Roger Whiting, Ph.D.
May 18, 2017
REPLACING CUBIC MILES OF OIL
The world currently uses 3.5 cubic miles of oil (CMO) equivalent of energy, and by 2050 demand for energy is expected to rise to 6 cmo. The demand for electricity is expected to more than double by then, and this need cannot be met through measures promoting conservation and improving energy efficiency alone, nor can renewable sources of power like wind and solar meet this demand. What is needed is a scalable source of carbon-free electricity, and nuclear power can deliver that, but concerns over plant safety, public health, long-term storage of waste, and cost make it unlikely that new nuclear power plants will be built in the US. Getting the public to embrace nuclear power is difficult, and I will address those concerns and show that most of them are misplaced or exaggerated. Moreover, newer designs of nuclear plants that are walk-away safe and can even use the nuclear waste as fuel obviate those concerns.
About the speaker
Café Scientifique is a place where anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. The Café provides a forum for debating science issues outside a traditional academic context. We are committed to promoting public engagement with science and to making science accountable - all spoken in plain English. There is no admission charge to attend our events. Building on its great success outside the United States, Café Scientifique Silicon Valley is the first such Café on the West Coast. We meet monthly to discuss a variety of science topics.