a group of people speak on a panel

NERS hosts William D. Magwood and Jeff Harper

Magwood gave a talk on the future of nuclear energy and also joined our NEDHO Diversity Panel with Harper.

NEDHO Diversity Panel

William D. Magwood, Director-General of the Nuclear Energy Agency, and Jeff Harper of X-energy visited NERS this week to share their expertise and experiences on our diversity panel which we presented with the Nuclear Engineering Department Heads Organization (NEDHO). The other panelists were NERS Ph.D. student Londrea Garrett, who is studying laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, and NERS Prof. John Foster, who researches plasma physics, space propulsion, and the environmental applications of plasmas.

four people speak on a panel

The group discussed their experiences in STEM careers. They shared their career paths and achievements and encouraged students to pursue STEM fields to address global challenges. Their discussion also touched on the importance of funding for nuclear engineering research and the impact of diverse representation in positions like the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

a man speaks in front of a screen that reads "nuclear in Emissions Reduction Pathways"

The Next Nuclear Energy Era: New Opportunities and Old Challenges

Magwood’s talk discussed the current state of nuclear energy, emphasizing the possibilities and Obstacles. He covered international collaboration through organizations like the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Energy Agency, stakeholder engagement, and shifts in European countries’ attitudes towards nuclear energy.

Magwood stressed the need to triple nuclear energy production by 2050, citing a study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He noted improvements in the long-term operation of nuclear plants globally and challenges in constructing new plants, particularly concerning the global supply chain.

The talk explored small modular reactors (SMRs) and their potential to replace fossil fuels in challenging industries. Magwood discussed the complexities of using nuclear power in marine shipping and evaluated the technical readiness of advanced nuclear reactors, introducing the SMR dashboard for tracking progress.

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