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Expert on nuclear and renewable energies to speak at National Academy of Engineering Seminar Series

Friday, Sept. 19, 2014


MANHATTAN — Nuclear energy now provides roughly 11 percent of the world's electricity and 39 percent of global nonfossil-fueled electric power generation. However, in spite of its impressive safety record since its commercial use began in the 1950s, some level of opposition to nuclear power exists nearly everywhere it is used.

Way Kuo, professor and president of City University of Hong Kong and graduate of Kansas State University, will present "Critical Findings on Nuclear and Renewable Energies: Reflections on Rainbow Energy, Environmental Protection and Safety in the Wake of Fukushima Nuclear Accident" at the Kansas State University College of Engineering National Academy of Engineering Seminar Series. His address, at 2:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 3, in Fiedler Hall Auditorium, is free and open to the public. It will highlight Kuo's expertise in nuclear safety and the reliability of electronics systems.

"Risks are associated with any electricity generation source," Kuo said. "Use of coal, for example, has caused more human and environmental damage than nuclear energy. Yet as most renewable sources are still intermittent and not suitable for generating baseload power, loss of nuclear power would mean an increase of fossil fuels, leading to additional greenhouse gas emissions. We need to strike a balance between energy needs, economic growth, and safety and sustainability."

Kuo completed his graduate work at Kansas State University, earning both master's and doctorate degrees in industrial engineering in 1977 and 1980, respectively. He was elected to the College of Engineering Hall of Fame in 2001 and is a past member of the dean's advisory council. His bachelor's degree is in nuclear engineering from National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan.

Kuo is the author or co-author of nine books on reliability, education and nuclear safety. His most recent title, "Importance Measures in Reliability, Risk and Optimization," addresses ways to design and enhance reliability of modern resources such as nuclear power systems. His popular science book, "Critical Reflections on Nuclear and Renewable Energy," has had broad impact — having been translated into English, Japanese and French, with negotiations underway for publication in other languages.

Before beginning his tenure at City University in Hong Kong, he served on the senior management team at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and as a distinguished professor and dean of engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He has been department head of industrial engineering, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and holder of the Wisenbaker chair of innovation at Texas A&M University, and was also a professor at Iowa State University where he was appointed as a Fulbright scholar.

Renowned for his work on designing reliability in electronics systems, Kuo has received numerous professional awards, including an honorary doctorate from Beijing Institute of Technology granted by the State Council of the People's Republic of China. He is frequently invited to speak around the world on topics related to education, reliability, energy and research. He serves as editor-in-chief of IEEE Transactions on Reliability, the leading journal in reliability research.

"It is a privilege to expose our students and faculty to an alumnus of Way Kuo's stature," said Noel Schulz, associate dean for research and graduate programs in the College of Engineering at Kansas State University. "To hear firsthand from a researcher and educator of such worldwide renown is a special opportunity for the entire university and community."

The National Academy of Engineering Seminar Series, established in 2013, is sponsored and funded by the K-State College of Engineering's Office of Research and Graduate Programs. Its goal is to bring academy members to campus to speak and meet with faculty and students.

The mission of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshaling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology. Members are elected by their peers — current National Academy of Engineering members. Election to membership is one of the highest professional honors accorded an engineer, with only approximately 2,000 members and foreign associates across all the engineering disciplines.


Noel Schulz


National Academy of Engineering Seminar Series


Way Kuo is Weigh Quo

Written by

Mary Rankin

At a glance

Kansas State University alumnusWay Kuo, professor and president of City University of Hong Kong, will be the speaker for the College of Engineering's National Academy of Engineering Seminar Series. His address will be at 2:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 3, in Fiedler Hall Auditorium.