Princeton University, Spring 2011
Interest is growing worldwide in nuclear energy as a low-carbon energy source that could help limit climate change. But nuclear energy is not just another energy source; it can facilitate the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and the national prestige that has become attached to nuclear energy programs at times trumps the economics and energy-security arguments that shape energy policy. At the same time, public opinion on nuclear energy remains highly volatile, partly due to concerns about nuclear reactor accidents and long-term radioactive waste disposal. This course will explore current debates about nuclear energy and assess the prospects of the current “nuclear renaissance.” We will briefly review the basic science and technology and current uses of nuclear energy, looking in particular at its economics and arrangements to prevent its use for weapons purposes. We also will analyze various policy proposals to facilitate the safe and rapid global expansion of nuclear energy.
Topics in Energy Engineering, Economics, and Policy
MSE 527 / MAE 537 / WWS 586g
Frank Felder and Alexander Glaser
Rutgers and Princeton University, Spring 2011
This course explores in-depth several important energy topics that integrate engineering, economics, and policy. It is designed for doctoral students in the natural sciences, engineering, and social sciences that have been exposed to a wide-range of energy topics, perhaps as part of a National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Program (IGERT), and are interested in investigating further some of those topics. After reviewing important analytical tools used in engineering, economic and policy evaluations, the course covers the engineering, economics and policy of the electric power grid and global energy integrated energy assessment modeling. Students will engage in computer modeling to understand and explore future global energy and environmental problems.
Draft Syllabus (Revision 0)
Science and Technology of Nuclear Energy: Fission and Fusion
AST / MAE / PHY 309
Alexander Glaser and Robert J. Goldston
Princeton University, Spring 2011
Concern about climate change is creating the potential for a “renaissance” of nuclear fission power. The international ITER fusion experiment is being built to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion. This course will introduce the science and technology of fission and fusion. We will also cover societal risks, such as nuclear weapons proliferation, and societal benefits, such as reduced CO2 emissions. To make the course more accessible, technical material will be reduced from last year.
Draft Syllabus (Revision 0)
Princeton University, Fall 2010
Interest is growing worldwide in nuclear energy as a low-carbon energy source that could help limit climate change. In addition to the 30 countries that are already using nuclear power today, more than 60 other countries are currently considering nuclear power. In the United States, where there has not been a new nuclear power plant ordered in three decades, the present and the previous Administrations have been undertaking serious steps to support the construction of new nuclear reactors. At the same time, President Obama and other world leaders have endorsed the vision of a nuclear-weapon-free world, and there are even calls for an agreement to eliminate all nuclear arsenals by 2030.
Nuclear-energy use for peaceful purposes and military purposes are linked, yet, there is virtually a complete disconnect between the nuclear energy and security debates. Enrichment plants that make low-enriched uranium for power-reactor fuel can be converted to produce weapon-usable highly enriched uranium, and spent fuel from reactors contains significant amounts of plutonium, which could be extracted and used for weapons. International safeguards on nuclear facilities and materials are seen as inadequate even to manage some of today’s proliferation problems, such as Iran’s nuclear program, but possession of civilian nuclear power would shorten the time required for a country to break out of a disarmament agreement and produce a number of nuclear weapons.
This task force will seek to help policymakers understand better the connections between the energy and security debates, and to develop new policy proposals designed to provide confidence that nuclear-energy use does not obstruct possible disarmament initiatives. Task force recommendations will be in the form of a report to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Selected Lectures and Presentations
Global Fissile Material Report 2008 — Fissile Material (Cutoff) Treaty: Scope and Verification(with F. von Hippel, Zia Mian, and Jean du Preez), United Nations, First Committee, New York City, 10 October 2008.
The Threat from Weapon-grade Highly Enriched Uranium, Panel Discussion: Getting Bomb-Grade Uranium Out of Civilian Hands: Beyond the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, Royal Norwegian Embassy, Washington, DC, 8 October 2008.
Fissile Material (Cutoff) Treaty: Scope and Verification (with R. Rajaraman, A. Meerburg, S. Johnson, and F. von Hippel), IAEA General Conference, Vienna, Austria, 1 October 2008.
Preventing Nuclear Weapons Proliferation: The Fissile Material Dimension, Future of Nuclear Energy Conference, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Chicago, IL, 26 September 2008.
Nuclear Forensics: Capabilities, Limits, and the “CSI Effect” (with Tom Bielefeld), Science and Global Security Conference, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 24 July 2008.
A Fissile Material (Cutoff) Treaty and Its Verification: Progress Report from the International Panel on Fissile Materials (with Frank von Hippel), United Nations Office at Geneva, Palais des Nations, 2008 NPT Preparatory Committee Meeting, in cooperation with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), 2 May 2008.
Toward a Global Cleanout of Nuclear Weapon Materials: Nuclear Weapon and Fissile Material Stockpiles and Reductions, United Nations, New York City, 19 October 2007.
|Detection of Special Nuclear Materials, Lecture for Topics in International Relations: Protection Against Weapons of Mass Destruction (WWS-556d), Princeton University, 16 April 2007.|
|Dynamics and Control of Infectious Diseases, Lecture for Topics in International Relations: Protection Against Weapons of Mass Destruction (WWS-556d), Princeton University, 9 April 2007.|
The Gas Centrifuge and Nuclear Proliferation, Iran, the West, and the Region, The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination (LISD), Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton, 11 March 2007.
Making Highly Enriched Uranium, Lecture for Topics in International Relations: Protection Against Weapons of Mass Destruction (WWS-556d), Princeton University, 26 February 2007.
|Satellite Imagery, Lecture for Topics in International Relations: Protection Against Weapons of Mass Destruction (WWS-556d), Princeton University, 19 February 2007.|
|Effects of Nuclear Weapons, Lecture for Topics in International Relations: Protection Against Weapons of Mass Destruction (WWS-556d), Princeton University, 12 February 2007.|
Weapon-Grade Plutonium Production Potential in the Indian Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor, Princeton University, 13 December 2006.
Brave New Nuclear World: The Expansion of Nuclear Power and its Relevance for the Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Conference on the Future of Nuclear Energy, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and the University of Chicago, 1-2 November 2006, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
The Role of Neutron Scattering Simulations in Identifying Optimum Strategies to Convert Research Reactors to Low-Enriched Fuel, International Workshop on Applications of Advanced Monte Carlo Simulations in Neutron Scattering, 3-4 October 2006, Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), Switzerland.
Life in a Nuclear Powered Crowd, Presentation at the “New Approaches to Cooperative Security” Workshop, Wye River Conference Center, Queenstown, Maryland, 14 June 2005.
Neutronenphysikalische Berechnungen zur Umstellbarkeit von Forschungsreaktoren auf niedrig angereichertes Uran, Presentation in the Plasma Physics Seminar Series, Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung (GSI), Darmstadt, 23 November 2004.