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Solving Energy Challenges — Lessons Learned in Nuclear

June 19th, 2013

While nuclear power has the potential to solve many of the nation’s energy challenges, the risks are still wide-ranging. The disasters at the Japanese Fukushima reactor, the Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl still strike fear in many of the people responsible for making decisions on our energy future.

Nuclear engineers remain hard at work researching ways to make nuclear energy safer and a relevant part of any energy policy. They continue to apply the lessons learned at Fukushima and Chernobyl.

Engineers Devise System to Clean Contaminated Fukushima Water

A collection of engineers from the Washington-based company, AECOM, designed a system that helped to clean the contaminated water used to cool the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima plant. Kurion, the California company responsible for the project, choose AECOM to perform the engineering portion of the work.

They were able to design, build, and ship the system to Japan in five weeks; a similar project after Three-Mile Island took nearly 18 months to fully implement. Within the year after the tsunami hit the power plant, the Kurion system has cleaned over 36 million gallons of contaminated water.

Oregon State Engineers Develop a Nuclear Reactor that can’t Meltdown

The engineering students at Oregon State University developed a reactor they believe won’t meltdown, with the added benefit of a 30-40 percent improvement in energy output resulting in only half as much radioactive waste.

“You can’t get the thing hot enough to melt the core down so you’re really limiting the potential for these types of traumatic accidents that we’ve seen in the past with nuclear power,” said Brian Woods, an associate professor of nuclear engineering at OSU. Woods hopes the technology reaches a marketable state within the next 20 to 30 years.

Engineers once again prove that their innovation and ingenuity can make the world a better place. Do you want to improve the world through your engineering career? Talk the people at The Talley Group; they are one of the leading engineering staffing companies in the Seattle area, and they can help you reach your career goals.

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