Nuclear Energy for the Future – UC Irvine Nuclear Group – Speaker: Mikael Nilsson
As we project into the future it is clear that the demand for energy, and especially clean energy, will rise. Concerns about rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere have turned many eyes back again towards nuclear energy. The constraints on expanding hydroelectric power due to the intrusion of natural rivers, and constraints of various kinds that exist for wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal power leave us with one viable option. Fusion power is still many years away. Today, fission-based nuclear power, along with hydroelectric power, are the only non-fossile fuel alternatives to producing base load of power around the clock. In the last few years the interest in nuclear energy has increased not only in the US but in other parts of the world. In spite of unfortunate incidents, issues with nuclear power plants and their siting appear to be solvable with new generation and future generation reactor designs, and better attention to siting designs. One issue that clearly needs research and development is the handling of nuclear materials both in preparation of new fuels and in handling spent fuels. The result is that the demand for personnel with the right type of training is increasing. At the University of California Irvine our Nuclear Group has, in the last few years, focused on training and research in the critical associated fields of radiochemistry and nuclear chemical engineering. In my presentation I will present some of the research initiated and carried out in the group, specifically under my supervision, over the last few years and how it fits into the grand scheme of the nuclear fuel cycle.
Mikael Nilsson joined the department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at UC Irvine as an assistant professor in January 2009. He received his MS (Civ.Ing.) in Chemical Engineering in 2000 at Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden) and a PhD in Chemical Engineering with emphasis on Nuclear Chemistry in 2005 from the same institution. From 2006 to 2008 he was a post-doctoral researcher in the Chemistry department at Washington State University. The work in his group focus largely on chemical separation processes for metal ions in used nuclear fuel for recycling and reuse of material. The work spans fundamental chemical interactions and thermodynamics to process flowsheets and equipment development.