Lititz Rotary Cog
April 24, 2012
President Stephanie rang the meeting to order at 6:00 PM. We opened with the pledge of Allegiance (facing the flag in Lititz Square). After singing “My Country Tis of Thee” Roy Brubaker lead us in prayer followed by the 4-Way test. The dinner, including Pulled Pork sandwiches and Baked Mac & Cheese, was especially appetizing.
Mike Eisman, a guest from the Myerstown Rotary, was introduced. The 50-50 winner was our guest speaker, Susan Hess. So, in a true spirit of nepotism, Sam Hess led the singing with “I’m looking over a 4-leaf clover”; and, “R-O-T-A-R-Y.” Chuck Stiefvater gave us a summary report on the recently completed Travelogue program. Ironically, in spite of an unusually mild and dry winter, snow actually depressed turnout. However, we did exceed our target on revenue ($16,200 net). Chuck’s overall assessment was “it was a pretty good year.” He then reminded us that next year will be the 50th anniversary of the program and that we can expect “a great year!” Next year’s focus will be the USA! Chuck also complimented Pete Reyburn for upgrading the Travelogue support staff by sending his wife, Heidi, when he was unable to attend.
Dennis Stuckey introduced our Student of the Month: Ian Grey. Ian’s high school focus has been math & science. He is a member of the Honor Society and the Civil Air Patrol. He will attend Penn State in the fall studying Aeronautical Engineering.
The evening’s program was titled “Nuclear Energy: Path to Energy Security.” A proud Sam Hess introduced the speaker (his daughter Susan Hess). Susan is PR Director for AREVA, the largest supplier of nuclear products and services in the world. They are involved in mining; fuel assembly; reactor design and maintenance; fuel recycling; and, returning plants to greenfield condition.
Susan laid-out the priorities for nuclear energy—safety is the top priority. She provided statistics that make a very compelling case for the use of nuclear energy. For example, nuclear is responsible for 20% of the energy in the US. Drilling down further, nuclear represents 72% of our low carbon energy production. Currently there are 104 nuclear power plants in the US located in 31 states (most on the east coast). Four new plants are being built in South Carolina and Georgia. Activity is finally regenerating since the Three Mile Island accident more than a generation ago.
Two kinds of reactors are used for energy production, 1) pressurized water and 2) boiled water. TMI is type 1 and Peach Bottom is type 2. Unfortunately, the disaster at Fukushima, Japan is having a major impact on attitudes toward nuclear programs. Their plant was designed to withstand an 8.2 quake, but it got a 9. It was designed to handle an 18’ tsunami and it was barraged by 7 tsunamis, the highest being 49’. A total power failure disabled critical systems leaving fuel rods exposed. This resulted in a hydrogen explosion—the nuclear fuel never exploded.
Although AREVA did not design the Fukushima facility they did have personnel on site and were able to provide assistance—humanitarian, equipment and supplies. Now the reactor is stable. The cooling system is operating and they are preparing the plant to be decommissioned. We need to focus on the fact that the Fukushima disaster was caused by extreme natural conditions. We also need to bear in mind that we demand a lot of energy in this country:
We don’t want brownouts
We need security
We want clean air
We demand a clean source of energy
And, our energy needs are growing
We also need to remember that the nuclear energy industry creates jobs, in many ways, including the recycling of spent fuel. 96% of used material can be recycled for further use. The remaining 4% can be “vitrified”--encased in glass like lead crystal—which renders it completely safe. Every country in the world with nuclear plants recycles the material, with one exception—the US.
In summary—nuclear is a vital part of our energy future.
Club members complimented Susan for her glowing report on the state of the nuclear industry. President Stephanie adjourned the meeting at 7:20