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Seminar: Nuclear Research in Switzerland: The Future, the Phase-Out and Its Legacies
February 14 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Dr. Andreas Pautz
Director of Nuclear Energy and Safety Division at Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI)
Professor at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Physics Section
Switzerland has decided to abandon the use of nuclear power, and to aim at a sustainable energy future based on a combination of hydropower, solar and geothermal energy, as well as energy imports. However, the current fleet of five nuclear power plants will continue operating as long as it fulfils the strict safety criteria stipulated by the Swiss nuclear regulatory. With the Swiss utilities targeting plant life times of 60 years (and possibly beyond), the shutdown of the last Swiss power plant will likely not happen any time before 2044. On the other hand, the country is at a very advanced stage of identifying a site for the deep geological disposal of its radioactive waste, which will be located in a 700-1000 meter deep layer of Opalinus clay in the Jurassic mountains. The licensing of such a disposal site does not only require state-of-the-art analytical and experimental methods, but is also a complex political process calling for strong stakeholder involvement. The Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) is a key player as the Swiss Center of Excellence in nuclear research, and hosts within the Nuclear Energy and Safety division around 200 researchers, one of the finest Hot Laboratories of Europe, and several state-of-the-art thermal hydraulic test facilities. In this presentation, I will give an overview of PSI’s special role in accompanying the Swiss nuclear phase-out with a focused research program, its contribution to the management of the nuclear legacies, and will shed a light on how to maintain the high level of nuclear skills, education and competences for the generation to come.
Andreas Pautz studied physics at the universities of Manchester (Theoretical Physics) and Hannover (Experimental Quantum Optics) and received his PhD in Nuclear Engineering from Technical University of Munich in 2000. He worked as reactor physicist and nuclear safety expert for several years at TÜV Nord (Hannover), before joining AREVA NP in Erlangen as scientific software developer and then group leader for Areva’s next generation reactor core simulator. In fall 2007, he joined Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit (GRS), the German Technical Safety Organization (TSO) for Nuclear Safety, at first as head of the reactor physics section, from 2010 onwards as director of the reactor safety research division. In 2012, he was appointed Full Professor for Nuclear Engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), as well as head of the Laboratory for Reactor Physics and System Behavior (LRS) at the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI). Since February 2016, he leads the Nuclear Energy and Safety division at PSI.
Room 1202 Burlington Labs