Dr. Chao is the author of a book entitled “A Complete Perspective of Nuclear Energy” recently published by Nova Science. Currently, he is the Chief Scientist and Vice President of Nuclear Resilience Group Inc., responsible for the intellectual property of novel equipment designs for mitigating station blackouts and for enhancing the fuel cycle by achieving more effective waste transmutation. He has been a Chair Professor at Tsinghua University Beijing and a Visiting Professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from MIT and a master’s degree in Nuclear Physics from the University of Texas Austin. He is also a registered Professional Engineer in Mechanical Engineering in California. His career began with the Reduced Enrichment Research and Test Reactors (RERTR) program. He was the author of COBRA-3C/RERTR. He managed for 23 years Nuclear Analysis Methods at EPRI, comprising reactor physics, thermal hydraulics, severe accidents, and abnormal occurrences and accidents analysis. He was also a manager for issue resolutions to significant safety questions, that include scram reduction, pressurized thermal shock, flow instability, positive moderator temperature coefficient, station blackout, design basis evaluation, steam generator tube rupture, and the Chernobyl accident. Dr. Chao was the project manager for severe accident analysis tools, the MAAP4 and MAAP5 codes, which are now used worldwide. For these codes, he was responsible for the code development, validation, delivery, maintenance, QA, marketing, funding, contract requirements, and user group activities. Other tools he has been responsible for include major thermal hydraulics and reactor physics analysis tools: RETRAN02, RETRAN03, CORETRAN, VIPRE, GOTHIC, COMMIX, ANISN, SIMULATE-E, CASMO, and CPM-3. He has also reviewed PRA projects, material damages caused by radiation, safety analyses of new designs, MHD, and fusion reactor blanket designs. As an editor for the journal Nuclear Engineering and Design of Elsevier for 17 years, he reviewed more than 3,000 manuscripts submitted for publication, covering a complete spectrum of nuclear engineering subjects and topics. Dr. Chao has been the Secretary for the Thermal Hydraulics Division of the American Nuclear Society and a recipient of an American Nuclear Society Presidential Citation. He is the founder of the NUTHOS (Nuclear Thermal Hydraulics, Operations, and Safety) series of international conferences and served the roles as the Technical Co-Chair for NUTHOS-1, General Co-Chair for NUTHOS-4, Technical Co-Chair for NUTHOS-5, Technical Co-Chair for NUTHOS-9, and General Co-Chair for NUTHOS-10.
The theme of this presentation is to illustrate “A Complete Perspective of Nuclear Energy.” A complete perspective should include the history and the prospect of all relevant subjects on nuclear energy. Since 1980, many safety issues were surfaced and resolved, including Pressurized Thermal Shock, Anticipated Transient without Scam, and many others. The technical natures of Steam Generator Tube Rupture and Scram Reductions were properly addressed. Yet, Station Blackout remained an alarming scenario and indeed caused a catastrophe at Fukushima in 2011. Probabilistic Risk Assessment became a useful tool for evaluating plant safety. The nationwide effort of Independent Plant Evaluation for all US plants during the 1980s and 1990s turned out to be a fruitful exercise. The TMI-2 incident offered an opportunity for improving safety standards by requiring natural circulation capability for PWRs. The Chernobyl accident led to the ultimate shutdown of all RBMKs due to their intrinsic unsafe property of positive temperature coefficient. The accident also reveals the lack of safety culture and the missing adherence to the operating procedures. The Fukushima accident demonstrates the catastrophe was caused by the lack of safety culture, poor understanding of the severe accident scenarios, and the missing operational guidelines for managing severe accidents. During the last decade, the US repository Yucca Mountain failed to finish the obligated tasks due to political conflicts. The US DOE now adopts the consent-based approach to resolve the gridlock circumstance following the successful strategies on the repository projects in Finland and Sweden. The reprocessing in the US is not moving forward due to several reasons: abundant uranium mines were discovered and the need for recovering plutonium from spent fuels no longer an urgent mission. Studies show that new approaches to fuel cycle strategies could be useful for resolving technical, economic, and political issues related to nuclear wastes and the management of spent fuels. Fast breeder reactors ceased to operate due to technical difficulties and the diminishing need to breed plutonium. Yet, new designs of fast reactors remain an option for their capability of consuming high-level wastes while producing power. Increasing uranium enrichment to 20% through the HALEU endeavor is welcome and expected practice in the near future to furnish the required fuels for use in the new designs of reactors, for better fuel economy and efficient transmutation of nuclear wastes. In recent years, the small modular reactor designs have become a popular choice for their low demand of a heavy upfront investment, better control of manufacturing quality, and construction costs. All vendors have announced their blueprints for their showcase SMR designs to address the flourishing market. The technical basis for the limits on the radiation doses received by a biological entity for healthy considerations has been revisited. The potential health benefits of low-dose radiation have received enough attention to warrant more thorough studies. Decarbonization considerations may be implemented sooner than expected. Instead of taxing the carbon-producing power plants or machines, credits of cash values have been awarded to nuclear power plants in a few U. S. states indicating the carbon taxing mechanisms may be more effective with such practices. Many states changed their position toward nuclear power. A few days ago, California’s prominent stateswoman Dianne Feinstein openly announced that she has changed her mind and is now supportive of nuclear power. Meanwhile, legislation is being discussed in the state assembly for the life extension of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California. Nuclear power for space travel has gained its momentum by revitalizing the research, development, and design of specific reactor types with practical objectives. In recent months, government agencies have awarded contracts to commercial entities for designing nuclear devices for purposes of space travel. ITER is about to finish with a mission of demonstrating energy break even. The commercial version of the gigantic facility would follow as the next task. NASA announced the success of the Lattice Confinement Fusion, leading to alternative energy sources for space travel and an energy production device on earth. Currently, 60,000 cargo ships are powered by carbon-producing machines and are candidates for converting to nuclear-powered vessels. The concept of a floating nuclear power plant has gained attention in recent years as such portable nuclear power plants could be tugged to the seashores of developed countries for economic development. Such an arrangement could address many related issues, including the upfront investment for power plants, nuclear fuel and waste handling, proliferation concerns, educational qualifications, training for expertise, and local environmental requirements. The landscape for the development of nuclear energy has turned into nothing but a flourishing scene.