UW-Madison: Forum focuses on storing spent nuclear fuel

CONTACT: Daniel Kleinman, (608) 469-6111, [email protected]; Lyn Macgregor, (608) 263-2927, [email protected]

MADISON – Not all of the fallout from last March’s disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was radioactive. There was also considerable policy fallout, as the crisis caused many to rethink the safety of nuclear power.

German Chancellor Angele Merkel abruptly closed several aging plants and removed nuclear power from her nation’s energy plan. In the U.S., President Obama called for a “comprehensive review” of nuclear facility safety, while insisting that nuclear power would continue to play a major role in U.S. energy policy.

While nuclear power offers a promising alternative to carbon-based fuels, it carries significant risks. Among these are pressing questions about where and how to safely store spent nuclear fuel.

As part of its annual Science & the Public Series, the Robert F. and Jean E. Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in collaboration with the Wisconsin Public Utility Institute, are sponsoring a public forum to engage these questions.

The forum – which offeres audience members a chance to engage with the speakers, will be held Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m., and includes experts from around the country from diverse scholarly and professional backgrounds with a variety of views on the potential and risks of nuclear power. The forum, free and open to the public, takes place in the Howard Auditorium at the Fluno Center, 601 University Ave.

Speakers include: Cathryn Carson, associate professor of history at the University of California-Berkeley; Thomas Cochran, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council’s nuclear program; John Kotek, executive director of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future; and Chris Schoenherr, deputy secretary of the state Department of Administration.