Ohio State University Physicist: Clear Case for Nuclear Power in Fighting Climate Change (Video)

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Ohio State University Physicist: Clear Case for Nuclear Power in Fighting Climate Change (Video)

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In this TEDx talk posted online Monday, Ohio State University physics Professor Gordon Aubrecht makes a compelling case for more nuclear power in the face of climate change and the existing slate of technologies to meet growing energy demand.

In the long term, he sees solar technology serving as the world's primary source of power. Until that happens, though, he said, "We cannot afford, as the human race, to continue to do this to our planet, and so we need to get to a future where we can use that solar energy. To get there we need a bridge, and I think that bridge is nuclear energy."

In addition to presenting data elaborating on the history and potential consequences of climate change, he outlined nuclear power's advantages compared to fossil fuels in terms of energy density and environmental impact.

He also noted that, if American coal plants were regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, they would be shut down for exceeding the limits on radiation releases imposed on nuclear plants.

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  • A more detailed description is in the new book, THORIUM: energy cheaper than coal, described at www.thoriumenergycheaperthancoal.com. We'll all learn more after the Shanghai conference on the subject, which starts Oct 29.

  • Solar will never become the primary source of energy for an industrial civilization. The power density is simply too low and the supply is not constant.

    Sunlight may be free, but extracting useful energy from it is anything but.

  • It is a very good Video presentation with a broad introduction on the importance of Nuclear energy.

    This needs to be followed up with another video which shall exclusively deal with all the doubts / criticisms raised by the antinuke people on a pint by point basis. It can be interactive type video to break the monotony.

  • I would have recovered a good part of the first 14min by saying... It's illogical to continue burning fossil fuels since we have a higher density and cleaner source like nuclear.  Then re-use that time to talk more about Gen-4, thorium and maybe show the cost of putting 10 billions people with high kwh usage we have in north America today on solar power.  I have seen and I did a better sales pitch on nuclear... Did not like the first 14min.

    Simon Filiatrault

  • I enjoyed your lecture, but I believe that Nuclear (possibly with fusion as you depicted. Interestingly at the time I received my PhD which dealt with plasma statistical thermodynamics of Plasmas and gravitation in one and 2 dimensions, fusion is 40 years out. %0 years later they say similar things. I believe that 4th Generation Fast Neutron Reactors will the the technology that can provide useful energy for the indefinite future. These reactors utilize, with recycling, over 98% of the energy as opposed to 2% in Gen 3 Reactors. We have enough waste U238 that these reactors could produce all the energy we need for 500 years. When the fuel is recycled the actinides stay with the fuel and are "burned" by the fast neutrons. The resultant wastes are radioactive fission waste with relatively short 1/2 lives. They are safe in less than 500 years rather than the tens of thousand years with present wastes. This is consistent with a 2008 D.O.E.report signed by all the Directors of National Labs including Dr. Chu. As a side issue the Earth's temperature has not increased in the last 17 years. The reason for the extreme death rate in Europe was the lack of Air conditioning. Hydrocarbons should be saved as feedstock for the Chemical Industry and fuels for aircraft. Burning them is not economical. Finally Fission-Fusion or Fusion reactors will modify this. Solar and possibly wind  will have a niche for 10 to 20 percent of our energy. We operated a Fast Neutron Reactor ERB 2 at INL in Idaho. To prove its  passive safety, the coolant was stopped. The reactor shut itself down. GE/Hitachi Nuclear has designed a Gen 4 reactor S-PRISM based on ERB 2. A fully licensed 200 MW module could be constructed in under 10 years for a cost of $200 Million. It would be natural to build one near INL as a cooperative effort between GE/Hitachi, INL and the State of Idaho.