by Will Davis, from the 2019 ANS Annual Meeting in Minneapolis
American Nuclear Society’s 2019 Annual Meeting kicked off today in Minneapolis. President John Kelly opened in the theme of this year’s meeting, The Value of Nuclear. The meeting’s host, Xcel Energy, committed to end the use of coal by 2030. Kelly pointed out, “that would be impossible without its reliable, well-run nuclear plants* right here in Minnesota.”  He added that nuclear power is America’s largest source of carbon-free energy and that nuclear energy is critical to any future reductions in the use of fossil fuels or lowering of emissions.
Kelly followed up with, “nuclear” isn’t just electric power; it’s cancer detection, food preservation, space exploration and, very likely in the future, it’ll be synthetic fuel production as well.  “In fact,” he said, “nuclear energy enables the practical deployment of a wide array of other technologies – and that’s the real value of nuclear.”
“But nuclear is facing some strong headwinds in the U.S.,” Kelly noted, describing the nuclear plants shut down over the last several years and specifically noting Pilgrim which just shut down at the end of May.  “A dozen more face this same fate,” he added.  He also remarked that only two plants are under construction right now and observed “it will be difficult to attract young engineers to nuclear energy if we are not building new plants to keep the industry healthy.”
Kelly told the packed room that “one of our main challenges is that too few know about nuclear’s incredible capabilities,” adding that because of nuclear technologies’ complexities it’s up to us – the ANS members – to help explain all of what nuclear technology does, and can do, to the greater public.
In fact, Kelly challenged the ANS membership to go forth from this week’s Annual Meeting and share something

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