I’ve had a 71-year career in nuclear energy and have seen many setbacks but believe strongly that nuclear power can provide a clean, reliable, and relatively inexpensive source of energy to the world. AMA
I’ve been involved in nuclear energy since 1947. In that year, I started working on nuclear energy at Argonne National Laboratories on safe and effective handling of spent nuclear fuel. In 2018 I retired from government work at the age of 92 but I continue to be involved in learning and educating about safe nuclear power.
After my time at Argonne, I obtained a doctorate in Chemical Engineering from MIT and was an assistant professor there for 4 years, worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for 18 years where I served as the Deputy Director of Chemical Technology Division, then for the Atomic Energy Commission starting in 1972, where I served as the Director of General Energy Development. In 1984 I was working for the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, trying to develop a long-term program for nuclear waste repositories, which was going well but was ultimately canceled due to political opposition.
Since that time I’ve been working primarily in the US Department of Energy on nuclear waste management broadly — recovery of unused energy, safe disposal, and trying as much as possible to be in touch with similar programs in other parts of the world (Russia, Canada, Japan, France, Finland, etc.) I try to visit and talk with people involved with those programs to learn and help steer the US’s efforts in the right direction.
My daughter and son-in-law will be helping me manage this AMA, reading questions to me and inputing my answers on my behalf. (EDIT: This is also being posted from my son-in-law's account, as I do not have a Reddit account of my own.) Ask me anything.
EDIT 1: After about 3 hours we are now wrapping up. This was fun. I've enjoyed it thoroughly! It's nice to be asked the questions and I hope I can provide useful information to people. I love to just share what I know and help the field if I can do it.
EDIT 2: Son-in-law and AMA assistant here! I notice many questions about nuclear waste disposal. I will highlight this answer that includes thoughts on the topic.
EDIT 3: Answered one more batch of questions today (Monday afternoon). Thank you all for your questions!