Professor Aidan Byrne
Dean of Science
The accident at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor 25 years ago was a turning point in the history of nuclear power that saw the near abandonment of nuclear as an energy source in many countries. In the time since the world has begun exploring energy sources that are low in CO2 emissions and nuclear power has returned as an option. The present situation in Japan provides a fascinating example of our response and preparedness in dealing with a major nuclear accident and it raises the question as to whether the nuclear industry will survive the challenge. The talk will compare and contrast the accidents at the two facilities, examine what we have learned over the past 25 years and explore the likely lessons.
Professor Aidan Byrne completed a BSc and MSc degrees at the University of Auckland before commencing a PhD degree at the ANU in 1981. Following the completion of the degree in Department of Nuclear Physics he held positions with the University of Melbourne and spent over two years in Bonn, Germany as a von Humboldt fellow. He returned to the ANU in 1989 as a Research Fellow and in 1991 commenced a joint appointment between the Department of Physics, in the Faculty of Science and the Department of Nuclear Physics, Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering. He was Head of the Department of Physics from 2003 to 2007. He is currently the Dean of Science at the ANU and the Director of the ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences.