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Bethany Smith: Nuclear Fuel Cycles, Energy Assessment & Environment Consequences

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Published on Apr 20, 2012

Bethany Smith is a Ph.D. Student at Vanderbilt University School of Engineering, pursuing her advanced degree in Environmental Engineering. Working under the guidance of her research advisors Dr. David Kosson and Dr. Jim Clarke, Bethany is focused on two specific research areas: (1) Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Regional Baseload Electricity Generation Options and (2) Comparative Radiological Risk Assessment of Advanced Nuclear Fuel Cycles.
Bethany is also a member of the VIEE Research Group - Vanderbilt Insitute for Energy and Environment. www.vanderbilt.edu/viee.
US electricity use is growing 1% annually, despite downturned economic activity. To meet near- and long-term future demand, utilities must plan future electricity generation portfolios now while accounting for uncertainties of ensuing impacts to the environment and regulatory changes. Bethany's research looks at how this work elucidates the connection of pollution sources to the spatiotemporal magnitude of environmental emissions and worker fatalities caused by increased regional electricity demand; thus, allowing utilities and policy-makers to properly plan and support capacity addition decisions from primary sources.
Despite the fact that radiological and chemical hazards and risks are important metrics for evaluating nuclear fuel cycle options, only economic- and nuclear material- based metrics have been used in previous studies. Bethany's research efforts will contribute to the development of a methodology and model to assess radiological and chemicals risks from five advanced nuclear fuel cycle options for evaluating future national decisions regarding nuclear energy applications.
For more information on Environmental Engineering research and graduate studies at Vanderbilt, visit www.cee.vanderbilt.edu.

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