This paper and commentary were first published in the Imperial Engineer, Issue Fifteen, Autumn 2011. The Imperial Engineer is the periodical magazine published for members of The City & Guilds and The Royal School of Mines Associations at Imperial College, London University, UK. This paper, together with discussion and our comments, is republished here with permission, March 2013. Copyright remains with authors Bill McAuley and Robin Grimes.

Editor's Note | Fukushima - by Bill McAuley and Robin Grimes
The Earthquake and its Immediate Aftermath  | Present Status | Root Causes | Then and Now
Health Scare Exaggerated | We Need Nuclear | 1000 Deaths | Editor's Postscript

Fukushima - by Bill McAuley and Robin Grimes

The welcome absence of international press attention has permitted the Japanese authorities and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to return to their work in relative peace and quiet. The following paper and comments, compiled by managing editor Bill McAuley with the help of Robin Grimes (director of Imperial's Centre for Nuclear Engineering), reviews the Japanese nuclear power failure event and its long-term impact on the continuing development of nuclear energy. They also summarize the way Imperial continues to contribute to the debate and the cross discipline research that is taking place.

As professor of Materials Physics and director of the Centre for Nuclear Engineering, Robin Grimes (pictured) is a driving force behind Imperial's courses in Nuclear Engineering, in addition to his research responsibilities. He is also currently specialist advisor to the UK House of Lords' science and technology select committee while they deliberate what nuclear research is needed through to 2050.

Robin Grimes

The Centre for Nuclear Engineering brings together a number of disciplines including Mechanical, Chemical and Materials engineering, but also specialist modeling and radio ecology people, to create one of the most comprehensive research and teaching groups in Europe dedicated to nuclear engineering and science. Greater cross-disciplinary awareness of the research interests and capabilities of Centre members encourages collaboration and supports joint teaching activities.

Imperial College has a long history of nuclear research and teaching, dating back to the immediate post-war period. However, the present undergraduate nuclear engineering courses were started five years ago and now graduate between 20 and 30 students a year. There is also a new MSc in Nuclear Engineering that graduated students for the first time in 2010.

Editor's Note  Editor's Note

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