John Marra, Savannah River National Lab, will deliver “Beyond Fukushima: Advanced Materials to Enable Enhanced Nuclear Power Systems,” a talk on the materials science needs in nuclear energy applications highlighted by the Fukushima disaster. Register for GOMD 2011 now.

Abstract: Increasing fuel oil and natural gas prices combined with worldwide energy demands increasing at an alarming rate and increased concerns about greenhouse gas emissions have caused many to look negatively at long-term use of fossil fuels. This convergence of factors led to a growing interest in revitalization of the nuclear power industry within the U.S. and across the globe. However, on March 11th, an earthquake centered near Japan and the resultant Tsunami caused significant damage to several reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant causing many to question the long-term future of nuclear power. As Japan and the international community begin to look at the lessons-learned from the Fukushima accident, advanced materials that eliminate or reduce the consequences of severe accidents will find increased application in advanced nuclear power systems. Ceramic and glass materials, which have long played a very important role in the commercial nuclear industry, offer some significant advantages under accident conditions. This presentation will review the sequence of events that led to the Fukushima Daiichi accident and discuss the critical role that ceramic and glass materials play throughout the nuclear fuel cycle and the critical material advancements required to enable the ‘nuclear renaissance’ in light of the recent events.

Dr. John E. Marra is Associate Laboratory Director, Science and Technology and Chief Research Officer at SRNL. He received his B.S. in ceramic science and B.A. in chemistry from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 1983, and Ph.D. in ceramic engineering from The Ohio State University in 1987. Since 1987, he has held various technical staff and management positions at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site. In his 20+ years service at SRS and SRNL, he has worked in the management and treatment of high-level radioactive waste, development and application of advanced materials, and advanced chemical process applications. He has co-authored numerous publications on the application of ceramic materials in the nuclear industry. He is a Past-President of The American Ceramic Society (ACerS). He is an ACerS Fellow and a past Chair and past Trustee/Director of the Nuclear & Environmental Technology Division.