Climate Change and the Future of Nuclear Power


The Physics Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is proud to host the 2011 joint Fall meeting of the New England sections of the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers and the Society of Physics Students, on November 18-19, 2011.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Rutherford’s discovery of the nucleus. He thought it would be “moonshine” to think that we would ever be able to extract energy from the nucleus. Now nuclear power plants provide 20% of the electricity in the U.S. without emitting climate changing greenhouse gases as do fossil fuel fired plants. But considering the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, and Germany’s decision to drop nuclear power after 2022, what will be the future of nuclear power in the U.S. and the world? Are there new designs and procedures that will ensure safe operation? These are among the questions that this meeting will address.

The conference is supported by the Five Colleges Consortium (Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst), the University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Physics and the College of Natural Sciences.

Questions from the media should be directed to the chair of the organizing committee, Prof. Gerald Peterson (413-545-2008).

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2011 Fall Meeting