Oct. 11, 2007

When it comes to generating electricity,
which is worse: nuclear or carbon waste?

Renowned scientist Rodney Ewing will talk about the hard choices of energy production at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, in SMU’s Crum Auditorium in the Collins Executive Education Building.

Ewing puts a 21st century energy dilemma into stark terms: For those who advocate a nuclear energy solution, Ewing notes that it would take at least three times the number of current nuclear power plants to make a significant dent in greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.  But the tradeoff would be tens of thousands of metric tons of nuclear waste every year, including plutonium, which raises fears about the potential for diverting some of it toward the manufacture of nuclear bombs.

The real question, Ewing says, is: "Plutonium versus carbon—which would you rather have as your problem? I don't have the answer, but the points I'm raising are ones I think people need to be considering."

The title of the lecture by Ewing, the Donald R. Peacor Collegiate Professor of Geological Sciences at University of Michigan, is “Nuclear Fuel Cycle vs. Carbon Cycle: Plutonium vs. Carbon.”

He is a fellow of the Geological Society of America and the Mineralogical Society of America. He is traveling to SMU as the Department of Geological Sciences’ Hamilton Visiting Scholar.

Ewing's research combines topics and techniques in materials science and mineralogy with a special interest in applications to the nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear waste management. Recent areas of research include: radiation effects in glasses; radiation induced amorphization in crystalline ceramics; the crystal chemistry of actinides; and the identification and paragenesis of the corrosion products of spent nuclear fuel.

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, please call 214-768-2750.



Media Contact:
Levente Smith
tele. 214-768-7650