The Iowa State University professor who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry wants the U.S. to build more nuclear power plants. Danny Shechtman returned to campus Tuesday for the first time since winning the prize for his 1982 discovery of what are called quasicrystals.
Nuclear energy is one of the topics he likes to discuss now that he is getting requests to speak all over the world. “There’s no other resource, but nuclear energy, you can argue with me as much as you want,” Shechtman said. Shechtman teachers at the Israel Institute of Technology for eight months of the year and the rest of the time he spends at Iowa State as a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.
He talked about Germany’s reluctance to build new nuclear reactors and says that country will end up buying nuclear-generated power from France. Shechtman said wind power can’t generate all the energy needed in the U.S. and the country should think about new nuclear generation.
“I think that the message should come from each and every direction. Okay you don’t want to build nuclear reactors now for energy? Fine, develop them, make sure that when you decide to build them, we have the knowledge to build safe reactors, modern reactors,” Shechtman said. Shechtman said some countries have gotten over the fear of nuclear power.
He says for example, South Korea is a in leader nuclear energy after taking off and developing their own nuclear reactors. “And they live in the shadows of the atomic bombs of North Korea, they don’t mind,” he said. A proposal for building new nuclear reactors has been under debate in Iowa.
Who should pay for the reactors, not safety has been one of the key issues in that debate thus far. Shechtman also talked about the changes in his life since winning the Nobel Prize, and his support of entrepreneurship during a news conference Tuesday.