Nano*High: From Atoms to Electricity: An Introduction to Nuclear Power, Its Promise and Challenge

By Brian D. Wirth

Nuclear Engineering Department, University of California, Berkeley, CA

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Within the nucleus of an atom resides enough energy to relieve our society's dependence on fossil fuels. It's been more than 70 years since the phenomenon of nuclear fission was first discovered to be a source of energy, but where are we with nuclear energy technology today? Professor Brian Wirth from the UC Berkeley Dept. of Nuclear Engineering presents the basics of nuclear science, and discusses the technological challenges involved in generating nuclear power and dealing safely with the by-products.


Brian Wirth Brian D. Wirth is a Professor of Nuclear Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a materials scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Much of his work has focused on using computation and experimentation to understand the processes that degrade materials subject to the hostile conditions within a nuclear reactor. In 2003 he was a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers for his role in promoting the safety of present and future nuclear technology.

Professor Wirth's research interests include: Developing improved understanding and models of microstructure — property relationships and microstructural evolution during processing and service in hostile environments, with an emphasis on irradiation effects on materials in current and future nuclear energy systems, using computational multiscale modeling and advanced experimental techniques.

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  • Brian D. Wirth (2010), "Nano*High: From Atoms to Electricity: An Introduction to Nuclear Power, Its Promise and Challenge,"

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