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November Meeting / Technical Program

The Role of Nuclear Power in our Energy Future

Prof. Digby D. Macdonald

Dept. Materials Science and Engineering
Penn State University

Also ASM Trustee 2007 to 2010

Nov. 12, 2008

Symposium Mediterranean Restaurant

125 South Centerville Road, Lancaster, PA

Schedule: 5:00: Executive Committee meeting (all invited)
6:00: Social
6:30: Dinner
7:45: Speaker

Dinner: choice of entrees (select one when you register)
  Sirloin Steak, 12oz. includes one starch and vegetable
  Chicken Amber (over Capellini pasta)
  Seared Scallops Provencal, includes starch and vegetable
  (all come with house salad, bread, soft drink)

  Cost: Members and guests: $15.00, Retirees: $10.00, Students:$5.00

Reservations: Deadline: Monday, November 10, 2008
Contact: Steve Baumann at Alcoa Mill Products   Phone: (717) 393-9641 ext:1889

The Role of Nuclear Power in our Energy Future

Upon the introduction of commercial nuclear reactors in the 1950s the power produced was billed as “being too cheap to meter”. Indeed that promise was not made in jest, as the cost of uranium was low, the risks were not fully appreciated, nuclear weapon proliferation was considered to be an academic interest, and the irrational objection to nuclear power had not yet developed. Over the past sixty years, the cost of uranium has risen dramatically, the risks have been illustrated by Chernobyl and to a lesser extent by Three Mile Island, the nuclear weapons club has increased dramatically with even small, impoverished nations joining the ranks, and the anti-nuclear lobby has not waned in its objections. Notwithstanding these factors, nuclear power has demonstrated itself to be a technical marvel; a system that is capable of producing more fuel than it consumes, rendering the fuel resources to be almost limitless, and which is accessible by rich and poor nations alike. With the eventual introduction of fusion power, many, but not all of the objections to nuclear power are likely to disappear, but the best estimates put the large scale use of fusion reactors many decades away. In this presentation, I will review the various types of fission and fusion reactors that exist, the technologies upon which they are based, and the prospects for their use in the future energy economy. In particular, I will identify and review the technical challenges that exist in the development of safe, economic fission and fusion reactors that will make their proper contributions to the World’s energy supply.

About our Speaker: Digby D. Macdonald

Professor Macdonald is Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Director of the Center for Electrochemical Science and Technology at Penn State University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the Royal Society of New Zealand (these are the “National Academies” of those countries). He is also a Fellow of NACE international, The Electrochemical Society, ASM International, the International Society of Electrochemistry, the Corrosion Institute, and the World Innovation Foundation.

Prof. Macdonald has won many awards for his research. Among them are the W.B. Lewis Lectureship from Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. in recognition of his “contributions to the development of nuclear power in the service of mankind”, the Carl Wagner Award and the H.H.Uhlig Award from the Electrochemical Society and the Rodney Willis Whitney Award from NACE International. He is a Khwarizmi International Laureate in recognition of his contributions to fundamental science.
Prof. Macdonald’s research interests include: passivity and passivity breakdown in metals, deterministic prediction of corrosion damage, advanced batteries and fuel cells, nuclear power generation, chemistry and electrochemistry of supercritical aqueous systems and electrocatalysis.
Professor Macdonald was inducted as a Trustee of ASM International in 2007 and will serve through 2010.