14 Items

The Grohnde Nuclear Power Plant in Germany.

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Journal Article - Issues in Science and Technology

A Viable Nuclear Industry

| Summer 2021

Aditi Verma and Denia Djokić call for rethinking our collective approach to the benefits and risks of nuclear technology—a call that is crucial and timely. As humanity confronts the catastrophic consequences of climate change, questions related to the viability of nuclear energy to achieve a decarbonized world abound. The authors, however, push the boundaries of the current conversation by arguing that what is required to make nuclear energy “viable” for the twenty-first century is much more than just an exercise in technological development.

Nuclear operations professionals at Idaho National Laboratory's Advanced Test Reactor routinely refuel the reactor and perform maintenance from the reactor top area.

Idaho National Laboratory via Flickr

Journal Article - Nuclear Technology

The Nuclear, Humanities, and Social Science Nexus: Challenges and Opportunities for Speaking Across the Disciplinary Divides

| Aug. 07, 2021

The central aim of this special issue is to explore how research findings and insights from the humanities and social sciences can be used to shape and meaningfully inform the work of practitioners and policy makers in the nuclear energy sector and its corresponding areas of research and practice—all of which presently, in many ways, simultaneously face several challenges and opportunities and find themselves at a crossroads.

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News

Leading Scientists and Catholic Leaders Call on President Biden to Work for a World Free of the Nuclear Threat

| May 12, 2021

A letter signed by leading scientists—including the Belfer Center's Aditi Verma—and Catholic leaders urges the Biden administration to adopt several nuclear policies, including a declaration that the US will never use nuclear weapons first, work with Russia and then with other nations to verifiably reduce nuclear arsenals, and to affirm the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as complementary to existing agreements, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

A power-generating unit control panel at Kursk Nuclear Power Plant in Kurchatov, Russia, in 2008.

Sergey Pyatakov/Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - Issues in Science and Technology

Reimagining Nuclear Engineering

| May 07, 2021

Nuclear reactors remain a technology whose risks and benefits, potential and real, are inequitably distributed in society, temporally and geographically. The fuel that powers reactors comes from mines that have poisoned Indigenous communities and Global South nations for decades. The connection between a nation’s nuclear energy capability and its possession of nuclear weapons, though once direct and now more attenuated, nevertheless persists. And finally there are the environmental footprints of the nuclear era: its wastes. Though often described by nuclear engineers as a technically solved problem, the disposition of nuclear waste remains unresolved in most countries (Finland and Sweden are exceptions), its fate an ongoing open question, particularly in the United States. However this question may eventually be answered, nuclear waste will perhaps be the most enduring vestige of the Anthropocene.

The Chooz nuclear power plant in France (Raimond Spekking/Wikimedia Commons).

Raimond Spekking/Wikimedia Commons

Journal Article - Nuclear Engineering and Design

What Can Nuclear Engineers Learn From Design Research?

| August 2021

Although nuclear reactor design is recognized as an essential skill and intellectual output of academic nuclear engineering, little attention has been paid within the discipline to the structure of the reactor design process and factors influencing design outcomes. This paper, which marks the first systematic attempt to explore the structure of the reactor design process and choices, applies methodological and theoretical tools developed within the mechanical engineering design studies field to the study of nuclear reactor design.

Damage at Fukushima Daiichi in the days after the March 2011 tsunami.

Flickr/naturalflow

Analysis & Opinions - Inkstick

Accidents, Paradoxes and the Epistemic Future of Nuclear Policy

| Mar. 11, 2021

When accidents, particularly nuclear accidents, occur, there is a desire, even an imperative almost, to identify the ‘root causes’ of that particular accident. This is not entirely surprising because such accidents cause existential crises sector-wide or industry-wide that reflect the desire to never repeat the mistakes that led to such a severe outcome. However, identifying the root causes of an accident is seldom possible. The causes of an accident are typically large in number and complex in relationship to each other.

Barakah nuclear power plant under construction in the United Arab Emirates in 2017.

Wikiemirati/Wikimedia

Analysis & Opinions - Nature

Nuclear Energy, Ten Years After Fukushima

| Mar. 05, 2021

Ten years have passed since a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, triggering the worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

The accident struck at a time of renewed hope and untested optimism surrounding a new wave of nuclear-energy technologies and the part they might play in achieving a low-carbon future. It led to retrenchment, amid fresh concerns over the technological, institutional and cultural vulnerabilities of nuclear infrastructures, and the fallibility of humans in designing, managing and operating such complex systems.

A decade after the disaster, these serious questions linger, even as the climate crisis grows nearer.

Audio

Racism and Nuclear Weapons, Part II: Katlyn Turner, Denia Djokić and Aditi Verma on the "Press the Button" podcast

| Jan. 26, 2021

Drs. Katlyn Turner, Denia Djokic, and Aditi Verma are back on "Press the Button" to further explore systemic racism in the nuclear field, and how to begin rooting it out. They also discuss the production of their recently co-authored article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, titled "A Call for Anti-Racist Action and Accountability in the US Nuclear Community."

A demonstration in support of the TPNW in Germany in January 2021.

ICAN Germany via Flickr

Analysis & Opinions - Union of Concerned Scientists

The TPNW, Equity, and Transforming the Nuclear Community: An Interview with Nuclear Scholar Dr. Aditi Verma

    Author:
  • Laura Grego
| Jan. 21, 2021

In anticipation of the entry into force of the landmark Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) on Friday, Laura Grego corresponded with Dr. Aditi Verma, a Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harvard University Belfer Center’s Project on Managing the Atom and the International Security Program.  Dr. Verma, who holds undergraduate and doctoral degrees in Nuclear Science and Engineering from MIT, is broadly interested in how nuclear technologies can be designed in collaboration with publics such that traditionally excluded perspectives can be brought into these design processes. She’s one of the five authors of the essay, “A call for antiracist action and accountability in the US nuclear community.”

Audio

Racism and Nuclear Weapons: Katlyn Turner, Denia Djokić and Aditi Verma on the "Press the Button" podcast

| Jan. 05, 2021

Drs. Katlyn Turner, Denia Djokić, and Aditi Verma join the "Press the Button" podcast for an in-depth discussion on how systemic racism in the nuclear field is produced and sustained, and what needs to happen in order to begin combating it. Drs. Turner, Djokić, and Verma recently co-authored an article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists titled "A Call for Anti-Racist Action and Accountability in the US Nuclear Community."