With commitments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, anxiety about the cost and continued availability of hydrocarbon fuels, and the questionable adequacy of renewable alternatives, interest in nuclear power has revived in the United Kingdom. Groups opposed to it have understandably raised objections, some based on valid concerns, some on misunderstandings of the science and technology involved.
In the belief that the essentials are comprehensible to almost anyone prepared to consider them, here is an account of the basic principles and of some particular aspects with which I have been professionally involved; also a position statement for the Sellafield Churches’ Forum of which I have been a member for the past five years.
More technical information can be found in "The Nuclear Fuel Cycle" (Oxford University Press, 1996), probably easier to obtain from an on-line bookseller than from the actual publishers. Owing to various difficulties several slips remained in the publication, and an errata sheet is given here.
Peter Wilson, Seascale, October 2008
An Introduction to Nuclear Science and Technology
The Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, UK
November 24-25, 2009
Three of the lectures on this course were given by Peter Wilson in the form of Powerpoint presentations available below.
Advanced Issues (a personal perspective)
A Powerpoint viewer can be downloaded from HERE