Climate Change and the Future of Nuclear Power

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  • Publication
    Conference Poster
    (2011-11-18) Peterson, Gerald
  • Publication
    Session H: Lecture Demonstrations
    (2011-11-19) Martini, Karl
  • Publication
    Lunch
    (2011-11-19) Peterson, Gerald
  • Publication
    Session G: Nuclear Power/Climate Change – TerraPower’s Traveling Wave Reactor
    (2011-11-19) Ellis, Tyler
    TerraPower is moving forward with detailed plans for a sustainable, economic, and safe nuclear reactor. The Travelling Wave Reactor (TWR) – a reactor in the 500-megawatt electric range – uses unique core physics to initiate a breed and burn wave which can be completely sustained in fertile material. This process allows the TWR to convert depleted uranium waste into usable fuel as the reactor operates, providing a sustainable base-load power source. TerraPower is the first company to create a practical engineering embodiment of this previously studied concept thanks to a powerful advanced reactor modeling interface, developed in-house, which enables the analysis of traveling wave reactor technology in a way that has not been possible before. This presentation will provide more detail about the origins of the TWR, the project’s current status as well as some of the safety differences between TWRs and currently operating light water reactors.
  • Publication
    Session G: Nuclear Power/Climate Change – Climate v. Climate Alarm
    (2011-11-19) Lindzen, Richard S
    The underlying physics of climate contains important elements that are widely agreed on though frequently misunderstood. In this lecture, the basic physics of greenhouse warming are simply described. It will be shown that the dynamic mixing of the troposphere is essential to the mechanism. It will further be shown that there is nothing intrinsically alarming in the basic physics. Alarm depends critically on the assertion that the climate system is dominated by large positive feedbacks that greatly amplify such warming as may be due to increasing CO2 alone. The nature of possible feedbacks will be described, and the conditions for observationally determining such feedbacks will be explained. It will be seen that the feedback factors, themselves, can be subject to fluctuations, so that large positive feedbacks could occasionally lead to instability. A variety of attempts to evaluate such feedbacks will be described. Some will be shown to be clearly incorrect. The remaining approaches suggest that feedbacks are small and even negative, suggesting little basis for alarm.