Monday, March 28, 2011

UA public forum on Disaster in Japan

The unfolding drama in Japan continues to grip our attention with continuing reports of trace amounts of radiation being detected from the Fukushima reactors. The University of Arizona is holding a public forum Tuesday evening a6 6:30 pm at Centennial Hall on the UA campus, with a panel "to provide expert perspectives on the science behind the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crises that have engulfed Japan."

Panelists include:

* Susan Beck, UA professor of geosciences

Beck will provide an overview of the earthquakes and tsunamis that are at the core of Japan's catastrophe. Her research involves using broadband seismology to understand mountain belts, earthquakes and faulting. Current studies include earthquakes and Earth structure associated with subduction zones and strike-slip plate boundaries.

* Eric Betterton, UA professor and head of atmospheric sciences

Betterton will describe the transport of radioactive particles in the atmosphere and the possible consequences for the western U.S. Betterton's research focuses on atmospheric and environmental chemistry, including aerosols, cloud condensation nuclei, frozen solution chemistry, microphysical and chemical properties of winter precipitation, urban air quality, and groundwater remediation.

* Paul Bonavia, chairman, president and CEO, UniSource Energy Corp.

Bonavia will examine the unfolding consequences of this disaster on energy policies worldwide. Prior to joining UniSource Energy in 2009, Bonavia served as Presidents of the Utilities Group and Commercial Enterprises at Xcel Energy. Bonavia serves on the Dean's Board of Advisors of the UA College of Science.

* Dr. Baldassarre Stea, UA professor and head of radiation oncology

Stea will provide an understanding of the effects of radiation on human health. Stea is board-certified in radiation oncology and treats patients with lung cancers, melanoma, brain tumors and pediatric cancers.

* John Williams, UA professor of nuclear and energy engineering

Williams will provide an insider's perspective on the challenges presented by the nuclear reactor technology. As director of the UA Reactor Lab, Williams coordinated the recent decommissioning of the University of Arizona's 52-year old TRIGA nuclear reactor.

[adapted from the UA press release]

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