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Professor Soon-Heung Chang meets with Bill Gates and discusses possible collaboration
Professor Soon-Heung Chang from the Department of Nuclear and Quantum Engineering, KAIST, who is also the president of Korea Nuclear Society (KNS), met Bill Gates, the co-founder and former chief executive officer (CEO) of Microsoft, on August 16, 2012 and discussed ways to cooperate for the development of a sodium-cooled fast reactor (SFR), a next generation nuclear power reactor. According to Professor Chang, Bill Gates was amazed at Korea’s successful bids for nuclear power plants in the United Arab Emirates, even though Korea was a latecomer in the field of nuclear power. Bill Gates also showed a keen interest in Korea’s low electricity rates. Gates focuses on solving fundamental problems in order to help improve the quality of life for humanity, rather than short-term temporary solutions, through infrastructure development such as energy. Particularly, he considers nuclear power as one of the most effective ways to supply clean energy which can provide electricity at a low cost while keeping carbon dioxide emission levels much lower than fossil fuels. Bill Gates is a primary investor for an energy company called “TerraPower” based in Bellevue, Washington. TerraPower develops and commercializes nuclear power technology for a traveling wave reactor (TWR) that is designed to use spent fuels, i.e., depleted uranium, and runs technically “forever” because once fueled, the reactor does not need to be refueled for over 50 years. TerraPower’s TWR is to use metallic fuel, and Korea is the only country that currently develops SFR (KALIMER 600) using metallic fuel. “Korea has an outstanding supply chain for the entire lifecycle of a nuclear power station from equipment manufacturing to operation,” said Professor Chang, while emphasizing the synergistic effects of forming partnership between Korea and TerraPower. Professor Chang emphasized that Korea should create an opportunity based on lessons learned from the Fukushima crisis and actively move forward to achieve its leading position in the field of next generation nuclear reactors. He said that cooperation with Bill Gates will be a significant step towards the development of next generation nuclear reactors. About Sodium-cooled Fast Reactor (SFR) Sodium-cooled Fast Reactor (SFR) is a next-generation nuclear power reactor that will use spent fuels from conventional reactors. Arrangement of a fuel recycling system in conjunction with currently-developing pyroprocessing technology would enable U-238, which makes up over 99% of natural uranium, to be used as a nuclear fuel. This would greatly reduce the toxicity and volume of spent fuels by up to 1,000 times and 100 times respectively when compared to existing reactors. This is truly a breakthrough innovation in spent fuel disposal and recycling.
Professor Jang Soon Heung Appointed International Consultant of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Task Force
The Japanese government appointed Professor Jang Soon Heung (department of Nuclear and Quantum Engineering) as the International Consultant to the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Task Force. Professor Hatamura Yotaro of the Tokyo University is the head of the task force and is tasked with finding out the cause and extent of damage of the disaster and minimize social cost and expansion of damage along with prevent a similar disaster from occurring. The International Consultants will independently advise and look over the findings of the task force. The members include: Professor Jang Soon Heung (Professor of KAIST), Richard A. Meserve (Carnegie Research Center Director/Former Chairman of Nuclear Regulatory Commission), Andre-Claude Lacoste (Chairman of French Nuclear Safety Regulatory Commission), and Lars-Eirk Holm (Secretary General of Sweden Health and Welfare).
KAIST, CT&T Develop Multi-Energy Hybrid Electric Car
KAIST exchanged a memorandum of understanding for the development and production of a multi-energy plug-in hybrid electric car (ME-PHEV) with CT&T, an electric car maker, on Monday (June 30). The ME-PHEV is a new vehicle model incorporating a small electric generator and solar energy as power source with conventional plug-in hybrid electric vehicle with rechargeable batteries. The new vehicle has been jointly developed by a research team led by Profs. Soon-Heung Chang and Yong-Hoon Chung, at the department of nuclear and quantum engineering, KAIST, and CT&T. The ME-PHEV features an increased mileage, improved battery durability and better passenger convenience compared to conventional hybrid vehicles. The joint developers have applied for domestic and international patents. Prior to the MOU signing ceremony, Prof. Chang, who is also a vice president of KAIST, had a trial ride of the vehicle for the media at the KAIST campus. "Major car makers of the world currently focus on developing hybrid electric vehicles with battery and internal combustion engine. Compared to these cars, the ME-PHEV offers advantage in terms of reduced air pollution and lowered production costs," said Prof. Chang. Under the agreement, CT&T will put the features of ME-PHEV into e-Zone, the company"s city-class, low-speed electric vehicle model, with a schedule go into commercial production of the car next year.
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