Staerkel Planetarium to Present Kaler Lecture on Microreactors

Staerkel Planetarium to Present Kaler Lecture on Microreactors

Staerkel Planetarium to Present Kaler Lecture on Microreactors




The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College is hosting a talk on nuclear microreactors for the James B. Kaler Science Lecture Series.

On Friday, November 5 at 6:30 p.m., Dr. Caleb Brooks, associate professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at the University of Illinois, will present "Rethinking Nuclear Power: Small Systems, Big Potential." Tickets for Kaler Lectures cost $2 or are free for Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium.

Nuclear microreactors are a new class of nuclear fission technology that various U.S. departments plan to deploy over this decade. As the name implies, they are much smaller than conventional reactors, but their design allows them to be factory-built and delivered to sites by truck, rail, or ship. Since they require minimal onsite construction, they can offer a plug-and-play source of energy, which is useful in locations limited by isolation or natural disasters.

Brooks earned B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Nuclear Engineering from Purdue University and began working at the University of Illinois in 2014. He established the Multiphase Thermo-fluid Dynamics Laboratory to study nuclear systems and reactor flows, and he investigates hybrid energy approaches for existing and future power systems.

The seating capacity in the planetarium is currently limited to 60 people. The Kaler Science Lectures are filmed by PCTV. After the talk, the seats will be cleaned before the 8 p.m. showing of Phantom of the Universe, a program about the search for dark matter. Admission to fulldome shows start at $5. For a show schedule or booking information, please call 217/351-2446 or visit

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