The Doomsday Clock is an internationally recognized design that conveys how close we are to destroying our civilization with dangerous technologies of our own making. First and foremost among these are nuclear weapons, but the dangers include climate-changing technologies, emerging... Read More
Do you think the hands of the Doomsday Clock should be closer to or farther from midnight?
Goldberg is the special assistant to the director at Argonne National Laboratory, USA, where he is actively engaged in several international projects on the economics of nuclear energy, as well as in a key study on the economics of small modular reactors and supporting studies for the US Department of Energy's international Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation. Previously, he worked at the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as its representative on nuclear security to the National Security Council. At OMB, he helped complete several major nonproliferation agreements, including an agreement where the United States would purchase highly enriched uranium from Russia to use as nuclear fuel in its power plants. Goldberg received the Executive Office of the President's highest award for efforts to complete several major international nuclear nonproliferation agreements. He also received a series of outstanding achievement awards at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission in recognition of efforts to provide technical and economic advice to the Commission, including the licensing of the Seabrook Nuclear Station. He is senior advisor to the Academy’s Global Nuclear Future Initiative.
Nuclear power continues to offer the potential to be a major, worldwide, scalable, carbon-free energy source—if the challenges of safety, nonproliferation, waste management, and economic competitiveness are addressed.
For months, and perhaps years, lessons will be learned from the events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, which will serve as both a laboratory and a classroom. As the sequence of events leading to the accident continued through the accident response, at least one concept was made clear: When operating reactors, defense-in-depth -- the technical concept of multiple layers of safety backup systems -- must incorporate a series of active backup systems (meaning that they require human intervention) that must be operable to forestall single-point catastrophic failures.
The events at Fukushima Daiichi have greatly renewed the public focus on the safety of the existing fleet of nuclear reactors, especially as many US reactors share the same fundamental design—and safety systems—as the affected Japanese reactors.