Sandia Labs expert to speak at UTSA April 19 on post-Fukushima nuclear energy

Japanese nuclear plant explosion

Fukushima nuclear energy plant explosion last month

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(April 15, 2011)--As part of UTSA Earth Week 2011, the UTSA Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute and the San Antonio Clean Technology Forum will host a lecture, "A Quake Felt Round the World: Fukushima and the Future of Nuclear Energy, Globally and Locally," featuring Andrew Orrell, director of nuclear energy and fuel cycle programs at Sandia National Laboratories.

>> Free and open to the public, the lecture will be 4-5 p.m., Tuesday, April 19 in the Frio Street Building Riklin Auditorium (1.406) on the UTSA Downtown Campus. A 15-minute Q&A session will close the event.

Before last month's 9.0-magnitude earthquake in Japan, a subsequent tsunami and an ensuing nuclear emergency at Fukushima, nuclear energy was gaining greater commercial and public support, both internationally and domestically. However, the events at Fukushima Daiichi have tempered that support, leaving the leaders of nuclear programs compelled to reflect on their nuclear energy ambitions.

Orrell will review the pre-quake global and domestic nuclear energy forecast, summarize the factors that helped alleviate or exacerbate the Fukushima situation, and examine the potential impact of Fukushima on the future of nuclear energy in the United States.

Orrell's career spans 20 years at Sandia National Laboratories and today focuses on the interlinking technical, program and policy elements of nuclear waste management and nuclear energy. He is responsible for a broad range of research and development initiatives involving the nuclear fuel cycle.

He directs programs focusing on advanced nuclear energy systems studies, small modular reactor systems, nuclear reactor severe accident consequence analysis, and nuclear transportation and storage, amongs. Additionally, he serves regularly as a government and international programs consultant for nuclear energy issues such as repository development and licensing, national policy, transportation programs and public confidence building.

Sandia's work on severe accident analysis associated with nuclear facilities is widely recognized by the international community and has been ongoing for more than 30 years. Much of this work has been in collaboration with Japan and many other countries and involves coupling large-scale experimental programs with modeling and simulation. From 1998 to 2008, Sandia Labs was cited in technical nuclear engineering literature more than any other Department of Energy laboratory, largely because of the significance of this work.

>> Learn more at the UTSA Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute website and the San Antonio Clean Technology Forum website.

>> For the schedule of the April 18-22 events, visit the UTSA Earth Week 2011 website.