our present uranium fueled reactors, considerably reduces many of the concerns about nuclear power.