Science Café Raleigh - A Nuclear Renaissance

Our July Science Café (description below) will be held on Tuesday 7/20 at Tir Na Nog on S. Blount Street. With the disastrous BP Gulf oil spill now continuing into its third month, every day we are reminded of the challenges our country faces with regards to our energy production and consumption. Can nuclear energy be a viable answer for some of our energy needs? Our café speaker for the evening will be Dr. David McNelis, the Director of the Center for Sustainable Energy, Environment, and Economic Development at UNC's Institute for the Environment. It should be an interesting evening for all of us to learn more about the pros and cons of nuclear power, and about how our choices about energy will impact our present and future world.

A Nuclear Renaissance

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

6:30-8:30 p.m. with discussion beginning at 7:00 followed by Q&A

Tir Na Nog 218 South Blount Street, Raleigh, 833-7795

From its development in the 1950s and '60s to the protests against its use in the 1970s and '80s, commercial nuclear energy in the United States has always been surrounded by debate. Opponents of its use have presented possible risks to the environment and human health. Meanwhile, proponents cite it as a sustainable energy source that reduces carbon emissions and eases dependence on foreign oil. In February 2010, the federal government approved a loan guarantee for the construction of two nuclear reactors in Georgia, which would be the first plants to start construction in the U.S. since the 1970s. What does this renewed commitment to nuclear power mean to our energy future? What will it mean for our environment and our health? Come to our café and join in on a discussion of a Nuclear Renaissance.

About the Speaker:

Professor David N. McNelis has more than 45 years of environmental sciences and engineering experience in federal government, university and industry settings. He served in research and research management positions with the U.S. Army, the U.S. Public Health Service and the Environmental Protection Agency; with the Department of Energy's prime contractor for the Nevada Test Site; and with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He now serves as the Director of the Center for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economic Development in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Institute for the Environment and as President of Nuclear Fuel Cycle Technologies, LLC. In addition to being a Research Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at UNC, he is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at NCSU. Currently Dr. McNelis specializes in conventional, alternative and nuclear energy systems and technologies and the nuclear fuel cycle (including partitioning, transmutation, repository capacity and nuclear non proliferation).

This café is sponsored by Progress Energy.

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Hi, I'm a UNC alum, currently working as a science writer on the other side of the country. I specialize in energy/environment and would like to learn more about this issue. Would someone be so kind as to record Dr. McNelis' talk and the subsequent discussion and send it to me? Please drop me an e-mail at if you can help out. Thanks.

By Sandra M. Chung (not verified) on 08 Jul 2010 #permalink