The US Department of Energy considers a recent achievement “a world record” in gas reactor particle fuel use, according to Kathy McCarthy, Deputy Associate Lab Director for Nuclear Science & Technology at Idaho National Laboratory.
UW-Madison nuclear engineering students have been strongly contributing to the projects research.
Those who’ve opposed the expansion of nuclear power cite issue of hazardous waste and potential disastrous accidents at facilities. McCarthy calls the technology “very, very safe” and highly regulated.
As energy demand increases and the Obama administration pushes for cleaner forms, McCarthy says nuclear is strong option. Fossil fuels continue to make up most of the nation’s energy production with 70-percent of Wisconsin’s electricity coming from coal. McCarthy is not suggesting coal use be eliminated and notes related technology is allowing cleaner application of the fossil fuel.
Although nuclear accounts for only 20-percent of the nation’s energy it makes up 70-percent of the non-greenhouse producing energy. Meanwhile the Nuclear Energy Institute reports Wisconsin has averaged more than 1-percent growth in state product annually over the past five years. In a state affected by poor air quality in the NEI believes state will need new sources of power.