PHYS 310 Sp19 Wk6

Nuclear Power

Monday’s Class : Assessment #4

Before Class:

  • Please see the video about Nuclear Power
  • See the video: How about the nuclear power we have yet to control: Fusion
  • Please see the slides.
  • Please see this video / read the article. Subramanian The numbers in this paper are important. Please know them.
  • Please have a look at the graphs at OurWorldInData. Make sure you can answer questions about CO2 emissions.
  • Please see calculation on heat of combustion vs GHG warming… it takes a few months for GHG to warm the earth as much as the heat of combustion. This problem was on PS#5. I posted these calculations on the main class website.
  • Some short solutions posted for PS#5, on main class website.

During Class

  • Assessment #4

After Class Consider taking a fellowship working with very inspiring people in SLO’s effort to decarbonize. Please understand that their efforts are the most ambitious in the world. It will be an interesting adventure.

Wednesday’s Class

Before Class

  • Please see video Nuclear Safety
  • Please see slides for videos on nuclear.
  • MUST READ! this short article from Forbes about deaths per unit of electricity generated. Which technology is the least, the most dangerous? Where do deaths from rooftop solar come from?
  • Please see this video about our project developing an improved cookstove for implementation in Uganda. If you are interested to know more, you can read the entire scientific paper here.
  • Please see video about Nuclear Waste, Cost
  • Read about the latest and perhaps last (?) US nuclear reactor to be built.
  • Can Thorium Save the Global Nuclear Power Industry? Why is Thorium better than Uranium? If Thorium is better, then why are we using Uranium?
  • Watch this video by a pro-nuclear activist. We will discuss this in class. 
  • Fusion again? I’ve often proclaimed that fusion (like the fuel cell car) has been, is today, and will always be the energy technology of the future. However, There are people that know way WAY more than I do about fusion who disagree. Please please listen to this MIT pod cast with Dennis Whyte of MIT’s Plasma Physics and Fusion Center. I did my senior project on a small tokamak at MIT’s Plasma Physics Center. After listening to the pod cast, I want to know, who do you agree with more: the leading expert in fusion, or me (dropped out of a fusion program after 2 years at PPPL)… and why? What might I be missing? What might Dennis be missing? There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, but the issues it brings up are important ones.
  • Assessment #4 solutions posted.
  • PS#6 posted on main class website


During Class

  • Debate – Pro or Anti Nuke? Fusion? Please come prepared to defend your point of view.
  • What’s a Delay Neutron? What are they good? Bad? important?


Before Class

During Class

After Class

  • Update your website to include technical information about what you are doing.
  • Start your second self intervention: Empathy Self-Intervention. Recognize when you’ve “otherized” someone – established them as “the other” and see how this gives you the ability to dismiss the validity of their perspective. Then endeavor to “walk a mile in their shoes”, see their behavior as something that you do, see the world through their eyes. Recognize how they are the same as you, or where you have similarities.