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Nuclear Power Report Co-Prepared by Washington and Lee Debuts Feb. 8

A new report examining the future of nuclear power in the United States, prepared by the Federation of American Scientists and Washington and Lee University, will be released on Wednesday, Feb. 8, during a luncheon in Washington, D.C.

The report, funded in part by a grant from H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest of Philadelphia, a Washington and Lee alumnus, is designed to provide policymakers, educators and the general public information on which future decisions about nuclear power can be made.

“This report does not advocate, but it does inform,” said Frank Settle, visiting professor of chemistry at Washington and Lee. “We have gathered together a strong group of experts to write chapters on their areas of expertise — from the legal issues to safety to a comparison of nuclear power to other energy sources.”

Settle and Charles D. Ferguson, president of the Federation of American Scientists, edited the report and wrote the foreword, which cites the March 2011 accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant as an event that has focused new attention on the nuclear industry.

“It is still too soon to know the full implications of this accident for the United States and the global nuclear industry,” Settle and Ferguson write, adding that the motivations for the report are still relevant regardless of the accident.

“The primary motivation,” they write, “is to educate policymakers and the public about where nuclear power in the United States appears to be headed in light of the economic hurdles confronting construction of nuclear power plants, the aging reactors (most of which were built more than 30 years ago), and the graying workforce (many of whom are nearing retirement age).”

Authors of the report’s articles:

  • John F. Ahearne, director of the ethics program at Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, a lecturer in public policy at Duke University and an adjunct scholar at Resources for the Future;
  • Albert V. Carr, Jr., professor of practice at the Washington and Lee School of Law and of counsel with the international law firm Duane Morris L.L.P., working with the firm’s energy and construction departments in developing a nuclear licensing practice;
  • Harold A. Feiveson, a senior research scientist and member of Princeton’s Program on Science and Global Security of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs;
  • Daniel Ingersoll, senior program manager for the Nuclear Technology Programs Office at Oak Ridge National Laboratory;
  • Andrew C. Klei, professor of nuclear engineering and radiation health physics at Oregon State University;
  • Stephen Maloney, a partner at Azuolas Risk Advisors and longtime energy risk analyst in oil, natural gas, liquefied natural gas and electric power;
  • Ivan Oelrich, an independent defense analyst and former vice president of the strategic security program at the Federation of American Scientists;
  • Sharon Squassoni, director and senior fellow of the Proliferation Prevention Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Prior to joining CSIS, she was a senior associate in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace;
  • Richard Wolfson, the Benjamin F. Wissler Professor of Physics at Middlebury College, where he also teaches Climate Change in Middlebury’s Environmental Studies Program.

The report is the latest phase of a project that began in 2008 as the result of an $850,000 grant for “Nuclear Education in the 20th Century” from Lenfest and has involved four organizations: W&L, the Council on Foreign Relations, the National Energy Education Development Project, and the Federation of American Scientists.

The project has had a variety of elements, including a course on nuclear power that Settle has taught at W&L every other year, workshops for high school and middle school students and teachers conducted with National Energy Education Development, and the development of a website, the Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues, which now features more than 2,700 vetted, indexed annotations to diverse references on nuclear topics.

“This has been a multi-pronged approach to helping provide greater understanding about nuclear power in the U.S.,” said Settle. “This report is the culmination, and we are indebted to Gerry Lenfest and the Lenfest Foundation. His dedication to educating the public about nuclear energy is what has made this work.

“In addition, I am very appreciative of the way that Charles Ferguson and the Federation of American Scientists has made Washington and Lee a central part of the project and of this report.”

The report will be unveiled at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 8, in Senate Meeting Room SVC 203-02 of the Capitol Visitor Center. Settle and Ferguson will be joined by several of the report’s authors, including Carr, the Washington and Lee law professor who wrote the report’s chapter on licensing and regulation.

Copies of the report are available from the Federation of American Scientist Website.

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459