Interview with Professor Rodney Ewing – Department of Geological Science and Nuclear Engineering at the University of Michigan
On November 2, 2006, I chatted with Professor Rodney Ewing of the University of Michigan. Dr. Ewing has been studying methods for disposal of used nuclear materials for more than 25 years.
He made a recent speech to the Geological Society of America in which he framed the choice of proceeding with nuclear power as follows:
“Plutonium versus carbon—which would you rather have as your problem? I don’t have the answer, but the points I’m raising are ones I think people need to be considering.”
Prof. Ewing’s other main issue is that he thinks that the scale of nuclear power development necessary to make a significant contribution to alleviating greenhouse gas production is rather awe inspiring.
According to his calculations, there would need to be as many as 3,500 new nuclear power plants built between now and 2050. Though he acknowledges that nuclear power developments have a role to play, he is concerned about the monetary and intellectual resources that would be required for this huge expansion. Of course, the prospect of such a large number of new nuclear plants sounds pretty terrific to me!
This show is even longer than our normal show; Dr. Ewing provides some excellent and patient explanations for his points of view, while I think he might even have learned something from mine. I hope you enjoy the show.