Will New Mexico Lead The Way In Nuclear Energy?
|Sandia Senior Fellow Wendell Weart examines a chunk of salt at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad. Photo by Randy Montoya
|New Mexico Tech Vice President Dr. Van Romero (left) with Adam Savage, star of the show Mythbusters. Romero will speak at the Uranium Fuel Cycle Conference and attempt to dispel some myths about nuclear energy. Photo by Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech
|An aerial view of the URENCO USA facility in Lea County, N.M.
|An artists rendering of an mPower small-scale nuclear reactor developed by Babcock & Wilcox.|
The conference features top leaders in nuclear technology, including Babcock & Wilcox, New Mexico Tech, URENCO USA, Washington TRU Solutions, Uranium Resources Inc., Energy Solutions and the U.S. Department of Energy.
The “uranium fuel cycle” begins with mining, continues with enrichment, followed by use in a reactor, and ends with processing and storage.
Dr. Van Romero, Vice President of Research at New Mexico Tech, said
“Almost the entire cycle is contained in
A new enrichment facility is now operational near
What’s missing? The small-scale nuclear power plants.
“Communities in southeast
One area the conference will focus on is the commercial deployment of small nuclear reactors in eastern
Babcock & Wilcox is the leading international company in development and deployment of small-scale nuclear reactors. The company unveiled the B&W mPower™ reactor in 2009. The mPower reactor, with its scalable, modular design, has the capacity to provide 125 megawatts to 750 megawatts of electricity for a five-year operating cycle without refueling. The reactor is designed to produce clean, near-zero emission operations, according to the company website.
Babcock & Wilcox Canada has designed and manufactured nuclear power equipment for more than 40 years, providing nuclear heat exchangers, nuclear plant services and more than 200 nuclear steam generators to customers around the world.
Following the Babcock & Wilcox presentation, Romero will lead a discussion on “Small Reactor Research and Readiness.” Then, a representative from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy will talk on the status and outlook for nuclear energy development.
“Large nuclear reactors generate about a gigawatt of power,” Romero said. “These smaller reactors are safe and easy to operate and do not need a tremendous amount of infrastructure. Canada has been operating these small reactors for years.”
The two-day conference is hosted by the
The “Uranium Fuel Cycle” conference will begin with a panel on “Uranium Mining Today: Geology and New Technology,” led by Dr. Peter Scholle of New Mexico Tech. Scholle is the State Geologist and the director of the N.M. Bureau of Geology. The conference will present improved methods for the mining of uranium. New technology that eliminates labor-intensive, high-risk activity prevalent in previous operations will be presented. Also, Uranium Resources Inc., a mining-company based in
Also on the schedule for the conference is a panel discussion on uranium processing, featuring top executives from Urenco
The final panel, “Training and Education for the Future of Nuclear Energy,” will be led by Dr. Robert Rhodes, Vice President of New Mexico Junior College, with a presentation by Energy Solutions.Online registration will open Monday, March 7, at www.energyplexnm.com or by calling (575) 397-2039. Conference information can be accessed at the
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By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech