Titans Of Nuclear | Interviewing World Experts on Nuclear Energy

By Bret Kugelmass, Energy Impact Center

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A podcast featuring interviews with experts throughout the Nuclear Energy field, covering advanced technology, economics, policy, industry, and more.

Episode Date
Introducing OPEN100

Bret Kugelmass is interviewed by Robert Dillon about the OPEN100 project presented by the Energy Impact Center. Learn more about OPEN100 at www.open-100.com

Feb 25, 2020
An Update from Titans of Nuclear

Host Bret Kugelmass shares an update on when Titans of Nuclear will return from hiatus, what the Energy Impact Center has been working on in the interim, and delivers a live reading of his recently published op-ed "Want to stop climate change? Embrace the nuclear option."

Jan 31, 2020
Ep. 250 - Andrew Sherry, National Nuclear Laboratory

1) Andrew Sherry and Bret Kugelmass discuss nuclear history in the UK starting with magnox power stations and advanced gas-cooled reactors through the “dash for gas” in the 1980s and today's Nuclear Innovation Program.

2) The UK is the first country to agree to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. How nuclear could be an affordable solution by using a fleet approach, advanced manufacturing, and modular construction.

3) Andrew Sherry shares six key ways to promote nuclear innovation and affordability after a cross-sector innovation roundtable including technology, leadership, collaboration, risk, financing, and regulation.

4) How to implement innovation from other sectors and what the nuclear industry can learn from the US space industry and Elon Musk

Dec 20, 2019
Ep. 249 - Adrienne Kelbie, Office for Nuclear Regulation

1) Adrienne’s uncommon route to the nuclear sector via the Lottery Fund
2) How the Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is modernizing to engage in Advanced Nuclear Technologies (ANT) and increase accessibility
3) Changing the UK nuclear regulation process to decrease cost and foster innovation
4) Securing the future of the ONR by diversifying employee skill sets and focusing on outcomes

Dec 19, 2019
Ep. 248 - Sainati Tristano, University of Leeds

1) How Tristano Sainati transitioned from engineering to nuclear licensing regulation and what nuclear licensing frameworks are.
2) The prescriptive-based approach and performance-based approach to nuclear regulatory frameworks and how they may discourage innovation and nuclear competitiveness against other energy sources
3) The history of how international nuclear regulation began, spurred by the Chernobyl accident, and the lasting effects of a conservative approach to nuclear safety even today
4) How the future of nuclear power depends upon a perspective shift from innovation to legislation, requires mass production to reduce nuclear cost, needs a climate change led strategy, and requires governments to be brave.

Dec 18, 2019
Ep. 247 - Giorgio Locatelli, University of Leeds

1) Giorgio Locatelli recounts his journey from Italy to the United States to learn about nuclear energy and how it became his career focus
2) How economic climate and project funding choices affect the global development of nuclear reactors
3) A look at the feasibility of nuclear reactor design and construction, both small and large
4) Giorgio provides a summary of the UK’s investigation into SMR financing methods and how regulations affect cost

Dec 17, 2019
Ep. 246 - Julia Pyke , EDF Energy

1) Restarting the UK’s nuclear industry with Sizewell C
2) Copying the Hinkley design to save time and money and strengthen the UK’s supply chain
3) Turning to private capital and the regulated asset based model to finance Sizewell C
4) Incorporating “no regret” changes for Sizewell C to become a potential energy center

Dec 16, 2019
Ep. 245 - Alice Cunha da Silva, Brazilian Association of Nuclear Energy (ABEN)

1) Alice Cunha da Silva explains how a degree in computer science led her all over the world to discover her passion for nuclear engineering and how she shares that passion with her community
2) Brazil runs its nuclear industry a little differently, from its focus on communication strategies to its operational structures
3) Alice shares her perspective on growth and challenges in Brazil’s nuclear industry
4) An inside look into the engaging discussions and participation at the International Nuclear Atlantic Conference

Dec 13, 2019
Ep. 244 - Claudio Almeida, National Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEN)

1) Claudio Almeida reflects on his international nuclear education and how it prepared him for a design review of Brazil’s first nuclear plant, Angra 1
2) How technical issues in Soviet-designed nuclear power plants were identified, analyzed, and corrected to improve plant performance
3) Claudio explains how Chernobyl changed the international nuclear industry and how safety missions were conducted at VVER and RBMK sites
4) A look at new nuclear organizations developed after Chernobyl and the current state of Brazil’s nuclear climate

Dec 12, 2019
Ep. 243 - Celso Cunha, Brazilian Association of Nuclear Energy (ABEN)

1) Celso Cunha recounts his career working with Brazilian governments and private companies and how it led to his leadership at ABDAN
2) Celso explains the role of ABDAN in Brazil’s nuclear space and how it connects with the industry side of nuclear activities
3) An inside look at how Brazil is driving innovation in the regulation, development, and financing of nuclear around the country

Dec 11, 2019
Ep. 242 - Carlos Freire Moreira, Industrias Nucleares do Brasil (INB)

1) Carlos Freire Moreira reflects on his time in the Brazilian Navy and how the civilian industry adapted Naval technology in the energy sector
2) Carlos gives an in depth look at INB’s goals of developing all levels of the uranium fuel cycle
3) How different applications for uranium and the state of other energy resources all lead back towards more nuclear energy
4) Carlos reviews current work within Brazil on how to focus regulations and diversify the country

Dec 10, 2019
Ep. 241 - Leonam Guimarães, Eletronuclear

1) Leonam Guimarães reflects on his career in the Brazilian Navy Nuclear program
2) The history of Brazil’s civilian nuclear sector and plans for future development
3) Leonam addresses challenges of changing technologies and how innovation can pave the way to success
4) How hydroelectricity and nuclear energy can be used together to balance Brazil’s electrical system

Dec 09, 2019
Ep. 240 - Marcel Biato, International Atomic Energy Agency

1) Marcel Biato explains how a career in diplomacy prepared him for work in the nuclear industry and the unique challenges that come with it
2) How Brazil is opening up the previously state-run nuclear industry to private companies and the history between Argentina and Brazil’s nuclear programs
3) Marcel shares the current state of Brazil’s naval nuclear propulsion system and how new nuclear technology can provide base load power across the country
4) Why small modular reactors are attractive to Brazil and how the country is focusing on making the technology accessible

Dec 08, 2019
Ep. 239 - Bianca Carpinelli, Argentina

In this episode, we discuss...

1) Bianca becoming an advisor to the Undersecretariat of Nuclear Energy 
2) The three areas of the nuclear sector and how more communication is needed to push the industry forward
3) Argentina’s nuclear power reactors and SMR prototype development
4) How SMRs meet the demand for lower costs, shorter construction time and clean energy

Dec 05, 2019
Ep. 238 - Kalev Kallemets, Fermi Energia

In this episode...

1) Kalev Kallemets provides an inside look at Estonia’s political climate and how the country aims to tackle energy challenges
2) How the Baltic States share energy infrastructure and how that impacts power generation planning and development
3) Why the energy markets are changing across Europe and how it impacts power reliability
4) Kalev defends molten salt reactor technology and explains how deployment of SMRs in Europe will change the energy landscape

Dec 04, 2019
Ep. 237 - Stefano Monti, IAEA

In this episode, we discuss...

1) Fast reactor coolants and Russian deployment
2) Italy’s strong nuclear education despite the end of the state’s industry
3) The nonelectrical applications for reactor power, including hydrogen production and cogeneration
4) How SMRs take advantage of economies of series, rather than economies of scale, to decrease cost

Dec 03, 2019
Ep. 236 - Senator Mike Crapo, U.S. Senate

1) Idaho Senator Mike Crapo recounts his childhood in Idaho Falls, Idaho and how the nearby Idaho National Laboratory impacted his career in politics
2) How the economy and the environment can both benefit from win-win energy solutions
3) Sen. Crapo provides an overview of the NEICA and NEIMA nuclear energy innovation bills and how they will transform the current nuclear industry
4) Why a whole-of-government approach is necessary for strengthening the U.S. national energy, national security, and economic policies

Dec 02, 2019
Ep. 235 - Nam Dinh, North Carolina State University

In this episode...

1) Nam Dinh shares his path to nuclear engineering and the international education and research that kicked off his career
2) Why nuclear reactors were not originally designed with failure scenarios in mind and how that has changed
3) Nam reviews how current research projects are changing the way technology and simulation impact the design and licensing of nuclear reactors

Nov 30, 2019
Ep. 234 - Mohamed Bourham, North Carolina State University

In this episode, we discuss...

1) Mohamed Bourham’s path to a career in nuclear from Egypt to Europe to North Carolina State University
2) Mohamed reviews his many areas of research, including electrothermal propulsion, radiation, waste, and material science
3) How dry cask storage for spent fuel has performed so far and why there are different ideas about nuclear waste storage
4) Mohamed explains how fusion is controlled with magnetic fields and the impact it has on materials in the fusion reactors

Nov 29, 2019
Ep. 233 - Jacob Eapen, North Carolina State University

In this episode, we discuss how...

1) Jacob Eapen recalls his time working on safety analysis of the advanced heavy water reactor at the Bhabha Atomic Research Center in India
2) How Jacob expanded his career in the U.S. nuclear academic and industrial spaces to focus on computational material science
3) Jacob’s current and past research projects in the material science space includes analysis of high temperature properties of UO2 fuel
4) Jacob explains why accident tolerant fuels are being developed and some of the challenges faced in choosing a material for the fuel cladding

Nov 28, 2019
Ep. 232 - Ayman Hawari, North Carolina State University

In this episode, we discuss...

1) Increasing measurement accuracy with gamma rays
2) Understanding cross sections, thermal neutrons and fast neutrons
3) The PULSTAR research reactor design and how it is used to produce positrons
4) Demonstrating inherent safety with small research reactors

Nov 27, 2019
Ep. 231 - Steve Shannon, North Carolina State University

In this episode, we discuss...

1) The difference between plasma and gas
2) How fusion differs from fission
3) How plasma enables low heat molecule deconstruction
4) The current and future uses of plasma for industry manufacturing and advancements

Nov 26, 2019
Ep. 230 - Yousry Azmy, North Carolina State University

In this episode, we discuss how...

1) Yousry Azmy recalls his path to academia in the nuclear space and explains how neutrons interact in a nuclear reactor
2) Yousry Azmy discusses his research in solving the transport equation on unstructured grids and explains the levels of a reactor transport problem

Nov 25, 2019
Ep. 229 - Kostadin Ivanov, North Carolina State University

In this episode, we discuss...

1) The Russian VVER and BN-800 designs
2) Developing optimization methods for the VVER at Penn State
3) How a lack of scientific support in Bulgaria caused nuclear scientists to move to western countries
4) Developing benchmarks with high fidelity simulations

Nov 24, 2019
Ep. 228 - Janelle Wharry, Purdue University

In this episode, we discuss...

1) How radiation changes materials within a reactor
2) The advancement of electron-beam welding and the potential to decrease cost and extend reactor lifetimes
3) Strengthening materials by precisely deforming crystal structures with radiation
4) The need to deploy technological advancements to move the nuclear industry forward

Nov 21, 2019
Ep. 227 - Robert Bean, Purdue University

In this episode, we discuss...

1) How he first became interested in nuclear engineering and what sparked his interest in academia
2) Robert’s post-graduate path to becoming an expert in radiation detection and how he became involved in designing nuclear facilities for safeguards
3) Robert reflects on his time in Washington as an advisor to the NNSA and how it brought him back to Purdue University as a full-time faculty member
4) A highlight of the Purdue University reactor and some of the current research projects utilizing the facility, including projects in physics and health science
5) Robert Bean explains some of the challenges of nuclear reactor deployment and potential benefits of building small modular reactors

Nov 20, 2019
Ep. 226 - Allen Garner, Purdue University

In this episode, we discuss...

1) Allen’s early work in prevention of mutual interference in the naval reactors submarine force
2) How Allen transitioned from being a naval submarine officer to a biomedical graduate student studying modification of biological cells
3) How Allen’s research on electromagnetic interference at GE has been applied to create a non-linear transmission line at Purdue
4) Impacts on nano structures caused by intersections of different mechanisms in electron emissions and gas breakdown

Nov 19, 2019
Ep. 225 - Jason Harris, Purdue University

In this episode, we discuss how...

1) Jason Harris reflects on his early interest in biology led to a career in nuclear engineering
2) Jason leans into health physics and how radionuclides are distributed throughout the environment
3) A comprehensive look at nuclear power plant emissions and the birth of the nuclear security field
4) Methods of analyzing and assessing security culture at organizations and how it impacts risk at a nuclear facility

Nov 18, 2019
Ep. 224 - Juan Vitali, US Army

In this episode, we discuss...

(1) How Three Mile Island sparked Juan’s interest in nuclear power and his journey to becoming a strategist for the Army’s Logistics Innovation Agency
(2) Saving lives and combating climate change by improving Army logistics by adopting nuclear power
(3) The current progress in developing a small modular mobile nuclear power plant prototype
(4) The importance of electrifying the military to maintain the technological edge


NOTE: Juan Vitali's personal opinions do not represent the U.S. Army's official position.

Nov 15, 2019
Ep. 223 - Lane Carasik, Virginia Commonwealth University

In this episode, we discuss how...

1) Lane's initial interest in nuclear and his college coursework that led him to teaching at Virginia Commonwealth University.
2) He worked, interned, and conducted research all over the field of nuclear in startups and laboratories, but eventually found his place in academia.
3) Lane encourages people to advocate for nuclear and talks about lessons he passes onto his students.
4) Lane discusses the future of nuclear domestically and around the world.

Nov 13, 2019
Ep. 222 - Braden Goddard, Virginia Commonwealth University

In this episode, we discuss...

1) How nuclear material neutrons are measured to verify amounts
2) The difference between plutonium-239 and plutonium-240 in the context of nuclear weapons
3) Life in the UAE as a nuclear postdoc
4) Decreasing the attractiveness of plutonium for weapons use with neptunium

Nov 12, 2019
Ep. 221 - James Miller, Virginia Commonwealth University

In this episode, we discuss

1) James' career at Dominion and as a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University
2) How the Three Mile Island meltdown occurred and the more demanding safety culture that emerged
3) The potential for Probabilistic Risk Assessments to shift the safety culture
4) How the Final Safety Analysis Report and significant regulatory delays are harming the industry

Nov 11, 2019
Ep. 220 - Michael Binder, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

In this episode, we discuss...

1) Michael discusses his background in math and how it led him to a career in the government

2) Michael explains the regulatory review process as it applies to domestic projects and international technologies approved abroad

3) Michael explains Chinese advancements in nuclear technology in comparison to North American innovation

4) Michael and Bret discuss the future of nuclear including financing, regulations, environmental assessments, and safety planning 

Nov 07, 2019
Ep. 219 - Ramzi Jammal, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

In this episode, we discuss how...

1) Ramzi was introduced to nuclear early by family and university professors who were pioneers of the industry

2) Ramzi explains advances in the medical field due to nuclear technology

3) Ramzi breaks down negative perceptions about nuclear

4) Ramzi discusses recent changes to the nuclear field and his hopes for the future

Nov 06, 2019
Ep. 218 - Peter Elder, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

In this episode, we discuss how...

1) Peter's background in physics engineering and interest in high temperature ceramics led him to the nuclear industry
2) Peter views the Defense and Depth Theory
3) The difference between repositories vs. dilution
4) Canada’s new impact assessments in the nuclear industry allow societal views to play into the nuclear industry

Nov 05, 2019
Ep. 217 - Rumina Velshi, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

In this episode, we discuss how...

1) Rumina came to Canada as a refugee and became among the first women in the nuclear operations field
2) As a regulator it is essential to build public trust through transparency and data sharing
3) Her goal of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is to protect the environment, the public, and workers while also meeting international security obligations
4) Rumina discusses her hopes for the future of nuclear including involving more women and using nuclear to fight climate change

Nov 04, 2019
Ep. 216 - Leon Cizelj, Jožef Stefan Institute, Reactor Engineering Division

In this episode, we discuss...

1) Know How versus Know Why and how a reliance on rules can hinder innovation
2) How European states are supporting one another through the The European Nuclear Education Network
3) How increasing communication within the diverse industry sectors can help push the sector forward
4) Educating the public through reactor visits decreases fear and increases support of nuclear power

Oct 31, 2019
Ep. 215 - Walter Tromm, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

In this episode, we discuss...

(1) Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and their nuclear research
(2) How other methods of containing accidents may be better but strict regulations and ignorance hinder implementation
(3) Short term versus long term nuclear waste storage
(4) Why Germany’s nuclear industry has ended and how this may affect the future of nuclear in other European countries

Oct 30, 2019
Ep. 214 - Andrej Stritar, Slovenian Nuclear Safety Administration

In this episode, we discuss

1) The Nuclear Society of Slovenia and Slovenia’s nuclear industry
2) How publicly reporting nuclear events can lead to overreactions and widespread media attention
3) How an inability to make decisions is blocking Slovenia’s nuclear future
4) The need for trusted influencers to educate the Slovene public about nuclear radiation

Oct 29, 2019
Ep. 213 - Tomaž Žagar, Nuclear Society of Slovenia

In this episode, we discuss...

(1) Radiation misconceptions and the importance of increasing education and communication
(2) GEN’s role in the Slovene nuclear industry and in Europe more broadly
(3) How renewable energies create volatile electricity markets, decreasing investment attractiveness
(4) The challenges involved in moving Slovenia to a zero carbon country

Oct 28, 2019
Ep. 212 - Doug Witherspoon, HyperJet Fusion Corporation

In this episode, we discuss...

1) HyperV Technologies’ focus on plasma jet magneto inertial fusion (PJMIF)
2) What PJMIF is and what the system components are
3) How further development is needed to achieve a smooth liner, a magnetized target and guns that can withstand the parameters
4) How additional funding is needed to accelerate development and bring fusion reactors to the break-even point

Oct 24, 2019
Ep. 211 - Mark Ho, Australian Nuclear Association Inc

In this episode, we discuss...

1) The history of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO) and the current research reactor
2) Australia’s nuclear industry and the current inquiries to overturn the nuclear ban
3) How simulated bubble formation in pressurized water reactors are used in RELAP code
4) How China’s molten salt reactors and new HTGR will generate 540 gigawatts of capacity by 2050

Oct 23, 2019
Ep. 210 - Helen Cook, Global Nuclear Energy Advisory

In this episode we discuss...

(1) Helen’s journey from a country banning nuclear energy towards publishing a textbook on nuclear law and the creation of her own nuclear law practice
(2) The regulatory challenges facing SMRs for newcomer countries
(3) The importance of nuclear liability in legal frameworks and the minimum liability amount of 300 million SDRs
(4) Egypt’s deal with Russia to build 4 VVER1200 reactors and the negotiations involved in establishing Egypt’s nuclear program

Oct 22, 2019
Ep. 209 - Ed Kee, Nuclear Economics Consulting Group

In this episode, we discuss how...
(1) Ed got his start in nuclear by going to the Naval Academy
(2) Ed took a break from his nuclear career to attend Harvard Business School
(3) Ed discusses the difficulties making nuclear competitive in a market system versus a regulated system 
(4) Ed discusses the future of nuclear in both the US and abroad 

Oct 21, 2019
Ep. 208 - Rod Adams, Atomic Insights

In this episode, we discuss...
(1) Rod Adam’s passion about nuclear energy
(2) How Rod started out as a Navy engineer in charge of a nuclear reactor on a submarine
(3) How Rod later opened his own nuclear energy company, Adam’s Atomic Engines
(4) How Rod now runs Atomic Insights, a website and podcast that acts as a scholarly resource and archive on the nuclear field

Oct 17, 2019
Ep. 207 - Neil Alexander, Bucephalus Consulting

In this episode, we discuss...

(1) How the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority became the commercial AA Technology nuclear practice
(2) How radioactive waste is disposed of in the UK, the US, and in Canada
(3) The importance of calibration when communicating radioactive waste and nuclear safety
(4) Establishing fertile SMR markets through effective communication and government commitment rather than technological advancement

Oct 16, 2019
Ep. 206 - Koroush Shirvan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

In this episode, we discuss...

(1) The importance of optimizing the secondary side design to remain competitive in today’s nuclear landscape
(2) The interdisciplinary nature of the nuclear field and the shift in the reactor design process to focus on economics and safety
(3) The economic conclusions from Koroush’s small reactor design research and how lower source terms mean less stringent NRC requirements
(4) The factors that determine the number of fuel cycles and the decision to reuse fuel

Oct 15, 2019
Ep. 205 - Tim Stone, Nuclear Industry Association

In this episode, we discuss...

(1) Tim’s journey to the nuclear industry via Oxford University, the financial sector and government infrastructure projects
(2) How kickstarting the UK’s nuclear industry requires financial support from the government, a shift in design focus towards producing a product, and increasing supply chain and regulation efficiency
(3) How Tim helped shift the UK’s regulator towards a focus on outcomes rather than processes, creating more flexibility and a stronger relationship with industry
(4) How reaching the UK’s net zero by 2050 carbon goal requires education, new infrastructure and an energy portfolio that includes nuclear, renewables and carbon capture technology

Oct 14, 2019
Ep. 204 - Tom Evans, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

In this episode, we discuss...

(1) The evolution from single to coupled physics simulations with increased computational power
(2) Increasing computation power of supercomputers to 1.4 exaflops with the Exascale Computing Project
(3) Natural circulation and other new design features increases the complexity of reactor simulations
(4) More partnerships between industry and National Laboratories are needed to produce more simulated data and to push the nuclear industry forward

Oct 10, 2019
Ep. 203 - Wade Allison, Oxford University

In this episode, we discuss...

(1) How Atoms for Peace inspired Wade to enter science
(2) The importance of nuclear education for both young people and newcomer countries
(3) Why theater is a new way to educate the public about nuclear energy
(4) How nuclear power will be needed to provide food and water in the next century as climate change continues

Oct 09, 2019
Ep. 202 - Ben Heard, Bright New World

In this episode, we discuss...

(1) Ben’s personal journey from anti- to pro-nuclear
(2) The importance of understanding identitarian politics when supporting a nuclear change of mind
(3) The challenges faced when changing identities
(4) Debating the value generated from radiation risk measures

Oct 08, 2019
Ep. 201 - Zabrina Johal, General Atomics

In this episode, we discuss:

(1) Zabrina's introduction to the nuclear field through the Navy
(2) How Admiral Hyman G. Rickover shaped the nuclear industry
(3) General Atomic's TRIGA program and vision for future nuclear designs
(4) How the US FESAC committee will use information from ITER to map out a plan for commercial fusion power

Oct 07, 2019
Ep. 200 - Naomi Senehi, Energy Impact Center

In this episode, we discuss...

(1) Titans of Nuclear’s relationship to the Energy Impact Center and how it taught Naomi more about the nuclear industry
(2) Naomi’s graduate school plans and the importance of studying the spread of antibiotic resistance through water systems
(3) Naomi’s experience at the Fastest Path to Zero workshop
(4) How Naomi thinks the Titans for Nuclear podcast will evolve over time

Oct 03, 2019
Ep. 199 - Federico Puente, Technologico de Monterrey

In this episode, we discuss...

(1) Federico’s interest in sustainability as a motivation for entering the nuclear industry
(2) Gaining public acceptance through information rather than promotion and aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals
(3) How the IAEA and experienced countries support newcomer countries through knowledge transfer
(4) How focusing on economics, management and building human resources can lead to success for the nuclear industry

Oct 02, 2019
Ep. 198 - Reuben Holmes, National Nuclear Laboratory

In this episode, we discuss...

(1) Why the UK’s Sellafield nuclear site will soon be decommissioned and how their graduate program moved Reuben into the nuclear sector
(2) How the Nuclear National Laboratory is researching the anti-corrosion chemistries of different nuclear reactor designs including fusion reactors
(3) Reuben’s involvement in the Young Generation Network and how he is working to share the next generation’s insights and accomplishments
(4) Researching how to engage the public better will improve nuclear acceptance and secure the future of the industry

Oct 01, 2019
Ep. 197 - Bruce McDowell, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

In this episode, we discuss how...

(1) Bruce's role in the NRC approving the Clinch River Environmental Impact Statement
(2) The main considerations which go into developing an environmental impact statement for a nuclear power plant site
(3) How Bruce's up bringing and natural curiosity fueled his interest in site assessment
(4) Bruce's introduction to the nuclear field through the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Sep 30, 2019
Ep. 196 - Rose Boll, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

In this episode, we discuss:

(1) How Rose became interested in radioisotopes from an early interest in chemistry and medicine
(2) What an isotope is and how Actinium-225 is created
(3) Why the demand for Actinium-225 is increasing and the challenges the Tri-Lab Project faces in meeting this demand
(4) The role of education in radiation acceptance

Sep 27, 2019
Ep. 195 - Jeremy Renshaw, Electric Power Research Institute

In this episode, we discuss how...

(1) Jeremy Renshaw comes from a family of engineers and is raising children who are likewise passionate about math, science and robotics.
(2) He currently works at the Electric Power Research Institute, an independent nonprofit that conducts research and environmentally responsible demonstration projects to enhance the quality of life of people globally.
(3) Jeremy’s work in nuclear using robots to inspect dry spent fuel canisters; he discussed the need for dry fuel canisters due to the lack of repositories and the stalling of the Yucca Mountain project.
(4) He believes in the importance of research to increase the efficiency, safety and economic benefits to combat the negative perceptions of nuclear plants and discussed how the closer of current power plants is creating real risks to prevent imaginary ones.

Sep 26, 2019
Ep. 194 - Edward Calabrese , University of Massachusetts - Amherst

In this episode, we discuss...

(1) The impact of Silent Spring and environmental concerns of the 1960s that fostered Ed's interest in toxicology
(2) How the LNT theory came into practice and how we can look at low dose radiation using Hormetic Biphasic Dose Response Relationships
(3) How modest amounts of stress, in the form of low dose radiation to the body can be beneficial
(4) How the regulatory and medical communities have been mislead towards an LNT viewpoint

Sep 25, 2019
Ep. 193 - Chuck Casto, Station Blackout

In this episode, we discuss...

(1) How the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster changed the trajectory of Chuck's career
(2) Lessons in leadership learned through Chuck's personal experiences at the Fukushima site
(3) Chuck's background in nuclear power plant construction and equipment operation
(4) The importance of reflecting on Fukushima and the special nature of nuclear technology

Sep 24, 2019
Ep. 192 - Stephane Aubarbier, Assystem

In this episode, we discuss how...

(1) Decreasing focus on design and adopting the copy and paste model to deliver projects on time and on budget
(2) The reasons behind Assystem’s continued focus and success in the nuclear industry
(3) Why education is needed to understand that decreasing energy consumption will not stop climate change
(4) Assystem’s strategy when partnering with countries to develop nuclear programs

Sep 20, 2019
Ep. 191 - Jean Louis Ricaud, Assystem

In this episode we discuss how...

(1) The need for politicians to take on long-term issues and understand that decreasing electricity consumption is not a solution
(2) The difference between carbon emissions and carbon footprint and why the focus should shift towards decreasing overall carbon footprint
(3) Europe’s increasing electricity demand and the shift towards relocalization
(4) Making energy a strategic political issue

Sep 19, 2019
Ep. 190 - Robert Plana, Assystem

In this episode we discuss:

(1) Using the TRL and BRL scales to determine which innovation projects to invest in
(2) Monitoring nuclear reactor cracks using machine vision to save costs
(3) Creating nuclear facility maintenance schedules using predicted maintenance based on individual plant operating conditions
(4) Using AI to automatically extract data from 14 million physical nuclear reports

Sep 18, 2019
Ep. 189 - Tom Jones, Assystem

In this episode we discuss how:

(1) The new RAB finance model will attract long term investors to the UK’s nuclear industry
(2) Nuclear investment is needed for the UK to reach the Net 0 Target of 2050
(3) The Copy and Paste model decreases nuclear project risk
(4) The importance of educating children at a young age about nuclear power

Sep 17, 2019
Ep. 188 - Bernard Blanc, Assystem

In this episode, we discuss how...

(1) Assystem’s role in France’s nuclear industry
(2) The importance of mixed engineering teams when designing, constructing and commissioning nuclear power facilities
(3) Regulating fusion as a means to gain public support for nuclear power
(4) The role of ITER in the future of nuclear energy

Sep 16, 2019
Chernobyl: I was there

In the Titans of Nuclear Chernobyl podcast series, we sat down with experts in the field of nuclear energy to take a dive into the HBO television series "Chernobyl".

In episode three, we talk with Robert Gale who discusses:

(1) Traveling to Moscow to treat Chernobyl accident victims and volunteering his expertise in bone marrow transplants

(2) Writing a critique of the inaccuracies found in HBO’s Chernobyl series

(3) An inaccuracy in portraying the victims as being radioactive when the victims posed no threat to the physicians

(4) Chernobyl was an unfortunate accident that should not have happened and should not reflect poorly on nuclear power

Sep 13, 2019
Chernobyl: Radiation

In the Titans of Nuclear Chernobyl podcast series, we sat down with experts in the field of nuclear energy to take a dive into the HBO television series "Chernobyl".

In episode two, we talk with Jerry M. Cuttler, DSc, who received his BASc-Eng degree in engineering physics from the University of Toronto and his MSc and DSc degrees in nuclear sciences and engineering from the Israel Institute of Technology. He is also the former President of the Canadian Nuclear Society and a member of the American Council on Science and Health Board of Scientific Advisors. Jerry discusses:

(1) Working in Romania when the Chernobyl reactor accident happened and how he measured the radiation and confirmed it was safe to remain where he was

(2) The 237 workers who suffered very painful, acute radiation syndrome (ARS) and the OECD-NEA report, “Chernobyl, 10 Years On” 

(3) And other research findings


Sep 12, 2019
Chernobyl: Fact Checking

In the Titans of Nuclear Chernobyl podcast series, we sat down with experts in the field of nuclear energy to take a dive into the HBO television series "Chernobyl".

In episode one, we interview Andrew Daniels who is the author of After Fukushima: What We Now Know. Andrew discusses:

(1) Events that occurred at Chernobyl that were highlighted on the HBO show, and which events were missed out on
(2) Radiation dangers and the importance of how they're presented to the public
(3) Comparing Fukushima, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island and their role in shaping the public's perception of nuclear power
(4) Whether or not evacuation is necessary
(5) The timing of the HBO show and how audiences interact with television
(6) Russia's reaction to the HBO show

Sep 11, 2019
Ep. 187 - Ho Nieh, Nuclear Regulatory Commission

In this episode, we discuss...

(1) The founding principles of nuclear regulation

(2) The NRC’s new modernized approach to risk

(3) Licensing advanced reactors

(4) The opportunity for the NRC in the future of nuclear

Sep 10, 2019
Ep. 186 - Tim Freeman, SNC-Lavalin

In this episode, we discuss...

(1) How working with locals during the Embalse Life Extension Project helped secure the future of nuclear power in Argentinian communities
(2) The importance of refurbishments and how SNC Lavalin is learning from each CANDU refurbishment project
(3) Tim's work as Director of Field Services in maintaining and operating CANDU reactors for longevity
(4) How life extensions stack up to new builds and directions the nuclear industry can take in regards to each

Sep 06, 2019
Ep. 185 - Ruben Oris, SNC-Lavalin

(1) Ruben's early education in nuclear engineering during the Chernobyl incident
(2) The importance of educating the young generations in nuclear to be engaged in the next wave of nuclear designs
(3) Directions that SNC Lavalin is taking towards advanced technologies such as small modular reactors
(4) An innovation drive approach to the future of nuclear power for generations to come

Sep 05, 2019
Ep. 184 - Robert Mallozzi, SNC-Lavalin

(1) What Robert learned from working for ten years on maintenance issues at nuclear power plants
(2) Innovation which guided the design of equipment testing devices and life extension projects
(3) Shipping tooling systems to perform refurbishment processes on CANDU reactors worldwide
(4) How innovations in automation and advances in technology will help save money and time on retube outages

Sep 04, 2019
Ep. 183 - Catherine Cottrell, SNC-Lavalin

(1) SNC Lavalin's role in developing CANDU reactors and designing for advanced fuels
(2) SNCs strategy for bulding 1 CANDU reactor for every 4 PWRs
(3) How SNC Lavalin designs, develops and tracks their product development and performance
(4) Leveraging SNC's experience in licensing approval

Sep 03, 2019
Ep. 182 - Christer Dahlgren, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy

(1) How growing up in Sweden shaped Christer's views on nuclear and eventual path to becoming a nuclear power plant operator the principal engineer at GE-Hitachi
(2) Designing nuclear power plants with licensing in mind to address pre-licensing and site specific licensing technicalities
(3) Simplifying system level changes in a nuclear power plants
(4) The MWRX300 small modular reactor and it's path to the commercial market in 2030

Aug 30, 2019
Ep. 181 - Emily Martin, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy

(1) How Emily's family and mentorship shaped how she uses her technical and business skills at GE-Hitachi

(2) Emily's transition from the wind industry to nuclear and lessons on creating capacity and developing supply chains that can be exchanged between the two

(3) How investors are shaping GE sales of new technology components such as new fuels , reactor services, and plant models

(4) Advocating for nuclear energy through public speaking and how to handle challenging questions

Aug 29, 2019
Ep. 180 - Glen Watford , GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy

(1) Glen's introduction to nuclear engineering at the University of Florida and his early work on the interface of the fuel designers and the plant designers

(2) How GE used a down select method to focus on different reactor technologies and GE's early relationship with governmental nuclear efforts

(3) How the connections between nuclear technologies, safety and regulations shape the economics of the nuclear industry

(4) Developing a cost competitive design for the BWRX300

Aug 28, 2019
Ep. 179 - Mona Badie, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy

(1) Mona's progression from software development and finance to leadership at GE nuclear

(2) Leveraging data historically collected in the nuclear industry for plant optimization

(3) Moving to condition based maintenance to build profiles for nuclear power plant assets

(4) Change advocacy from a nuclear perspective: introducing nuclear to the public and innovation to nuclear

Aug 27, 2019
Ep. 178 - Jon Ball, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy

In this episode, we discuss how...

(1) Jon's path through the industry from handling fuel storage at Hanford to optimizing fuel production and working on services at GE Hitachi

(2) How the GE services division uses uprates to increase nuclear power production on a scale equivalent to building new nuclear power plants

(3) Jon's work on the ideation and inception of a design for small EWBRs, a high power output reactor, that could compete with combined gas

(4) The development of and target commercial markets for GE's BWRX 300 small modular reactor

Aug 26, 2019
Ep. 177 - George Apostolakis, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

(1) A risk informed approach requires adopting both PRAs and Defense in Depth and Safety Margins
(2) Three Mile Island played an important role in the use of RSS in nuclear regulation
(3) How Japan restructured their nuclear industry post Fukushima
(4) The challenges of communicating nuclear risk

Aug 23, 2019
Ep. 176 - Daniel Poneman, U.S. Department of Energy

(1) Dans introduction to nuclear nonproliferation through as an undergraduate and in his early career in the Department of Energy

(2) Leveraging market forces in the nuclear energy industry to address national security issues through the Megatons to Megawatts program

(3) Dan's upcoming work on developing centrifuges for the production of high assay low enriched uranium

Aug 09, 2019
Ep. 175 - Joseph Hezir, Energy Futures Initiative

In this episode, we discuss how...

  • Joseph entered the nuclear energy industry through his work at the Office of Management and Budget


    Joseph's involvement in the MIT Energy Initiatives led to the formation of the Energy Futures Initiative

  • Policy should balance the needs to mitigate and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere

We hope you enjoy the show!

Jul 11, 2019
Ep. 174 - Finis Southworth, AREVA

In this episode, we discuss...

  • Finis’ path away from fusion and into nuclear fuel and waste management
  • The history behind nuclear fuel recycling
  • How construction of St. Lucie Plant Unit 2 succeed in a post Three Mile Island era
  • Improving fuel efficiency of nuclear reactors by reducing load-following
  • Finis’ transition from Florida Power & Light to Idaho National Laboratory
  • The inception of the Plutonium Focus Area project and how it addressed nuclear waste and environmental questions
  • Finis’ focus on improving research and development as former Chief Technology Officer at Areva

We hope you enjoy the show!

Jul 03, 2019
Ep. 173 - Ralph Izzo, Public Service Enterprise Group

In this episode, we discuss...

  • How Ralph became interested in fusion
  • The ways climate change goals shape Public Service Enterprise Group's energy strategy
  • The importance of tackling climate change through nuclear energy and energy efficiency
Jun 19, 2019
Ep. 172 - Bill Ostendorff, Nuclear Regulatory Commission

In this episode, we discuss...

  • Bill Ostendorff’s 26 year career as a Navy nuke and how it prepared him for the rest of his career
  • Bill’s responsibilities as Principal Deputy Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration and Commissioner for the Nuclear Regulatory
  • The importance of government investment in the nuclear industry today
Jun 12, 2019
Chernobyl, Episode Zero

In the Titans of Nuclear Chernobyl podcast series, we'll sit down with experts in the field of nuclear energy to take a dive into the HBO television series "Chernobyl".

This is episode zero, featuring Titan Bret Kugelmass. Naomi and Michelle discuss with Bret how the Energy Impact Center and Titans of Nuclear podcast are responding to the recent release of HBO's miniseries "Chernobyl", a discussion on which Titans would be best to sit down with and analyze the show and some surprising behind the scenes thoughts on what Bret, Michelle and Naomi felt after watching "Chernobyl". 

Jun 05, 2019
Ep. 171 - Seth Moulton, U.S. Congress

In this episode, we discuss...

  • How Seth Moulton’s background in physics and the Marines led to a political career
  • Role of science in Congress and decision making
  • Ways Congress encourages innovation to fund technical solutions
  • Effect of automation on the American workforce and why an education revolution is the key to success
  • How the green technology revolution affects energy, climate and national security
  • Role of long term budgeting in energy development and planning for a carbon-free country
  • Making climate change personal in Seth's pursuit of the Presidency 
May 31, 2019
Ep. 170 - Bill Foster, U.S. Congress

In this episode, we discuss...

  • Bill Foster’s background as an entrepreneur and physicist
  • An unintentional discovery Foster made while searching for proton decay
  • Role of the FERMI National Accelerator Lab in the particle physics world
  • How two generations of Fosters used their scientific expertise in public service roles
  • Resources available to Congress for technical evaluation of specialty topics
  • Why economics is the most important factor in decarbonization and fighting climate change
  • Public perception of nuclear technology and how it affects levels of social acceptance
  • Potential for accelerator-driven nuclear energy systems
  • How Bill Foster strategizes energy policy reform as an Illinois Congressman 
May 27, 2019
Ep. 169 - Juan EibenSchutz Hartman, Mexico's National Nuclear Safety and Safeguards Commission

In this episode, we discuss...

  • How Juan EibenSchutz Hartman’s engineering background led to a career in nuclear
  • Why Mexico considered adding nuclear power to its energy mix and how it was achieved
  • Mexico’s development of a decision analysis program through the Stanford Research Institute
  • How public perception of nuclear technology became rooted in mistrust and what the nuclear community is doing to change it
  • Why small modular reactors (SMRs) may transform the industry away from a tendency of non-uniformity
  • A comparison of nuclear waste and other industrial waste in terms of perception and regulation
  • Juan EibenSchutz Hartman’s responsibilities as Director General of Mexico's National Nuclear Safety and Safeguards Commission
May 24, 2019
Ep. 168 - Bob Ichord, Atlantic Council

In this episode, we discuss...

  • Bob Ichord’s entrance into international energy research
  • How the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) brings rural electrification to Southeast Asia
  • How Chernobyl affected global safety and policy for nuclear reactors
  • The future of US nuclear power export and import markets
  • Nuclear’s role in urbanization and growth in developing countries
  • Results of the Atlantic Council Task Force Report on U.S. Nuclear Leadership
  • Importance of innovation and commercialization of small modular reactors (SMRs)
May 23, 2019
Ep. 167 - Jeff Navin, Boundary Stone Partners

In this episode, we discuss...

  • Jeff Navin’s high school dream of becoming a politician
  • Changes in the energy policymaking atmosphere during the Obama Administration
  • How politicization of climate change made the carbon emissions problem worse
  • Strategically using advanced reactors to start climate conversations and get policymakers on board
  • How setting a 100% clean energy goal will promote competition in technological advances
  • Challenges faced by advanced reactors in the research and development field
  • Why politicians seek out Jeff Navin and Boundary Stone Partners to help differentiate themselves on climate change
May 22, 2019
Ep. 166 - Bob Walker, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

In this episode, we discuss...

  • How Bob Walker’s career in the Canadian Department of National Defence led to his role as a nuclear energy leader
  • Role of the National Research Universal Reactor (NRU) in radioactive medical isotope production for the global healthcare market
  • Current status of CANada Deuterium Uranium (CANDU) reactor refurbishment around Canada
  • Why Canada pursued CANDU and pressurized heavy water reactor design
  • Canada’s development of an intricate logistics, transportation, and distribution plan for medical isotopes
  • Options for used fuel storage and how the community is involved in the decision
  • Applications of small modular reactors (SMR’s) in Canada and across the globe
  • Bob Walker’s path to becoming the Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories
May 21, 2019
Ep. 165 - Margie Doane, Nuclear Regulatory Commission

In this episode, we discuss...

  • How Margie’s upbringing influenced her career
  • How nuclear export licensing works and why it’s important to the safe handling and security of nuclear materials
  • Why it was important for Margie to consider transboundary effects of Fukushima when negotiating to affirm the IAEA’s post-Fukushima frameworks
  • How the Supreme Court’s post-Fukushima ruling against the NRC’s Waste Confidence policy caused an abrupt halt in plans for domestic and international nuclear power plant construction
  • How Margie’s 3-step risk assessment process helped propel her to the top of the NRC
  • How training staff on new and different technologies, such as SMRs, will help propel NRC regulations forward
May 20, 2019
Ep. 164 - Marc Nichol, Nuclear Energy Institute

In this episode, we discuss...

  • How a high school project on propulsion led to Marc Nichol’s career in nuclear energy
  • Responsibilities and considerations for managing spent fuel on-site and off-site
  • A comparison of costs and markets for small modular reactors (SMR’s) and micro-reactors
  • How Alaska is preparing for deployment of groundbreaking micro-reactor technology
  • Future capabilities of the nuclear industry to provide energy for electricity, heating, and transportation
  • How Marc Nichol connects with communities, industries, and governments as Director of New Reactor Deployment at the Nuclear Energy Institute
May 17, 2019
Ep. 163 - Akira Tokuhiro, Ontario Tech University

In this episode, we discuss...

  • How Akira Tokuhiro’s interest in race car design inspired him to study nuclear engineering
  • Research for the Japanese sodium cooled fast reactor
  • How nuclear energy safety culture and public risk perception compares to other industries
  • Responsibilities of being a director and licensed operator of a university experimental reactor
  • Safety challenges of graphite-moderated nuclear reactors
  • How the nuclear industry united to address the accident at Fukushima
  • Benefits of NuScale Power’s small modular reactors (SMR’s)
  • Akira’s development of a new Bachelor of Technology in Sustainable Energy Systems at Ontario Tech University
May 16, 2019
Ep. 162 - Jackie Kempfer, Third Way

In this episode, we discuss...

  • Jackie’s collegiate upbringing in North Carolina pursuing International Relations
  • Jackie’s transition into nuclear energy studies in graduate school and her Graduate Thesis on “Nuclear Disinheritance”
  • How Jackie gained experience in nuclear at the Stimson Center 
  • The development of the Organizational Governance Template for Nuclear Security
  • Jackie’s work at Third Way in the Clean Energy Program
  • The newly enacted Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA)
May 15, 2019
Ep. 161 - Evan Sengbusch, Phoenix

In this episode, we discuss...

  • How Evan Sengbusch’s background in physics led him to his current role as President of Phoenix
  • Production of lower energy, higher current deuteron accelerators as neutron sources
  • The roles preserving research reactors and producing a domestic supply of Molybdenum 99 play in the nation’s medical industry
  • New capabilities of thermal neutron imaging and fast neutron imaging
  • The development of neutrons as an inspection tool for complex, high density materials and components
  • How Phoenix’s partnership with SHINE could change medical radioisotope production in the US
May 14, 2019
Ep. 160 - Eben Mulder, X Energy

In this episode, we discuss...

  • The role of the Atomic Energy Corporation in South Africa’s nuclear development
  • System challenges of dramatically scaling nuclear technology
  • Innovative nuclear solutions to service the vast population differences in South Africa
  • Germany’s role in educating and supporting South Africa’s pebble-bed nuclear reactor
  • Groundbreaking postgraduate nuclear programs Mulder founded at North-West University
  • X Energy’s mission to commercially establish pebble-bed reactor technology and spread it throughout the world
  • Challenges of obtaining clientele and licensing for new nuclear technology
  • Evolution of the pebble-bed nuclear reactor and the energy potential it can bring to the U.S. electrical grid
May 13, 2019
Ep. 159 - Shane Johnson, Department of Energy

In this episode, we discuss...

  • How Three Mile Island and the oil embargo influenced Shane to pursue nuclear engineering
  • How Shane helped support university test reactors through his role at the Office of Nuclear Energy
  • How tritium influenced the history behind the Office of New Production Reactors national security program
  • Creating a roadmap for Generation IV reactor development and deployment
  • How contracting to end users can help mobilize new nuclear
  • The driving issues behind construction and deployment of new nuclear technologies
  • How the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) program united research and design efforts
May 09, 2019
Message from TON!

Hey TON fans!

If you're enjoying the show, please subscribe then leave us a review on iTunes:


And if you haven't checked it out yet, we've launched a new YouTube page featuring interviews with over 150 experts:



Titans of Nuclear is hosted by the Energy Impact Center, check it out to learn more about reversing climate change: 



And finally, if you have a guest you really want to hear on the show, shoot us a recommendation: https://www.titansofnuclear.com/contact


Thanks for listening!

May 09, 2019
Ep. 158 - Susan Landahl, Exelon Generation

In this episode, we discuss...

  • How nuclear engineering and health physics are connected in education and industry
  • Insight into radiation protection design and emergency planning
  • How Susan Landahl broke down gender barriers in nuclear power plant operation
  • Models, such as the linear no-threshold theory, which are used to analyze radiation dosage and related health effects
  • The role of virtual reality in nuclear power plant training and operation
  • Improving all aspects of the nuclear industry through a culture of innovation
  • Nuclear power’s place in the U.S. electrical grid
May 04, 2019
Ep. 157 - Kathleen Barron, Exelon Generation

In this episode, we discuss...

  • Kathleen Barron's background in nuclear and how she came to be Senior Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs at Exelon
  • How the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) restructured the electricity industry to become more competitive
  • Assessing legal sustainability of changes to energy infrastructure
  • How FERC manages concerns related to market rates and environmental impacts
  • Regional impacts on the electrical grid energy balance and how clean energy is integrated
  • Decarbonization implications of producing the energy source versus energy extraction
  • Legal challenges of saving existing nuclear reactors from decommissioning
  • State influence on nuclear energy generation and financial implications of their decisions
May 03, 2019
Ep. 156 - Brad Fewell, Exelon Generation

In this episode, we discuss...

  • Fewell’s law background that led him towards the energy industry
  • Fewell’s first position with the NRC, and the responsibilities, experiences and relationships he accumulated while there
  • Fewell’s transition into the private sector working for Exelon Generation
  • Fewell’s cases with Exelon revolving around Security, Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
  • Generation Nation – Exelon’s local nuclear advocacy program for its employees and their communities
  • Fewell’s marketing strategy to combat irrational stigma on nuclear energy
May 02, 2019
Ep. 155 - Mara Levy, Exelon Generation

In this episode, we discuss...

  • Mara Levy's personal journey through the nuclear industry and her day-to-day at Exelon
  • The impact of hands-on education for nuclear engineering students
  • What the new fuel receipt process looks like in preparation for a nuclear refueling outage
  • Roles and responsibilities of an on-site reactor engineer
  • Why power descents at nuclear plants are needed and how they are coordinated
  • Stakeholders involved in power maneuver planning
  • Outreach efforts of North American Young Generation in Nuclear
  • Public education efforts of Generation Nation
May 01, 2019
Ep. 154 - Michael Gallagher, Exelon Generation

In this episode, we discuss...

  • How Michael Gallagher entered the power generation industry
  • The different management roles at a nuclear power plant
  • The differences between boiling water reactors and pressurized water reactors
  • Methods for controlling radiation and shaping power in a boiling water reactor
  • The effects of fuel design and core efficiency on nuclear fuel consumption
  • Requirements for a nuclear power plant renewal license application
  • Federal limitations on the life cycle of a nuclear power plant
  • Global impacts of affordable and reliable energy sources
Apr 30, 2019
Ep. 153 - Marilyn Kray, Exelon Generation

In this episode we discuss...

  • Marilyn Kray's personal journey through the nuclear industry
  • How different engineering disciplines collaborate to make a nuclear plant operate
  • The role of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the design and construction of nuclear power plants
  • How the culture between utilities and regulators in the nuclear industry has evolved over time
  • What it takes to prepare and execute a nuclear plant refueling outage plan
  • Licensing options for existing and newly designed nuclear plants during design, construction, and operation
  • How traditional utilities and investors are getting involved with new nuclear technology
  • Education efforts supported and funded by the American Nuclear Society
Apr 29, 2019
Ep. 152 - Bryan Hanson, Exelon Generation

In this episode we discuss...

  • An overview of Exelon Generation’s developmental history and successful expansion across the US
  • A glimpse into Hanson’s upbringing throughout his childhood and academic pursuits in nuclear engineering in Madison, Wisconsin
  • Hanson’s experiences in his first position as a nuclear engineer with the Quad Cities Nuclear Power Station, and his professional climb towards his current position as Chief Nuclear Officer
  • Hanson’s optimism for educating public opinion on the science of nuclear engineering and it’s minimal effects on the environment
  • The development of worldwide standards of excellence in nuclear engineering thanks to the US Nuclear Fleet, the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators, and the World Association of Nuclear Operators
  • Hanson’s leadership strategy as Chief Nuclear Officer at Exelon Generation, as well as new initiatives for the future of nuclear engineering
Apr 28, 2019
Ep. 151 - KunMo Chung, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

In this episode we discuss...

  • Why nuclear power was important to building South Korea's economy 
  • How standardizing nuclear reactor development led to the success of the OPR and APR-1400 reactors
  • Why South Korea’s partnership with ABB-Combustion Engineering has been so successful
  • How South Korea is helping the United Arab Emirates develop their own nuclear power plan
  • Why uniting utilities under one umbrella might be the best way to cut costs in the nuclear power industry
  • How South Korea is helping Kenya develop into a medium-level industrialized nation by 2030
Apr 22, 2019
Ep. 150 - Gerry Thomas, Imperial College London

In this episode we discuss...

  • Gerry’s research and involvement in tissue banking and molecular pathology during the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster
  • The studies and effects of thyroid cancer based on age, environment, and adequate research & evidence
  • Being a pro-nuclear scientist in the scientific community
  • The common misconceptions about nuclear energy and it's risk factors
  • Gerry’s involvement in the Chernobyl Tissue Bank and how that research paved the way for the work of the Imperial Tissue Bank today
  • How the Imperial Tissue Bank’s epidemiology studies can be used to effectively change policy on nuclear energy
Apr 17, 2019
Ep. 149 - Michael Reichenberger, Idaho National Labs

In this episode we discuss...

  • Michael Reichenberger’s entrance into the nuclear industry as a mechanical engineer
  • How fission detectors measure neutrons in nuclear reactors
  • The design, development, and deployment of Micro-Pocket Fission Detectors in a test reactor
  • Advantages of the Advanced Test Reactor for nuclear fuels and materials testing
  • Benefits of real-time sensors in test reactors and how they impact development of commercial reactors
  • The potential value of real-time sensors in the operation of advanced reactor designs
Apr 16, 2019
Ep. 148 - Neal Cohen, Nuclear Energy Institute

In this episode we discuss...

  • Neal’s role at the Nuclear Energy Institute and what nuclear energy has to offer to society
  • The importance of having advocates for nuclear energy that communicate the benefits of nuclear energy
  • How to overcome the general public’s concerns about nuclear power through education
  • New technologies being used in old power plants to improve efficiency, production, and safety
  • The economics of exporting nuclear power and why the United States wants to lead this movement
  • The importance of established nuclear energy as a base load power source to support renewable energy
  • How early education about nuclear power can influence public perception about the industry and its technology
  • A call to action for cooperation between generations to work towards a future without global warming through the use of nuclear technologies
Apr 15, 2019
Ep. 147 - James Stubbins, University of Illinois

In this episode we discuss...

  • Technical challenges of scaling up high temperature nuclear power plant designs
  • The relationship between nuclear power generation efficiency and reaction temperature
  • The effects of oxidation and carbonization on turbine blades in different nuclear reactors
  • How nuclear reactor designs plan for long-term material degradation in critical components
  • Modern methods of analyzing effects of radiation on metal alloys
  • How the impacts of neutrons on metal lattice structures drive material design
  • Performance criteria for critical components of nuclear plant materials
  • How today’s nuclear industry is reinvesting in nuclear-related education and research
Apr 12, 2019
Ep. 146 - Tomasz Kozlowski, University of Illinois

In this episode we discuss...

  • Why water is the best coolant in any reactor
  • Why molten salt reactors (MSRs) are a safeguard’s nightmare
  • How molten salt reactors differ from lightwater reactors
  • Why the Experimental Breeder Reactor II would be the best fuel reprocessing solution
  • How nuclear energy can stop climate change in its tracks
  • Why the mass production of nuclear reactors is the only way to solve China’s energy demands
Apr 11, 2019
Ep. 145 - Katy Huff, University of Illinois

In this episode we discuss:

  • What a nuclear fuel cycle is and how it is analyzed
  • How a surplus of enriched uranium impacts nuclear fuel prices
  • The connection between high enrichment nuclear fuel and inherent safety features
  • How negative temperature coefficients affect nuclear heat transfer
  • Computational tools for analyzing the nuclear fuel life cycle and transfer methods
  • Costs and benefits of nuclear waste reprocessing and how nations manage it
  • Long term safety considerations for nuclear waste disposal of different isotopes
  • Competitive advantages of nuclear energy and its impact on computational science
Apr 10, 2019
Ep. 144 - Bill Fox, SNC-Lavalin

In this episode we discuss...

  • Utility-owned design and construction of nuclear reactors
  • The impact of constructability in innovative nuclear reactor designs
  • Challenges of the V.C. Summer nuclear project
  • How to turn nuclear design mistakes into lessons learned for the future
  • Financial challenges of new nuclear technology development, like mPower
  • How generalizing small modular reactor designs affect cost and schedule
  • Differences between nuclear industry visions and realistic expectations for production
  • Opportunity cost benefits of nuclear energy that provide an all-around energy solution
Apr 01, 2019
Ep. 143 - Paula Maguire, Ontario Power Generation

In this episode we discuss...

  • How Paula Maguire worked her way up to become a training manager for Ontario Power Generation
  • The purpose and structure of a utility training organization
  • How collaboration between utility stations can impact a plant’s operations and the nuclear industry as a whole
  • How to inspire your utility workforce and maximize their value at the station
  • The importance of leadership in a highly technical field such as nuclear energy
  • The purpose of operational safety analyses and how they differ across the globe
  • The impact of transparency and open communication in the nuclear industry
Mar 21, 2019
Ep. 142 - Sean Donnelly, UBattery

In this episode we discuss...

  • How Sean Donnelly was inspired by the dynamic and unique challenges of the nuclear industry
  • How AR can help improve human efficiency in nuclear
  • The important role Kinectrics has played in helping to develop nuclear technology
  • How the U-Battery is revolutionizing the future of nuclear reactors
  • Why triso fuels are the best choice for the U-Battery
  • Kinectrics' hopes to deploy the U-Battery in Canada and the U.K. simultaneously
  • Why placing U-Batteries at Chalk River and Urenco would be the best models for what this technology can do for costs and power generation
  • Nuclear's pivotal role in the future of clean energy
Mar 20, 2019
Ep. 141 - Doug Jensen, Cameco Corporation

In this episode we discuss...

  • How Doug Jensen’s concern for the environment led to his work in nuclear energy
  • Why Doug Jensen believes that nuclear power is the answer to our climate change problems
  • How Cameco has become so specialized at producing zirconium tubing for nuclear fuel
  • Why Improving fuel manufacturing efficiency leads to great benefits for nuclear power plants
  • Why long-term guarantee contracts are so important for making capital improvements to the manufacturing process
  • How Cameco has fostered crucial customer relationships in the nuclear industry
  • Cameco's role in the future of SMRs -Why SMRs make the most sense to replace fossil fuels with clean energy
Mar 19, 2019
Ep. 140 - Howard Shearer, Hitachi Canada

In this episode we discuss...

  • Howard Shearer’s background in the nuclear industry before becoming Hitachi Canada’s CEO
  • Providing technical solutions to clients with multi-sector collaboration
  • The Future implementation of nuclear technology across sectors
  • Corporate responsibility and the social impacts of nuclear energy deployment
  • How large multinational corporations can support technology development and implementation
  • Data security in the energy generation industry
  • Importance of continuing education in the energy industry
Mar 15, 2019
Ep. 139 - Matthew Mairinger, North American Young Generation in Nuclear

In this episode we discuss...

  • Matthew Mairinger’s passion for nuclear engineering and the nuclear industry
  • A deep dive into the North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NAYGN)
  • How industry youth groups are influencing the future of nuclear energy
  • Tools developed to educate and prepare the next generation of nuclear engineers
  • The importance of bridging the gap between clean energy industries
  • The power of everyday conversation in restoring the public’s confidence in nuclear energy
  • How small modular reactors (SMR’s) could change the future of energy in rural Canada
Mar 14, 2019
Ep. 138 - Colleen DeMerchant, Nuclear Insurance Association of Canada

In this episode we discuss...

  • How Colleen DeMerchant got involved in nuclear insurance
  • Why Fukushima has made nuclear site safety even stronger
  • How nuclear insurance pools work and why they foster important collaboration between insurers
  • How SMRs will diversify nuclear liability coverage in the future
  • Why extending nuclear liability time may raise questions and concerns in the insurance industry
  • How insurers are meeting higher liability amounts for the nuclear industry across the world
Mar 13, 2019
Ep. 137 - John Barrett, Canadian Nuclear Association

In this episode, we discuss...

  • John Barrett's push for Canada to become a leader of clean global nuclear energy
  • How John helps develop verification processes for nuclear disarmament and arms control
  • How John's work in NATO and the Canadian Defense Department has helped safeguard nuclear energy
  • How John uses the skills he gained as a speechwriter to help make nuclear policies more accessible to the public
  • John's work as the Canadian Ambassador to Vienna
  • How just 4 or 5 CANDU nuclear reactors in Alberta would virtually eliminate their provincial carbon footprint
  • How CANDU nuclear reactors are garnering a new kind of relationship with traditionally difficult governments
  • How Canada has helped reduce the use of carbon fuels with their CANDU reactors on a global scale
Mar 12, 2019
Ep. 136 - Zhong He, University of Michigan

In this episode we discuss...

  • Zhong He’s path to physics and the study of radiation detectors
  • How different materials interact with gamma rays in semiconductor detectors
  • Using electrons and electron whole pairs to determine gamma ray energy
  • The impact of charge trapping in semiconductor detectors
  • Practical application of high precision gamma rays
  • Benefits of radiation imaging compared to radiation sensing
  • Calculating the location of gamma ray sources through the use of radiation detectors
  • How to support the next generation of physics education
Mar 08, 2019
Ep. 135 - Sara Pozzi, University of Michigan

In this episode we discuss...

  • How Sara Pozzi helped design international nuclear disarmament verification technologies at Oak Ridge
  • The difference between active and passive interrogation in detecting nuclear materials
  • Challenges of detecting nuclear materials smuggled in on container ships
  • What the IAEA is doing to help promote non-proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world
  • Why spent nuclear fuel is still a proliferation threat to the world
  • How the Department of Energy’s Consortium initiatives are training nuclear engineers for the workforce
  • Why Sara believes we need to be focusing on detecting and characterizing special nuclear materials to keep us safe
Mar 07, 2019
Ep. 134 - Alec Thomas, University of Michigan

In this episode we discuss...

  • Alec Thomas’ path to plasma physics at the University of Michigan
  • Challenges of modeling an atom
  • How laser plasma accelerators create energy
  • The interactions between charged particles and plasma wave oscillations
  • Benefits of plasma accelerators compared to high energy physics accelerators
  • The use of titanium-doped sapphire crystals in lasers
  • Plasma technology for medical applications
  • Economic advantages of laser plasma accelerators
Mar 06, 2019
Ep. 133 - James Duderstadt, University of Michigan

In this episode we discuss...

  • James Duderstadt's beginnings in science and academia and his journey through the nuclear industry
  • James’ work on Project Rover, an American project to develop a nuclear thermal rocket
  • Why James believes nuclear energy is a viable answer to reversing climate change
  • How the University of Michigan played a crucial role in the creation of the Internet and pioneered the Hathi Trust digital library project
  • How regulated markets have driven up the price of building nuclear plants in the United States
  • Why big companies aren’t investing in higher education anymore
  • The incredible benefits Artificial Intelligence could mean for nuclear and the obstacles James believes AI must first overcome
Mar 05, 2019
Ep. 132 - Steven Freel, Studsvik Scandpower

In this episode, we discuss...

  • How Steven Freel began work in the nuclear industry building nuclear control room simulators
  • Steven’s path through the nuclear industry, including his time at startup companies like Singer Link (now GSE Systems)
  • How Steven’s unconventional approach to leadership helped spotlight him for CEO of Studsvik Scandpower
  • Ways in which Studsvik Scandpower is changing how fuel is chosen and managed at power plants
  • The divisions of Studsvik and ways in which the company’s new software technologies are making power plants more efficient
  • Steven’s vision for the future of nuclear and what it will take to change public perception
Mar 01, 2019
Ep. 131 - Joshua Goldstein, Author of A Bright Future

In this episode we discuss...

  • Joshua Goldstein’s background as an environmentalist and politician
  • Sweden’s successful build-up of nuclear power and lessons learned from Germany’s build-up of renewable power
  • How to normalize nuclear energy by educating the public on its risks and benefits
  • Future global energy demand and the necessity of nuclear energy
  • Promotion of global decarbonization with a nuclear power backbone
  • Impacts of marketing in developing public perceptions of different energy sources
  • Creating a smarter economy to solve climate change
  • Goals of the Nuclear Energy Modernization Act for future reactor licensing
Feb 22, 2019
Ep. 130 - Eddie Guerra, Arup

In this episode we discuss...

  • The renewed enthusiasm by vendors and contractors for nuclear power in the Americas
  • Why public perception needs to improve to make nuclear power a viable option in some areas
  • Advancements in structural analysis techniques allow for more robust plant designs
  • How younger engineers and Puerto Ricans are impacting the nuclear industry in a positive way
  • Why United States nuclear industry leaders are relied upon to advance nuclear interests worldwide
  • How SMRs offer opportunities to advance nuclear power generation in the U.S. and worldwide
  • How SMR design allows for core cooling without reliance on external power sources
  • Ways in which Puerto Rico could implement SMRs to meet their energy needs
Feb 15, 2019
Ep. 129 - Rex Geveden, BWX Technologies

In this episode we discuss...

  • Rex’s academic background & background at NASA
  • Rex’s focus at Teledyne Technologies
  • How Rex transitioned to nuclear
  • BWXT’s role supporting US Navy
  • Market innovation at BWXT
  • Technology innovation at BWXT
  • Other clients of BWXT
  • Future of nuclear energy in U.S.
Feb 08, 2019
Ep. 128 - Susan Eisenhower, The Eisenhower Group

In this episode we discuss...

  • Susan Eisenhower on growing up as the granddaughter of President Dwight Eisenhower
  • The origins of her fascination with US-Soviet relations
  • How her career began in corporate strategic marketing and took her to arms control and nuclear energy
  • The Megatons to Megawatts Program
  • The benefits of a cross-disciplinary approach to problem-solving
  • How nuclear energy makes the world not just cleaner, but safer
  • Why policymakers need a better strategy for international relations, for nuclear energy, and for climate change
  • What it will take to make headway on climate change
Feb 01, 2019
Ep. 127 - Philip Sharp, United States Congress

In this episode we discuss...

  • Philip Sharp’s entrance into politics and energy policy
  • Significant changes in the energy industry in the 1970s and 80s
  • Environmental regulation vs. economic regulation
  • Sharp’s accomplishments in Congress
  • The role of educational institutions such as Harvard in energy
  • The overall role of RFF
  • Sharp’s research with RFF
  • The future of energy policy in the US and the world
Jan 25, 2019
Ep. 126 - Stephen Burns, Nuclear Regulatory Commission

In this episode we discuss...

  • Lessons learned from the Three-Mile Island accident
  • The importance of information sharing among the nuclear industry to increase safety
  • Refocusing of priorities regarding the NRC’s regulatory responsibilities
  • Post 9/11 refocusing on safety and robust engineering
  • Implementing lessons learned from the Fukushima accident
  • Functions of the NRC and reactions to recent events
  • Collaboration among countries and joint research projects are beneficial to the nuclear industry
  • Prospects for the future of the nuclear industry
Jan 18, 2019
BONUS Episode: Season Farewell
Nov 26, 2018
Ep. 125 - Mark Lewis, Tri Alpha Energy

In this episode we discuss...

  • Mark Lewis’ career trajectory in finance and energy as Head of Global Business Development at General Electric and Chief Business Officer at Tri Alpha Energy
  • Mark Lewis’ work acquiring Amersham, Silex, and Hitachi Nuclear Energy for General Electric
  • How Tri Alpha Energy radiation-free fuel path uses hydrogen and boron for nuclear fusion
  • Nuclear fusion efforts to provide a large firm load of carbon-free and radiation-free energy
  • Driven by natural disasters, the focus on micro grids and the need for grid resiliency and lower carbon energy
  • Tri Alpha Energy’s use of plasma physics and accelerator physics to stabilize plasma in nuclear fusion
  • How terrestrial fusion and plasma physics can be used to provide carbon-free energy
  • How to finance a lower carbon economy with wind, solar, and nuclear power
Nov 22, 2018
Ep. 124 - Bob Mumgaard, Commonwealth Fusion Systems

In this episode we discuss...

  • Bob’s background in fusion and personal journey in the nuclear industry
  • Bob’s day-to-day as Chief Executive Officer at Commonwealth Fusion Systems
  • Bob’s graduate work at MIT researching new technologies to solve fundamental challenges with fusion
  • Superconductors, their applications, and how Bob has significantly contributed to their productization
  • The mechanisms that enable superconductors to operate at very high temperatures
  • Why only 3 of over 100,000 superconductors have been commercialized
  • How collaboration between academics and industrialists is helping to drive fusion technology into the marketplace
  • Bob’s mission to expedite superconductivity commercialization so that it can be deployed globally
Nov 21, 2018
Ep. 123 - Dennis Whyte, MIT

In this episode we discuss...

  • Dennis’ background and personal journey in the nuclear industry
  • A deep dive into tokamaks and their innerworkings
  • The definition of a plasma
  • Why heat and density are crucial to successful fusion and the material challenges involved
  • How tritium is extracted from lithium
  • Requirements to prevent coolant itself from becoming radioactive
  • Design challenges surrounding fusion systems including pumps and their inability to distinguish between helium and unburned fuel
  • The physics of magnetism
  • Dennis’ mission to change the global nuclear industry through his work at MIT to make fusion economically viable
Nov 20, 2018
Ep. 122 - Jacopo Buongiorno, MIT

In this episode we discuss...

  • Jacopo’s background in techno-economic analysis and personal journey in the nuclear industry
  • Jacopo’s work at the Idaho National Laboratory before he returned to his alma mater MIT as a professor of nuclear science and engineering
  • Lead-bismuth reactors and the processes within
  • Jacopo’s contributions to MIT Energy Initiative’s recent report, “The Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World”
  • Why Jacopo believes when it comes to reducing cost we should focus on improving construction methods rather than changing coolant or fuel
  • A breakdown of the costs involved in building a new plant
  • Inaccuracies in cost prediction surrounding AP-1000 and EPR and ways in which we can improve cost prediction
  • The benefits of assembling several microreactors to take advantage of economies of multiple versus economics of scale of size
  • Shipyard building and how Jacopo’s research at MIT works to reduce construction costs
Nov 19, 2018
Ep. 121 - Mark Lesinski, Canada Nuclear Laboratory

In this episode we discuss...

  • Mark’s background in biology and personal journey in the nuclear industry
  • A behind the scenes look at the Canada Nuclear Laboratory team and how each department coordinates with the others
  • The lifecycle of nuclear plants and Mark’s evolution from repairing to decommissioning plants
  • The decommissioning of Rocky Flats Plant, a nuclear weapons production facility that now serves as a model for other decommissioning projects
  • The cleanup processes involved in decommissioning
  • Mark’s work with British Nuclear Fuels Limited and then later as Chief Nuclear Officer for Magnox South
  • Chalk River Laboratories and its important place in nuclear history
  • Challenges with media and public perception surrounding nuclear energy and weapons
  • A deep dive into CANDU (Canada Deuterium Uranium) reactors
  • The benefits of SMRs and Canada Nuclear Lab’s mission to facilitate global implementation
Nov 16, 2018
Ep. 120 - Rosaura Ham-Su, Canada Nuclear Laboratory

In this episode we discuss...

  • Rosaura’s interest in nuclear from a young age and her journey through the industry
  • Rosaura’s PhD in material science at McMaster University where she focused on ceramics processing
  • A deep dive into the importance of ceramics processing in regards to creating nuclear fuel
  • Magnetic shape memory alloys
  • Challenges associated with fuel processing and manufacturing and how Canada Nuclear Labs is working to overcome them
  • What drives requirements for creating new fuel from spent fuel and the economics involved
  • Canada Nuclear Lab’s research regarding new fuels and their increased safety
  • The ratio of plutonium-239 and plutonium-240 and how it changes over fuel’s lifespan within a reactor
  • The importance of waste management technology to nuclear success
Nov 15, 2018
Ep. 119 - Metin Yetisir, Canada Nuclear Laboratory

In this episode we discuss...

  • Metin’s background in mechanical engineering and personal journey in the nuclear industry
  • A deep dive into CANDU (Canada Deuterium Uranium) reactors
  • The inner mechanisms that cause steam reactor tubes to fail and how we’ve overcome this issue
  • Metin’s work in thermal performance and degradation studies
  • The neutronics and safety systems in PWRs and BDWs versus those in light water reactors
  • A breakdown of supercritical water
  • How technologies and designs within supercritical coal plants could potentially be recycled to create supercritical nuclear plants
  • Lessons learned from light and heavy water reactors and how Canada Nuclear Labs is applying those lessons to new technologies
  • The Pan-Canadian SMR Initiative and its mission to facilitate global implementation
Nov 14, 2018
Ep. 118 - Corey McDaniel, Canada Nuclear Laboratory

In this episode we discuss...

  • Corey’s background in nuclear engineering and personal journey from Los Alamos to Canada Nuclear Labs
  • The history of US nuclear including the Nuclear Renaissance and the Energy Policy Act of 2005
  • Corey’s contributions to nuclear startup NuScale Power
  • Challenges in nuclear across India and Asia including infrastructure, training, and corruption
  • Corey’s work for an electrical supplier of cabling and the safety systems involved
  • International issues with CFSI (Counterfeit Fraudulent Suspect Items) and their toll on public trust
  • Canada Nuclear Lab’s world class hot cells
  • The future of Canada Nuclear Lab and its work surrounding light water reactors and sustainability
  • A deep dive into fuel qualification
  • Canada’s new build market and the significant role it plays in the global industry
Nov 13, 2018
Ep. 117 - Kathryn McCarthy, Canada Nuclear Laboratory

In this episode we discuss...

  • Kathryn’s background in nuclear engineering and personal journey in the nuclear industry
  • The evolution of fusion and a deep dive into liquid metal magnetohydrodynamics
  • Kathryn’s work with liquid metal magnetohydrodynamics in the Soviet Union
  • A deep dive into volatilization
  • The Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative aka The Fuel Cycle R&D Program and Kathryn’s work optimizing the backend of the fuel cycle
  • Low level waste repositories and the political challenges surrounding new repository sites
  • Canada Nuclear Lab’s mission to promote SMR’s (small modular reactors)
  • How a healthy dynamic between national laboratories and the industry can spur implementation
  • Canada Nuclear Lab’s work in the hydrogen space
  • Canada versus US regulation timelines and alternative paths to expedite licensing
  • Canada Nuclear Lab’s research surrounding radiation and targeted alpha therapy and their potential impact on the industry at large
Nov 12, 2018
Ep. 116 - Janice Dunn Lee, International Atomic Energy Agency

In this episode we discuss...

  • Janice Dunn Lee’s 40-year journey through nuclear from her position in Export Licensing at the NRC to that of Deputy Director General at the IAEA
  • Janice’s early career in Export Licensing at the NRC including her work preventing the weaponization of nuclear materials and reactors through IAEA safeguards
  • The relationship between Congress and the NRC and the ways in which Congress oversees build and appropriations
  • Intricacies of international nuclear agreements including 123 agreements for nuclear cooperation between the US, Japan, and China
  • The importance of bilateral and multilateral cooperation agreements in helping countries learn the regulations, inspection processes, and licensing in other countries
  • The decline of U.S. leadership in the nuclear field against Russia and China and the negative effects this could pose for the industry’s future
  • Humanitarian aspects of nuclear and the IAEA’s work in human health including cancer therapy and ebola prevention
  • How credible, relevant nuclear advocates can help reignite the US nuclear industry
Nov 09, 2018
Ep. 115 - Ed Pheil, Elysium

In this episode we discuss...

  • Ed’s background in the US Navy and his personal journey in the nuclear industry
  • Ed’s work designing nuclear submarines, aircraft carriers, and space crafts for the Navy
  • General Dynamics and Huntington Ingalls and their respective roles in nuclear construction
  • Uranium hexafluoride gas reactors and the processes within
  • Nuclear opponents and their negative effects on the construction and licensing processes
  • How the US nuclear industry is working to overcome supply chain challenges including replacing medium enriched uranium with plutonium
  • Table salt’s important role in recycling spent fuels
  • The economics of fuel storage
  • A deep dive into fuel and reactor lifetimes
  • The plant Ed envisions including its total power output and the regulatory and financial hurdles involved
Nov 08, 2018
Ep. 114 - Jarret Adams, Full On Communications

In this episode we discuss...

  • Jarret’s background in journalism and his personal path in the nuclear industry
  • How writing about nuclear has evolved over the last few decades
  • Key policy measures that helped to define the nuclear industry
  • Different nuclear content audiences and stakeholders and their unique communication needs
  • Challenges of writing about nuclear at a private entity
  • Importance of portfolio strategies and diversification of energy sources
  • Challenges of non-standard measurements when writing about fuel cycles
  • Driving new communication strategies within the nuclear industry
  • A deep dive into media tactics in nuclear industry communications
  • Balancing decreasing trends in energy consumption with drive for industry growth
  • IAEA and international nuclear audience communication needs
Nov 07, 2018
Ep. 113 - Seth Grae, LightBridge

In this episode we discuss...

  • Seth Grae’s background in law and personal journey in the nuclear industry
  • The origin of LightBridge and its consultative history
  • Proliferation risk in traditional light water reactors
  • Safeguarding against weaponization of nuclear fuel byproducts
  • Fukushima and its impact on the nuclear industry
  • Challenges that are driving the future focus of LightBridge
  • A deep dive into the design process at LightBridge
  • LightBridge’s joint venture with Framatome
  • Next steps for commercialization of LightBridge’s new fuel technology
  • The importance of new fuel sources for the future
Nov 06, 2018
Ep. 112 - Thomas Graham, US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

In this episode we discuss...

  • Thomas’ personal journey from his position as United States House Committee on Banking and Currency to Ambassador of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
  • Thomas’ role in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
  • The history of Thomas’ company Thorium Power (now Lightbridge) and the work he did with Russian nuclear scientists to improve the fuel cycle
  • How nuclear energy actually played a vital role in halting the spread of nuclear weaponry
  • Thomas’ work advocating nuclear and his book Seeing the Light
  • The minimal human health hazards of nuclear compared to those of other energy sources - especially coal
  • Nuclear’s many environmental benefits including the prevention of climate change
Nov 05, 2018
Ep. 111 - David Kropaczek, Oak Ridge National Labs

In this episode we discuss...

  • David’s work as Director for the U.S. Department of Energy innovation hub, Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors
  • Core design and refiguration of fuel between cycles
  • Influence of temperature on water density and its effect on the reactor
  • Inherent safety of light water reactors
  • PWR and BWR reactors
  • Independent analysis of reactor core design and fuel optimization
  • Global trends and interactions in the nuclear field
  • Focus of CASTLE, energy innovation hub at NC State
  • CRUD-induced power shift and CRUD-induced localized corrosion
  • Pellet clad interaction
  • Thermohydraulics, dry spots, and departure of nucleate boiling
  • The Future of CASTLE and its contributions to the nuclear industry
Nov 02, 2018
Ep. 110 - Lou Qualls, Oak Ridge National Labs

In this episode we discuss...

  • Lou’s background in fusion and personal journey in the nuclear space
  • Lou’s work as the national technical director for molten salt reactors
  • Stellarator versus tokamak plasmas
  • The important roles of neutral beams and pellets
  • Challenges in nuclear fission
  • Uses of hydro reactors in scientific testing   
  • A deep dive into Project Prometheus and space power initiatives
  • The resurgence of interest in molten salt reactors
  • The Advanced Reactor Technology program within the U.S. Department of Energy
  • Common challenges among developers and ways in which we can overcome them
  • Interactions of fission products with salt
  • Designing for contingency versus replacement
Nov 01, 2018
Ep. 109 - Kurt Terrani, Oak Ridge National Labs

In this episode we discuss...

  • Kurt’s background in microelectronics and early interest in nuclear energy
  • Kurt’s work as a nuclear fuel materials expert at Oak Ridge
  • The importance of modeling in establishing predictive practices
  • The value and role of national labs in driving big innovation within the industry
  • The Transformational Challenge Reactor Program
  • Stagnancy within the nuclear industry and ways in which we can overcome it
  • Whether or not advanced manufacturing will have a true impact on nuclear economics
  • SMRs and how they can benefit nuclear economics
  • Challenges of proving safety within the NRC regulations and guidelines
  • Pushing the boundaries of new materials within the nuclear industry
Oct 31, 2018
Ep. 108 - Phil Ferguson, Oak Ridge National Labs

In this episode we discuss...

  • Phil's background in nuclear engineering and personal journey in the nuclear field
  • A deep dive into spallation and how it occurs
  • The Spallation Neutron Source
  • The process of conceptualization to commissioning for SPN
  • The evolution of the fusion industry over the last 40 years
  • Requirements and inherent challenges in achieving fusion
  • Different types of pellets and their uses
  • Strategies for mitigating damage to the wall of the fusion reactor vessel
  • The ITER Home Fusion Experiment
  • Challenges in developing fusion across both national science approaches and private fusion companies
Oct 30, 2018
Ep. 107 - Alan Icenhour, Oak Ridge National Labs

In this episode we discuss...

  • Alan’s background in the Navy and personal journey in the nuclear space
  • The role and history of ORNL in the Manhattan Project and across the broader nuclear field
  • Information that can be shared from Navy nuclear experiences to the private sector
  • Characteristics of plutonium 238 and reasons for use
  • The evolution of radioactive waste disposal
  • Alan’s work as Associate Laboratory Director at ORNL
  • Creating and implementing a long-term strategic plan for ORNL
  • Development of radio isotopes in other industries, like actinium 225 for targeted alpha therapy in cancer treatment
  • Development and production of californium 222
  • A deep dive into the Transformational Challenge Reactor Project
  • Learnings and innovation from accelerated deployment and advanced manufacturing techniques
Oct 29, 2018
Ep. 106 - Larry Smith, Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant

In this episode we discuss...

  • Larry’s background in the Navy and personal journey in the nuclear space
  • Differences between reactors on Navy submarines versus private sector
  • Thermal fatigue monitoring program use in determining maximum cycles
  • Different roles and responsibilities across plant operations
  • The role of quality assurance within a nuclear plant and the responsibilities entailed
  • Differences in QA between nuclear and other energy fields
  • Safety features implemented at Calvert Cliffs
  • Emergency preparedness levels, procedures, and simulations
  • Environmental stewardship and the benefits of nuclear to climate
  • A deep dive into inspections and licensing for nuclear plants
Oct 27, 2018
Ep. 105 - Dean Divittore, Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant

In this episode we discuss...

  • Divittore’s background growing up near and working at Three Mile Island
  • Dean’s work as Radiation Protection Manager at Exelon
  • Radiation exposure levels of nuclear power plant workers
  • ALARA versus linear thresholds for radiation exposure
  • What is a Geiger counter and how is radiation measured?
  • Areas of a power plant that have radioactive activity
  • What are the sources of radiation shielding and how do they work?
  • A deep dive into fuel defects
  • Hot spots and how they form in a controlled environment
  • Flushing and hydrolazing
  • Use of robotics, cameras, drones, and VR in identifying leaks
  • The planned shutdown of Three Mile Island in 2019
Oct 26, 2018
Ep. 104 - Trace Heffner, Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant

In this episode we discuss...

  • Trace’s background in nuclear engineering at Penn State and his personal journey in the nuclear field
  • Trace’s work and responsibilities as a reactor engineer at Calvert Cliffs
  • Exelon’s mentorship and training program
  • The processes behind planning and simulating for power maneuvers
  • Spin fuel storage and the processes for managing it
  • A deep dive into start-up testing and its purposes
  • Updated Final Safety Analysis Report (UFSAR)
  • Maintaining cooling during fuel changes
  • The Special Nuclear Material Custodian role
  • Improving disposal of nuclear waste materials
Oct 25, 2018
Ep. 103 - Nicholas Cahill, Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant

In this episode we discuss...

  • Nicholas’ background in computer science and his introduction to nuclear through the Navy
  • Nicholas’ work as a reactor engineer at Calvert Cliffs
  • An electrician’s responsibilities on a Navy submarine
  • Variables and strategies for planning where fuel is deployed and how often
  • The Exelon-Constellation merger
  • Power maneuvers and what prompts them
  • A deep dive into peaking factors
  • Additions and dilutions of boron for ongoing reactor maintenance
  • The role and focus of PWR
  • Nuclear advocacy in the community and improving public awareness and perception
Oct 24, 2018
Ep. 102 - Kevin Dougherty, Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant

In this episode we discuss...

  • Dougherty’s background and what led him to the nuclear field
  • A deep dive into the process of taking a submarine reactor critical for the first time
  • Primary, secondary, and electrical subsystems
  • Reactor coolant systems and the role of the relief valve
  • Part 21 process to alert others of a defect or issue with a particular part in a production batch
  • Environmental harmony of nuclear compared to fossil fuel production
  • System future-proofing and general practices of preventive maintenance during outages
  • Shift handoffs and operational flow of activity at a nuclear site
  • How operational rigor of nuclear industry is being used to set best practices in other industries
  • The importance of cross-functional input in making operational decision
Oct 23, 2018
Ep. 101 - Mark Flaherty, Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant

In this episode we discuss... 

  • Mark’s background and family history in the nuclear field
  • Mark’s work as Site Vice President at Calvert Cliffs
  • The origin and evolution of PRA (Probabilistic Risk Assessment)
  • Differences between two-loop combustion reactors and two-loop Westinghouse reactors
  • Commonalities in auxiliary systems between pressurized water and boiling water reactors
  • Common challenges that occur in everyday plant operations
  • Advantages and considerations around building power plants near natural water sources
  • Fostering a culture of open dialogue and inclusion within the plant
  • Strategies for lengthening time between outages and shortening overall outage time
  • Regulation and deregulation within the nuclear industry
  • Improving cost efficiency of nuclear power
Oct 22, 2018
Ep. 100 - Bret Kugelmass, Titans of Nuclear

In this episode we discuss...

  • Bret’s background in robotics and his first company Airphrame, an unmanned aerial imaging service
  • Bret’s interest in climate and energy and how he came to enter the nuclear industry
  • Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Discipline
  • Dwight Eisenhower’s important role in setting the tone for nuclear energy
  • Titans of Nuclear and Bret’s mission to positively shape public perception surrounding nuclear technology
  • A behind the scenes look at Titans of Nuclear and the experts Bret interviews
  • How nuclear politics, economics, and perspectives vary around the world
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency and its role in guiding prospective nuclear countries
  • Nuclear’s incredible energy density and lack of emissions compared to other energy sources
  • Ways we can make nuclear more accessible and how Bret works to do that with Titans of Nuclear
  • The benefits of healthy competition in the nuclear world
  • The future of Titans of Nuclear and how Bret aims to help the nuclear industry through the podcast and other entrepreneurial avenues
Oct 15, 2018
Ep. 99 - Gary Mignogna, Framatome (US)

In this episode we discuss...

  • Gary’s background in mechanical engineering and personal journey through the nuclear field
  • Gary’s work as president and CEO at Areva and his leadership approach and vision for Framatome
  • Framatome’s legacy of innovation and its commitment to future technology
  • Framatome’s partnership with LightBridge
  • Challenges and opportunities within digital INC innovation
  • Economics of maintaining and extending life of existing nuclear plants
  • Innovation in fuel technology, maintenance tools, and new reactor technology
  • Educating policymakers on advantages of nuclear
  • China’s trajectory in the nuclear space
  • The global importance of nuclear energy and Framatome’s role in securing future nuclear success
Oct 12, 2018
Ep. 98 - Curtis Van Cleve, Framatome (US)

In this episode we discuss...

  • Curtis’ education at VMI and personal journey through the nuclear industry
  • What is a steam cut?
  • Challenges of repairs in boronated water and other environments unique to nuclear plant machinery
  • Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA), Ultrasonic Inspection (UT), and process for repair and replacement of nuclear components
  • Periodic scheduling of inspections for maintenance
  • Moving from need-based to predictive maintenance
  • Peening and other techniques for stress relief
  • Economic challenges of building new plants
  • Upgrades and improvements provided during component replacement
  • Extending coping time for the next generation of innovation
Oct 11, 2018
Ep. 97 - Craig Ranson, Framatome (US)

In this episode we discuss...

  • Craig’s background in robotics and shock peening
  • Cycle of production, refueling, and mechanical maintenance at nuclear plants
  • Use of inspection probes and robotics in steam generator maintenance
  • Trends in maintenance innovation over last few decades
  • Causes of component degradation and solutions to limit/reduce
  • Division of responsibilities and unique challenges in managing outages/refueling cycles
  • Remaining challenges in plant maintenance to be addressed with new technology
  • Innovation in plant maintenance dissemination throughout the industry
  • Technologies on the horizon like high-pressure cavitation peening
  • Dealing with inspection, regeneration, and replacement of aging plant materials
Oct 10, 2018
Ep. 96 - Bob Freeman, Framatome (US)

In this episode we discuss...

  • Bob’s personal journey in the nuclear industry
  • Bob’s work in Nuclear Fuel Commercial Operations at Framatome
  • Different types of nuclear fuel design
  • Switching out fuel type as a means of reducing enrichment
  • Ways in which fuel is designed for the commercial sector
  • Processes and procedures within a full-scale fuel fabrication facility
  • Who are the commercial sector buyers of nuclear fuel?
  • What types of new fuels are currently being developed and what needs prompted their conception?
  • What do typical nuclear fuel contracts look like and how do they differ from other industries?
  • Influence of cladding and temperature on the MHz limit
  • A deep dive into the process behind getting new fuel approved
Oct 09, 2018
Ep. 95 - Kam Ghaffarian, X-Energy

In this episode we discuss...

  • Kam’s background in engineering and his personal journey in the nuclear industry
  • A behind the scenes look at how Kam started X-Energy
  • Kam’s work at X-Energy developing Generation IV high-temperature gas-cooled nuclear reactor and fuel designs
  • Nuclear challenges and how Kam works to overcome them with methods including fixed cost and fixed timeline
  • Flaws with the application system and its steep cost for nuclear companies
  • Kam’s vision for the nuclear deployment schedule
  • The environmental and human benefits of nuclear energy including supplying clean water through desalination and other treatment
Oct 06, 2018
Ep. 94 - Ron Faibish, General Atomic

In this episode we discuss...

  • Ron’s background growing up in Israel and entering the nuclear field via the study of medicine
  • Ron’s work as Director of Business Development at General Atomic
  • IAEA demonstration of desalination process at Kazakhstan plant
  • Different techniques for desalination
  • Armenian nuclear history and safety concerns
  • Role of technical advisors and detailees across National Security Council and U.S. government committees.
  • Nuclear waste management and disposal
  • VSMRs / Micro Reactors and other niche nuclear products and solutions
  • Impact of silicone carbide for cladding
  • A deep dive into the EMC2 project
  • Innovation projects within General Atomics
  • General Atomic’s contributions as a government defense contractor
Oct 05, 2018
Ep. 93 - Joyce Connery, Nuclear Defense Safety Board

In this episode we discuss...

  • Joyce’s unique journey from study of poetry to international relations to the nuclear field
  • Joyce’s international experiences in the Peace Corps in Turkmenistan and later experiences in Kazakhstan in post Cold War era
  • The history of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency
  • The shutdown of the BN-350 fast breeder reactor in Kazakhstan
  • Joyce’s involvement in the 123 Agreements under the Bush administration
  • Joyce’s work as a detailee to the National Security Advisor
  • A deep dive into the IAEA’s Additional Protocol Agreement
  • The international impact of Fukushima
  • Joyce’s experience serving as the first Director of Nuclear Energy Policy within the Office of International Economics
  • Joyce’s appointment as Chairman on the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board
  • A look at the future of nuclear and the importance of improving public awareness
Oct 04, 2018
Ep. 92 - Umair Irfan, Vox

In this episode we discuss...

  • Umair’s background in journalism and biochemistry and his personal journey in the nuclear space
  • How Umair came to work for Vox and the reporting he does there on topics including climate and energy
  • A deep dive into Vox and its mission to provide explanatory journalism
  • The politics of nuclear energy
  • Nuclear experts Umair interviews and how he navigates their bias and vested interests
  • Improving climate change’s presence in the media and thus public perception
  • Umair’s mission to broaden the general public’s knowledge on nuclear and its opportunities
Oct 03, 2018
Ep. 91 - Paul Gunter, Beyond Nuclear

In this episode we discuss...

  • Paul’s background in human rights and environmental activism and his personal journey in the nuclear industry
  • The Peaceful Atoms and how it sparked Paul’s concerns surrounding nuclear technology
  • The advent of renewables including wind and solar and how the sector has evolved
  • Paul’s worries regarding the connection between uranium enrichment and weapons
  • The practicality of molten salt reactors
  • Flaws Paul sees in nuclear’s waste management cycle
  • The dangers of spent fuel on human health including the carcinogenic effects of radiation
  • Three Mile Island and the conflicting studies surrounding its consequences on human health
  • Bret and Paul discuss whether or not nuclear poses the fewest risks to the environment and human health compared to other energy sources
Oct 02, 2018
Ep. 90 - Bob Coward, MPR Associates

In this episode we discuss...

  • Bob’s background in mechanical engineering and his personal journey in the nuclear industry
  • The history of MPR and Bob’s role as Principal Officer
  • MPR’s work with power plants across the US and its critical role in US nuclear
  • Solutions for intergranular stress corrosion cracking in boiling water reactors
  • How Bob copes with the stress that comes with working in nuclear
  • The American Nuclear Society and Bob’s mission to increase its ranks as well as interest in younger generations
  • Why Bob believes nuclear is the most sustainable energy source and what it’s going to take to make it cost efficient and deployable across the world
Oct 01, 2018
Ep. 89 - Jeff Merrifield, Nuclear Regulatory Commission

In this episode we discuss...

  • Jeff’s background in environmental law and his personal journey in the nuclear industry
  • Challenges Jeff worked to overcome at the NRC including the issue of nuclear safety culture
  • Jeff’s work in business development for the Shaw Group
  • Advanced reactor technology including the molten salt reactor
  • Jeff’s work as an outside advisor to several groups including X-Energy which developed the Pebble-Bed High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor
  • The benefits of competition within the global nuclear industry
  • Why it’s crucial that the nuclear industry improve its communications strategies and thus public perception of the industry
Sep 29, 2018
Ep. 88 - Andrew Daniels, After Fukushima

In this episode we discuss...

  • Andrew’s personal journey in the nuclear industry
  • Andrew’s book After Fukushima
  • How nuclear’s adaptation or lack thereof has shaped our physical, social, and environmental history
  • How Chernobyl and Fukushima shifted nuclear public relations
  • How different countries view purchasing reactors versus homebuilt reactors
  • Why nuclear is ultimately safer than every other energy source particularly coal
  • The economics of nuclear waste and repositories including Yucca Mountain
  • The Linear No-Threshold Theory of Radiation
  • Why Andrew supports 1990s reactor designs over new designs
Sep 27, 2018
Ep. 87 - Margaret Harding, 4Factor Consulting

In this episode we discuss...

  • Margaret’s background in nuclear engineering and her personal journey in the nuclear industry
  • Margaret’s work with boiling water reactors at GE
  • The processes within phase changes in nuclear reactors
  • The physics of bubbles in boiling water reactors and how it allows greater fuel production, lower enrichment, and reduced cost
  • Tritium and the fears associated with it
  • International considerations surrounding fuel and a history of the global nuclear sector
  • How nuclear designs vary across the world - especially in the US, Europe, and Korea
  • The benefits of government involvement in nuclear
  • US regulations including the IAEA’s three phases necessary to build a nuclear power plant
  • The pitfalls of natural gas and other renewables and how they impede the nuclear industry
  • Nuclear’s environmental benefits surrounding climate change and why it’s important that the US work to set a precedent for the entire world
Sep 27, 2018
Ep. 86 - Milton Caplan, MZConsulting

In this episode we discuss...

  • Milton’s background in nuclear engineering and his personal journey in the industry
  • Improving nuclear’s ability to stay on time and on budget
  • Milton’s work understanding and minimizing operation risks
  • The history of Canada’s nuclear industry
  • Milton’s work as an independent consultant assisting with refurbishment projects in Canada including the Bruce Power refurbishment implementation agreement
  • Challenges with refurbishment processes and how Milton helped to overcome them
  • The World Nuclear University
  • Milton’s role in the Canadian small modular reactor sector
  • Natural Resources Canada’s initiative to create an SMR roadmap
Sep 26, 2018
Ep. 85 - Anurag Gupta, KPMG

In this episode we discuss...

  • Anurag’s background in mechanical engineering and his personal journey in the nuclear industry
  • The many changing processes that go into building a nuclear plant
  • The financial risk profile of a nuclear plant versus that of other energy sources
  • The government’s role in funding nuclear
  • How nuclear plants benefit Canada and its employment rate
  • KPMG’s work improving nuclear’s ability to stay on time and on budget and how that benefits public perception of the nuclear industry
  • How small modular reactors can streamline production, decrease cost, and increase nuclear scalability
Sep 25, 2018
Ep. 84 - Amy Harder, Axios

In this episode we discuss...

  • Amy’s background in journalism and her personal journey in the nuclear industry reporting on energy from the Wall Street Journal to Axios
  • How energy plays a role in economics and politics including the natural gas boom during the Obama era
  • The evolution of energy in the media and its impact on public perception
  • The pendulum swing of US energy regulations
  • Nuclear’s environmental benefits and the ways in which it can aid our carbon solution and work against climate change
  • Amy’s view of trends in electricity grids, coal, oil and natural gas, and nuclear
  • The importance of the US’s leadership role in guiding the global nuclear sector
Sep 24, 2018
Ep. 83 - Tina Taylor, EPRI

In this episode we discuss...

  • Tina’s background in chemical engineering and her personal evolution in the nuclear industry
  • Tina’s early work at Northeast Utilities helping to manage the start up of Millstone 3
  • The chemical processes involved in a steam generator
  • B&W Nuclear Technologies aka Framatome
  • Different reactor types and their chemical components
  • Comparing the overall environmental impact and health risk across different energy sources including nuclear
  • Risk-based versus prescriptive approaches to licensing new designs in the US
  • Key drivers of research in plant modernization including technology to automatically monitor chemistry
  • Ways we can improve the economics of nuclear safety
Sep 22, 2018
Ep. 82 - Al Csontos, EPRI

In this episode we discuss...

  • Al’s background in material science and his personal journey in the nuclear industry from the NRC to EPRI
  • Ways in which the NRC regulates civilian use of nuclear materials and its role at Yucca Mountain
  • A deep dive into pitting and dry cask storage
  • Various material degradation methods including crevice corrosion
  • The safety and economic benefits of dry storage
  • EPRI’s research improving fuel rod coating to slow down oxidation and prolong fuel cycle within a pressurized water reactor
  • Ways in which EPRI is working to accelerate the deployment of these concepts
  • Test reactors and how they’re working to expedite material qualifications
Sep 21, 2018
Ep. 81 - Andrew Sowder, EPRI

In this episode we discuss...

  • Andrew’s background in physics and optics and his personal journey in the nuclear industry
  • An understanding of the metal wastes like uranium in weapons facilities and their effect on the environment
  • How uranium becomes radon
  • Chernobyl and how the facility was salvaged after the accident
  • A deep dive into accident tolerant fuels
  • The neutronics of silicon carbide versus zirconium
  • Improving nuclear safety and cost efficiency
  • Energy parks and their potential role in nuclear success
  • EPRI’s recent study on factors that control nuclear destiny including economics and policy
Sep 20, 2018
Ep. 80 - Dave Gandy, EPRI

In this episode we discuss...

  • Dave’s background in welding and his personal journey in the nuclear industry
  • The advantages of welding versus a flange
  • The history of ultrasonic inspection welds
  • Fatigue and creep in fossil plants
  • How data collected from materials testing in fossil plants now contributes to the nuclear industry
  • Temperatures required in coal plants versus those required in nuclear plants
  • The use of 3D printing in additive manufacturing on an industrial scale
  • Improving the time and cost of producing small modular reactors and Gen IV reactors
  • Manufacturing’s vital role in increasing nuclear’s scalability
Sep 19, 2018
Ep. 79 - Rob Austin, EPRI

In this episode we discuss...

  • Rob’s background in history and his personal evolution in the nuclear industry
  • Design flaws that led to the Three Mile Island accident
  • Rob’s work in plant modernization managing major electrical and digital upgrades at plants in the US
  • Pros and cons of analog systems versus digital systems
  • The core inputs essential to safety control in a plant including coolant flow and temperature parameters
  • Economic challenges in nuclear and how we can replace manual labor with automation to help overcome those challenges
  • Concerns over software common cause failure
  • Lessons we can learn from upgrade deficiencies in other countries
  • How cybersecurity is maintained in digital systems
  • How plant modernization methods are working to dramatically reduce the operation and maintenance costs required in nuclear
Sep 18, 2018
Ep. 78 - Dan Wells, EPRI

In this episode we discuss...

  • Dan’s background in chemical engineering and his personal journey in the nuclear industry
  • Dan’s work studying lanthanides and actinides
  • The different types of research and development an independent nonprofit organization like EPRI provides to utilities
  • The contributing factors within primary and secondary coolants and how they alter the chemistry of oxides on materials
  • Where plants get their water and the purification processes involved
  • How water’s chemistry changes over the lifetime of a reactor why that led to the introduction of alloy 690 in steam generators
  • Boric acid’s critical role in maintaining power level in a reactor
  • Automation in the water chemistry analysis space
  • Dan’s current work providing the data necessary to qualify switching from lithium 7 to potassium hydroxide
Sep 17, 2018
Ep. 77 - Neil Wilmshurst, EPRI

In this episode we discuss...

  • Neil’s background in the British Navy and his personal journey in the nuclear industry
  • Neil’s work as a system engineer at Sizewell
  • The Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) and its work to increase a power plant’s capacity factor and uptime
  • Understanding a plant’s realtime risk profile
  • EPRI’s relationship with the nuclear industry and where it gets its funding
  • EPRI’s research surrounding operations and maintenance cost as well as capital cost
  • EPRI’s long term work supporting small modular reactors
  • Gen IV reactors and what we need to do now to support their implementation in the coming decades
Sep 16, 2018
Ep. 76 - Eric Ingersoll, Energy Options Network

In this episode we discuss...

  • Eric’s personal evolution in the nuclear industry and his entrepreneurial endeavors including General Compression
  • Eric’s work as one of the world’s leading climate change analysts and advisors
  • A deep dive into natural gas cavern storage
  • How a combination of cheap gas and lack of demand for electricity nearly eliminated the wind development industry
  • Why compressed air storage and wind energy can’t solve the global carbon emission problem
  • System constraints Eric established while determining how to bring carbon-free electricity to the entire world and how advanced nuclear fits within those constraints
  • Commercialization development and deployment challenges with advanced reactors and how we can overcome them
  • The Nuclear Cost Driver Study
  • Ways in which we can reduce the cost and time required in the construction process to increase nuclear’s scalability
Sep 14, 2018
Ep. 75 - Gene Grecheck, Dominion Energy

In this episode we discuss...

  • Gene’s background in nuclear engineering and personal journey in the nuclear industry
  • The history of nuclear in the US including the aftermath of the Three Mile Island accident
  • Plant designs including Westinghouse’s AP1000 and GE’s ESBWR
  • The importance of documenting assumptions and managing margins when it comes to nuclear design and performance
  • The role of redundancy in safety function
  • Economic challenges that impeded the nuclear renaissance
  • The environmental benefits of nuclear including its lack of pollutants such as SO2 and nitrous oxide
  • Why the market doesn’t yet recognize those benefits and how today’s oversupply of gas slows down the push for nuclear energy
  • Challenges we must overcome to reach a worldwide consensus on the necessity of nuclear
Sep 13, 2018
Ep. 74 - Richard Barrett, Nuclear Regulatory Commission

In this episode we discuss...

  • Richard’s background in physics and engineering and his personal journey in the nuclear industry
  • Richard’s work at Los Alamos creating codes to calculate ways in which neutrons interact with devices including nuclear and fusion reactors
  • Different groups in which neutrons are categorized depending on their energy range and cross section
  • A deep dive into the Fast Breeder Reactor Program sponsored by the Department of Energy
  • Richard’s work in various departments at the NRC including the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation
  • The highly precise processes within frontline safety systems
  • How the NRC interacts with developers to bring forth new technologies including the AP600
  • Risk informed nuclear oversight and the probabilities it takes into consideration
  • Accident circumstance design deficiencies the NRC has worked to resolve throughout its history
  • Richard’s recent work with AdSTM providing consulting and training to regulatory bodies including the NRC
Sep 12, 2018
Ep. 73 - Kemal Pasamehmetoglu, Idaho National Labs

In this episode we discuss...

  • Kemal’s background in thermodynamics and personal evolution in the nuclear industry from Los Alamos to Idaho National Labs
  • A deep dive into the Loss of Coolant Accident Scenario
  • Complete loss of coolant versus partial loss of coolant and the aftermath of both
  • Kemal’s research in nuclear fuels and especially light water reactor fuels
  • Kemal’s thoughts on the relationship between the US government and nuclear industry and ways to overcome its flaws
  • Idaho National Lab’s GAIN (Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear)
  • Kemal’s focused role on a new test reactor and its significance in research and development in nuclear technology
  • Building support for nuclear in US Congress
  • A behind the scenes look at designing a versatile reactor
Sep 11, 2018
Ep. 72 - David Blee, US Nuclear Industry Council

In this episode we discuss...

  • David’s personal journey through the nuclear industry from executive vice president of NAC International to president of the US Nuclear Industry Council
  • The history of energy in the US including the Advanced Reactor Program and why it went under
  • Why closing the back end of the fuel cycle is important to worldwide trade in the nuclear sector
  • The origins of the US Nuclear Industry Council and its start as a backend focus group
  • A deep dive into Yucca Mountain’s past, present, and future
  • The Nuclear Industry Council’s two main focuses of advanced technology and supply chain and the significance of each
  • International competition in the nuclear industry and the US’s edge in human capital
  • Financing challenges in the US and how we can overcome them
  • David’s outlook on the US nuclear industry including potential non-light water reactor startups microreactors at the Department of Defense complex
Sep 10, 2018
Ep. 71 - Paul Howarth, National Nuclear Laboratory (UK)

In this episode we discuss...

  • Paul’s personal evolution in the nuclear industry working at Capehurst, Berkeley, and now at the NNL ---
  • A deep dive into nuclear fusion technology ---
  • Japan’s reprocessing technology efforts ---
  • Paul’s work at the NNL and how he gained the position of CEO ---
  • The inner dynamics of a government and contractor-operated national lab model ---
  • Political, financial, and technological challenges the industry must overcome to secure nuclear as our primary energy source ---
  • Improving communications strategies surrounding nuclear safety to increase trust and public discourse ---
  • How building more can work to increase confidence, decrease risk, and thus reduce cost
Sep 07, 2018
Ep. 70 - Ian Scott, Moltex Energy

In this episode we discuss...

  • Ian’s background in biology and personal evolution through the nuclear industry ---
  • Economic challenges within the industry ---
  • A deep dive into molten salt fuel and its chemical makeup including uranium chloride ---
  • The efficiency of uranium oxide versus uranium metal ---
  • Why heat can be stored at a large scale while electricity cannot ---
  • Why molten salt reactors are safer and thus cheaper when it comes to materials and construction ---
  • The life cycle of molten salt reactors ---
  • Why fast reactors aren’t sustainable ---
  • How testing in a non-radioactive environment speeds up the time to fuel qualification ---
  • The pros and cons of different nuclear regulators ---
  • Challenges with funding between the government and investors ---
  • Ian’s positive outlook on nuclear’s future and solving its two key problems of cost and energy storage
Sep 06, 2018
Ep. 69 - Alastair Laird, European Nuclear Society

In this episode we discuss...

  • Alastair’s personal evolution in the nuclear industry from working with the first Magnox reactor to his position as president at the European Nuclear Society ---
  • A deep dive into the fuel loading process and human factory challenges it poses ---
  • Light water reactors versus gas reactors ---
  • The processes that go into synchronizing turbines to the grid ---
  • The fine-tuned chain reactions necessary to generate steam ---
  • Alastair’s work at the ENS advocating for nuclear and the politics involved ---
  • Improving communications strategies surrounding nuclear safety ---
  • Alastair’s positive outlook on nuclear and its progress towards becoming renewable
Sep 05, 2018
Ep. 64 - Andrew Storer, Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Center

In this episode we discuss...

  • Andrew’s personal evolution in the nuclear and submarine industries ---
  • US naval reactors and the features Andrew helped design ---
  • Information sharing and collaboration between the US and the UK in the nuclear space ---
  • Andrew’s work for Rolls-Royce’s civil nuclear business developing manufacturing techniques ---
  • The history of the AMRC and all that it contributes to the nuclear space including manufacturing innovation ---
  • Applying the best shipbuilding practices to modular-building ---
  • Cryogenic CO2 machining ---
  • How the nuclear industry can benefit employment rates ---
  • How we can make new nuclear builds more cost effective ---
  • The AMRC’s supply chain development program
Sep 05, 2018
Ep. 67 - Kirsty Gogan, Energy for Humanity

In this episode we discuss...

  • Kirsty’s interest in the environment and how it led her into the nuclear industry ---
  • A breakdown of climate change’s various current and potential consequences ---
  • The science of persuasion in educating the general public on climate change ---
  • Sir David MacKay’s book Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air and how it shaped Kirsty’s view of nuclear ---
  • Why renewables aren’t good enough alone as a sustainable energy option ---
  • Kirsty’s communication strategies to help increase public discourse on nuclear among the public and especially among environmentalists ---
  • The UK’s communications response to Fukushima and the lessons learned about nuclear safety protocols ---
  • Kirsty’s work at Energy for Humanity to help make nuclear more cost effective, scalable, and viable as a sustainable energy source
Sep 05, 2018
Ep. 68 - Dame Sue Ion, Fmr. British Nuclear Fuels

In this episode we discuss...

  • How Sue earned her title of “Dame” ---
  • Sue’s background in material science and personal evolution in the nuclear industry ---
  • A deep dive into the UK’s Magnox fuel elements ---
  • The history of nuclear in the UK including its advanced gas coal reactors and its high temperature reactor “Dragon” ---
  • The defamation characteristics and manufacturing routes of reactor clads and challenges Sue worked to resolve ---
  • Dry processes versus wet chemical processes ---
  • The economics and life cycles of waste and decommissioning in nuclear versus other industries ---
  • Modularity and its construction costs ---
  • Sue’s current work at BNFL engaging vendors with constructors
Sep 05, 2018
Ep. 65 - Jay Shaw, Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Center

In this episode we discuss...

  • Jay’s personal evolution from manufacturing to business within the nuclear industry ---
  • A deep dive into neutrology ---
  • Disruptive nuclear techniques and their purpose ---
  • How the AMRC is working to make welding more cost and time efficient with electron beam welding ---
  • The AMRC’s disciplines including subtractive and additive techniques as well as the science of measurement ---
  • Disciplines the AMRC is looking to expand to including modular manufacturing and equipment qualification ---
  • The AMRC’s shop floor and the work that goes on there ---
  • The AMRC’s collaboration with the US on a nuclear naval fleet ---
  • The relationship between manufacturing innovation and supply chain development ---
  • Challenges Jay believes we must overcome for nuclear to be truly successful including building a power plant to cost and schedule
Aug 30, 2018
Ep. 66 - Charles Carpenter, Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Center

In this episode we discuss

  • Charles' personal evolution in the nuclear industry ---
  • Opinion on the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in his home state of Nevada ---
  • Forging and its role in nuclear ---
  • Charles’ work in quality assurance in the forging industry ---
  • A deep dive into two-phase heat transfer and its processes --- Human factory challenges and ways the AMRC is working to overcome them ---
  • The ins and outs of steam generators ---
  • Techniques the AMRC is working on to increase welding efficiency ---
  • Single platform manufacturing and how it’s improving nuclear cost and time efficiency
Aug 30, 2018
Ep. 63 - Bill Magwood, Nuclear Energy Agency (OECD)

In this episode we discuss...

  • Bill’s personal evolution in the nuclear industry, including his work at USNRC and General Director of the NEA ---
  • A history of the NEA and OECD ---
  • Bill’s work developing technology programs within the US Department of Energy, including the advanced light water reactor and programs encouraging college students to study nuclear engineering ---
  • The Nuclear Energy Research Advisory Committee and its Nuclear Energy Research Initiative ---
  • How Bill helped prevent nuclear engineering programs from collapsing in universities across the US with investments from Congress ---
  • The Generation for International Forum and its work promoting nuclear ---
  • How Japan has responded to reinforcing its nuclear infrastructure against earthquakes after Fukushima ---
  • A deep dive into the Nuclear Innovation 2050 initiative and its work to expedite the nuclear cycle ---
  • What’s in store for the future
Aug 24, 2018
Ep. 62 - Milko Kovachev, International Atomic Energy Agency

In this episode we discuss...

  • Milko’s personal evolution in the nuclear industry and his work at the International Atomic Energy Agency ---
  • Light water reactors versus pressurized water reactors ---
  • Chernobyl and the design deficiencies that had to be addressed following the accident ---
  • Long term systems for radioactive waste and spent fuel management ---
  • Steps to guiding countries towards becoming nuclear ---
  • A look at the processes and timelines involved in becoming a nuclear country ---
  • The future of small modular reactors ---
  • Challenges the world may have to overcome with the surge of interest in nuclear energy 
Aug 23, 2018
Ep. 61 - David Shropshire, International Atomic Energy Agency

In this episode we discuss... 

  • David’s background in industrial engineering and work at the Idaho National Laboratory ---
  • David’s current and future work at IAEA ---
  • A deep dive into different radioactive wastes and the regulations surrounding their management and disposal ---
  • Carbon capture and sequestration ---
  • How our agricultural practices (particularly soil conservation) affects climate change ---
  • Gen 4 reactors and their advanced fuel cycles ---
  • The economics of a closed fuel cycle versus an open fuel cycle --
  • Different recycling schemes including MOX fuel with recycled plutonium ---
  • Technical solutions to integrate nuclear with renewable energy systems ---
  • The correlation between poverty and energy poverty and ways in which solving the latter can solve the former ---
Aug 22, 2018
Ep. 60 - Malcolm Grimston, Imperial College of London

In this episode we discuss...

  • Malcolm’s background in psychology ---
  • Malcolm’s work in public perception and nuclear politics at the Atomic Energy Authority and beyond ---
  • A summary of Malcolm’s books including Civil Nuclear Energy and Double or Quits: The Future of Civil Nuclear Energy ---
  • A look at the relationship between the public, scientific-technical sphere, and political spheres ---
  • The political and psychological aftermath of Fukushima ---
  • Why the general public is afraid of nuclear despite it being the safest energy source ---
  • Ways in which the nuclear industry can improve its communications strategy to dispel fear ---
  • The lethal pitfalls of regulations surrounding radiological protection ---
  • Why “nuclear going wrong is better than coal going right” --- 
Aug 21, 2018
Ep. 59 - Bernard Bigot, ITER

In this episode we discuss...

  • Bernard’s personal path through various nuclear institutions including his position as Vice Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Areva
  • A history of the nuclear industry and France’s many contributions
  • A deep dive into fusion energy and the processes involved
  • Energy’s fundamental role in the world’s social and economic development
  • The ins and outs of ITER’s research surrounding nuclear fusion and plasma physics
  • And where Bernard sees the future of nuclear
Aug 17, 2018
Ep. 58 - Valerie Faudon, French Nuclear Society

In this episode we discuss...

  • Valerie’s diverse educational background and how it applies to her job today
  • Her personal evolution through the nuclear field
  • The French Nuclear Society’s research surrounding nuclear and the environment including safety and waste, climate, air pollution, biodiversity, and the use of worldwide resources
  • The unique, symbiotic relationship between the French government and the French Nuclear Society and how more countries can adopt a similar dynamic
  • Valerie’s positive outlook on the future of nuclear and human progress
Aug 16, 2018
Ep. 57 - Fiona Rayment, National Nuclear Laboratory (UK)

In this episode, we discuss...

  • Fiona’s background and her personal evolution in the nuclear field
  • A deep dive into Boron Neutron Capture Therapy and how it works to treat cancerous tumors
  • A breakdown of NNL and its role in the nuclear field
  • Fiona’s outlook on nuclear’s development cycle and whether or not it can be expedited
  • District heating and why applying nuclear to heat can increase cost efficiency
  • The steps Fiona believes necessary to nuclear’s success as a sustainable energy source
Aug 15, 2018
Ep. 56 - Luc Van Den Durpel, Nuclear-21

In this episode, we discuss...

- His personal path through various nuclear institutions including Argonne and his current efforts at Nuclear-21

- Nuclear sustainability and the pros and cons of different ways to handle spent fuel

- Hurdles including challenges with qualification and supply and market that nuclear must leap to become truly accepted as a sustainable energy option

- And where Luc sees the future of nuclear

Aug 15, 2018
Ep. 55 - Geoffrey Rothwell, Economics of Nuclear Power

In this episode, we discuss...

  • A deep dive into the economics of nuclear power.  

  • The evolution of the uranium enrichment industry and the processes involved.  

  • Causes behind significant fluctuations in the value of uranium throughout history.  

  • The enrichment capabilities of different countries.  

  • Separative work units and how they apply to enrichment processes.  

  • The necessity for negative bidding in the nuclear industry.  

  • A look at Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison’s respective impacts on the electric and nuclear industries.  

  • An explanation for the multiple definitions of SMR (Small Modular Reactors).  

  • The grave pitfalls of market-driven approaches to energy and their impact on climate.  

  • Historical symptoms of climate change including the receding glaciers.  

  • Approaches we can adopt to decrease energy’s cost of capital.  

Aug 10, 2018
Ep. 54 - Troels Schönfeldt, Seaborg

In this episode, we discuss...

  • Troels' personal evolution and how he came to start Seaborg Technologies.  

  • How Seaborg has advanced to become the largest technical reactor development team beyond Asia.  

  • Compact molten salt reactors and how they work to increase nuclear sustainability.  

  • Troels' optimistic outlook on the future of nuclear technology.  

  • The impact of nuclear energy on both global warming and global poverty.  

Aug 09, 2018
Ep. 53 - Mathijs Beckers, Climate Zero Hour

In this episode, we discuss...

  • Mathijs' inspiration and personal evolution in the nuclear field.  

  • A deep dive into the world-wide energy dilemma.  

  • The economics of natural resources and renewables.  

  • The flawed assumptions surrounding stability of natural resources and renewables.  

  • The disparity between OECD and non-OECD consumption and its potential future implications.  

  • Consumerism's significant role in the energy equation.  

  • Paradigm shifts Mathjis believes OECD countries must undergo in order to reduce their energy consumption.  

  • Ways in which nuclear energy can play a vital role in preventing climate change.  

  • Saving the world from energy poverty.  

  • Our dwindling carbon allowance and how it dictates the solutions available to us.  

Aug 08, 2018
Ep. 52 - Wade Karlsen, VTT

In this episode, we discuss...

  • The fields of metallurgy and powder metallurgy.  

  • How the various fields function within the processes of shaping and forging steel.  

  • The molecular interactions involved in creating different types of steel.  

  • 3D printing and how it is used to forge materials otherwise difficult to manipulate. 

  • Wade's personal evolution from a student of metallurgy to VTT's Laboratory Director.  

  • A deep dive into the research conducted at the VTT Centre for Nuclear Safety.  

  • Flexible, multi-scale experimental environments for material testing.  

  • The future of material science and its vital role in the nuclear space. 

Aug 07, 2018
Ep. 51 - Rauli Partenen, The Climate Gamble

In this episode, we discuss...

  • Rauli's blog about oil's unique properties and his interest in the nuclear field.  

  • The concept of Peak Oil and why a dependence on oil is a problem.  

  • Writing "The Climate Gamble" and the three arguments incorporated into the book.  

  • How the distribution of literature about nuclear can clear misconceptions held by others.  

  • Problems in messaging from the nuclear industry over the last 40 years.  

  • The importance of not talking about nuclear safety culture.  

  • Communication theory as it relates to nuclear industry.  

  • Rauli's research on the applications of nuclear energy and high temperature reactors.  

  • Public and political discourse about nuclear energy.  

  • Combining heat and power and its effect on energy production.  

  • The negative consequences of banning coal and the importance of coming up with alternatives.  

  • Where to go to learn more about nuclear.  

Aug 03, 2018
Ep. 50 - Ville Tulkki, VTT

In this episode, we discuss...

  • Ville's previous misperceptions about nuclear energy and how he overcame them.  

  • Generation 4 and how the new reactors can be more economic, more versatile, and safer.  

  • The Super Critical Water Reactor and the neutronics behind it.  

  • Fuel Behavior Analysis and what exactly it entails.  

  • The Halden Reactor in Norway.  

  • Modeling responses to pressure differentials.  

  • The potential applications of Small Module Reactors.  

  • Why the amount of electricity SMRs can bring to the grid are more flexible than the current fleet.  

  • A comparison of the load-following capabilities of SMRs and larger power plants.  

  • Ice-breaker reactors on their ships.  

  • The different industries that can use nuclear heat.   

  • Why it is necessary for the nuclear industry to advocate for the use of nuclear energy.  

Aug 02, 2018
Ep. 49 - Atte Harjanne, Helsinki

In this episode, we discuss...

  • Atte's interest in history and his involvement in politics during University.  

  • Researching the socioeconomic impact of climate change.  

  • The history of the Finnish people and political institutions.  

  • The relationship between politics and climate policy.  

  • How approaches to solving problems and talking about politics have changed over time.  

  • The various political parties in Finland and their platforms.  

  • Working at the intersection of research and politics.  

  • The advantage of being able to communicate science to politicians and vise-versa.  

  • Perceptions of the nuclear industry in Finnish politics and society.  

  • How the idea of renewable energy is a problem.  

  • Why we are lacking incentives to act on climate change.  

  • What changing our priorities look like and a market-driven approach to climate change.  

  • The benefits and disadvantages of regulating the removal of fossil infrastructure completely.  

Aug 01, 2018
Ep. 48 - Toni Hemminki, Fennovoima

In this episode, we discuss...

  • Toni's interest in environmental protection, energy, and climate change.  

  • The culture in Finland.  

  • His involvement in the steel industry and their relationship with nuclear.  

  • Innovative projects surrounding heat consumption and the issue's importance in Finland.  

  • Energy procurement and investing in the nuclear industry.  

  • The impact of nuclear energy on climate change v. other forms of energy.  

  • Other parties involved in establishing new nuclear companies.  

  • What the current nuclear landscape in Finland looks like.  

  • Why it is important to collaborate to solve challenges.  

  • The level of rigor required in building a nuclear power plant.  

  • What we learned about light water reactor meltdowns and how we can apply these lessons to future designs.  

  • Milestones in the power plant project.  

Aug 01, 2018
Ep. 47 - Michael Doser, CERN

In this episode, we discuss...

  • Michael's interest in particle physics and his work as a high energy physicist.  

  • The difference between antimatter and antiprotons.  

  • Annihilation and why the occurrence of antimatter collisions are more common than you think. 

  • Constituents of a normal matter atom.  

  • Measuring the gravitational effect between matter and antimatter.  

  • The Grand Unification Theory and understanding gravity.  

  • Why understanding high energy physics is crucial to diagnosing and treating cancer and tumors.  

  • How high energy physics has led to the commercialization of technology.  

  • The catch of using gamma therapy to treat tumors and what must be done instead.  

  • Using accelerators to drive the production of thermal neutrons.  

  • Ripping electrons off of normal atoms and how targeted annihilation can kill surrounding cells.  

  • Cost-drivers of the current system.  

  • Neutrinos and the DUNE Experiment.  

Jul 27, 2018
Ep. 46 - Giovanni Porcellana, CERN

In this episode, we discuss...

  • Giovanni's fascination with clean energy and his experiment on neutronics.  

  • Instrumentation and the uniqueness of sodium reactors.  

  • The role of particle accelerators in cancer treatments.  

  • Gaseous hydrogen and ionization.  

  • Developing technology and the impact of its commercialization.  

  • How the World Wide Web was originally developed to aid scientists. 

  • The MEDICIS Project and its potential contributions to the field of medicine.  

  • Deficits of current isotopes.   

  • The relationship between medical imaging and high energy physics.  

  • How an accelerator can impact radio isotope production.  

  • Dating art and understanding cultural heritage through the use of particle accelerators.  

Jul 26, 2018
Ep. 45 - Steven Goldfarb, CERN

In this episode, we discuss...

  • Steven's introduction to nuclear through physical chemistry.  

  • An explanation of CERN's mission and the Large Electron Positron Collider.  

  • Antimatter and the Z Boson.  

  • Why the effective mass of particles increase as you get closer to the speed of light.  

  • The misconceptions of particle collisions and an explanation of their interactions.  

  • The benefits of partnering with others in the industry.  

  • Collecting data through Z factories and the families of particles and quark.  

  • The Theory of Super-Symmetry and the Grand Unification Theory.  

  • Why it's better to refer to dark matter as invisible matter and its interaction with light in space.  

  • The ATLAS Experiment and photographing particle collisions.  

  • How measuring the Higgs Boson can help give us a new window into physics.  

Jul 25, 2018
Ep. 44 - Yves Desbazeille, Foratom

In this episode, we discuss...

  • Yves' start as a nuclear engineer at the Power Utility of France (EDF).  

  • How the perception of nuclear energy in France has changed over time.  

  • USEPR and developing the US version of a European pressurized reactor.  

  • How to make nuclear investment profitable in spite of low competition prices.  

  • The background behind and challenges of Hinkley Point C.  

  • The impact of the electricity market's volatility.  

  • Why Contract for Difference and economic modeling can help attract investors to the industry.  

  • The similarities and differences of the anti-nuclear movements in the US and Europe.  

  • FORATOM and its mission.  

  • Decision-making processes within the European Union and consequences of the Euratom Treat.  

  • The impact of Germany phasing out their nuclear power.   

  • What must be done to change the perception of the nuclear industry.  

  • What next generation technology looks like and what the future holds for the nuclear industry.  

Jul 24, 2018
Ep. 43 - Paul Murphy, Gowling WLG

In this episode, we discuss...

  • Paul's introduction to the nuclear industry as a project finance attorney for Bechtel.  

  • The definition and history of nuclear project financing.  

  • The ability and benefits of a state wanting to purchase a power plant v. a municipality.  

  • Issues associated with financial modeling.  

  • Innovative financing and financing from a lender's perspective.  

  • The benefits of regulation and deregulation of the market.  

  • Why competition in the market isn't always good.  

  • The disadvantages of using renewables both in construction and application.  

  • The economic impact of global warming and why messaging matters.  

  • Double standards that exist in the oil and nuclear industry.  

  • Why the US government and nuclear corporations need to come together and provide one voice.  

  • Bilateral relationships and the geopolitical nuances of the nuclear industry.  


Jul 20, 2018
Ep. 42 - Laura Holgate, International Atomic Energy Agency

In this episode, we discuss...

  • Laura's entrance into the nuclear field.  

  • Discovering how to reduce weapons of mass destruction through cooperation.  

  • The history behind and challenges of implementing the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction.  

  • The evolution of nuclear threats and the modern approach to securing nuclear materials.  

  • Nuclear Threat Initiative and its impact.  

  • Addressing the spent fuel pool in a facility outside Belgrade.  

  • How the Global Threat Initiative became a launchpad for addressing proliferation challenges.  

  • Laura's duties and accomplishments as an ambassador for the IAEA.  

  • Nuclear safety and security culture.  

  • Why bringing nuclear energy to a country can reduce the nuclear weapons risk.  

  • The challenges we face today in the international nuclear community.  

Jul 18, 2018
Ep. 41 - Ken Luongo, Partnership for Global Security

Episode Content:

  • Ken's start with the Nuclear Arms Control Program at the Association for the Advancement of Science.  

  • Why it is important to make technical nuclear concepts accessible to others.  

  • How the theory of arms control is viewed then and now.  

  • The lack of institutional adaptation and why it is essential to reform it.  

  • The Cooperative Threat Reduction and the Nuclear Security Summit Process.  

  • How the nuclear nonproliferation community and nuclear energy committee united.  

  • The prejudice against nuclear and the issue of nuclear geopolitics.  

  • The consequences of a disturbed supply chain.  

  • Why the global security regime for nuclear power must be improved.  

  • Cyber-nuclear and artificial intelligence.  

  • The importance of maintaining the "New Iron Triangle."  

Jul 16, 2018
Ep. 40 - Amanda Youker, Argonne National Lab

Episode Content:

  • Amanda's interest in chemistry and her work at a crime lab.  

  • A breakdown of molybdenum 99 and technetium 99m.  

  • Why metastable isotopes are useful for medical applications.  

  • What are ligins?  

  • From a security perspective, why it's in the US' interest to domestically produce molybdenum 99.  

  • The traditional and nontraditional methods of producing molybdenum 99.  

  • Tradeoffs of different production processes.  

  • The Argonne Molybdenum Research Experiment.  

  • Why precipitating uranium creates a hotspot.  

  • How corrosion can be beneficial in producing uranium peroxide precipitate.  

  • What's in store for the future.  

Jul 13, 2018
Ep. 39 - Tom Fanning, Argonne National Lab

Episode Content:

  • Tom's introduction to the nuclear industry from a history project.  

  • How Trenoble reinforced the importance of nuclear and safety.  

  • Why reactor physicists are crucial when designing reactors.  

  • Unprotected loss of flow tests and unprotected loss of heat sync tests.  

  • Scram Systems and their importance during a shutdown failure.  

  • The Generation 4 International Forum.  

  • Why it's important to be involved and engaged in the international community.  

  • The difference in start-up procedures for sodium reactors and light water reactors.  

  • SAS and what code means in the nuclear world.  

  • Economic modeling for reactors and the future of sodium technology.  

Jul 12, 2018
Ep. 38 - Hussein Khalil, Argonne National Lab

Episode Content:

  • Hussein's fascination with reactor physics and kinetics.  

  • Methods used to recover detailed information of reaction rates in the core.  

  • The definition of course information.  

  • How reducing computational uncertainty allows you to design closer to material capability.  

  • Time-dependent changes to chemical structures.  

  • How predictions and data encourage the move away from light water reactors.  

  • Moving from spent fuel to used fuel.  

  • The implications of pyro-processing.  

  • The Generation 4 Initiative and the future of nuclear reactors.  

  • How to economically analyze technology options.  

  • The importance of having a diverse system of commercially-pursued technology.  

  • Addressing the challenge of bringing new technologies to the market.  

Jul 11, 2018
Ep. 37 - Chris Grandy, Argonne National Lab

Episode Content:

  • Chris' start in the Nuclear Propulsion Office Candidate Program.  

  • Training with the A1W Prototype in Idaho Falls.  

  • Technology development and sodium-cooled power plants.  

  • Improving the cost performance of technology.  

  • Advanced and vessel refueling machines.  

  • Sodium and its different mediums.  

  • The history of metal and the importance of building to increasing scale for commercialization.  

  • Alkaline metal technology development.  

  • Function of the cold trap in a sodium loop.  

  • The differences between a sodium system and a light water system.  

  • Aqueous and pyro processing technology development 

  • The importance of maintaining the US' technology edge and knowledge base 

Jul 10, 2018
Ep. 36 - John Stevens, Argonne National Lab

Episode Content:

  • John's introduction to nuclear during his work with the Geological Survey.  

  • How radiocarbon dating actually works.  

  • The interdisciplinary nature of the nuclear industry.  

  • In what circumstances types of fuels are considered efficient.  

  • Energy produced with plutonium v. uranium.  

  • Core-reload strategies and how it can save billions in electricity production.  

  • Improving efficiency without compromising safety.  

  • The importance of economies of scale and innovation culture.  

  • Why studying the effect of radiation on materials is important.  

  • Isotope production and its different medical applications.  

  • Stress-test procedures and radioactive contrast.  

  • A discussion about high density fuel.  

Jul 09, 2018
Ep. 35 - Spencer Weart, The Rise of Nuclear Fear

Episode Content:

  • Spencer's start studying the history of science at the American Institute of Physics.  

  • Unraveling the origin of the French Nuclear Program.  

  • The intersection of nuclear fear and politics.  

  • The role of psychology in understanding public reluctance towards nuclear energy.  

  • The interaction between carbon dioxide and oceans; the significance of climate change.  

  • A discussion of the race between technology and the evolution of human morality.  

  • How nuclear imagery can affect our perception of nuclear energy.  

  • The importance of political culture in the international sphere.  

  • The outlook of nuclear energy, moving forward.  

Jul 06, 2018
Ep. 34 - Ken Canavan, Westinghouse

Episode Content:

  • Ken's start doing safety analysis, including his work at Three Mile Island.  

  • How probabilistic risk assessment correlates to what happens at plants.  

  • An overview of the risk-informed regulation movement in the 90's.  

  • The role of vents during nuclear plant accidents.  

  • Nuclear maintenance, plant engineering, and risk assessment.  

  • The best strategies to control fission products after severe accidents.  

  • Severe accident analysis and international collaborations.  

  • Defining HEPA filters and identifying its impact.  

  • The roadmap to commercialization and the importance of identifying the market.  

  • Why research and development is crucial to form partnerships.  

Jul 04, 2018
Ep. 33 - Chad Painter, National Nuclear Security Administration

Episode Content:

  • Chad's time as a Navy Nuke.  

  • What makes one reactor in a submarine more advanced than another reactor?  

  • Challenges faced when constructing, designing, and managing a reactor.  

  • The effect of Three Mile Island on the perception of nuclear and its consequences.  

  • Distinguishing between fast reactors and thermal reactors.  

  • A discussion on sealed source weapons-grade plutonium.  

  • An in-depth look at boiling water reactors.  

  • An overview of the IAEA and the evolution of light water reactors.  

  • How nuclear technology can reduce energy poverty.  

Jul 02, 2018
Ep. 32 - John Hopkins, NuScale

Episode Content:

  • John's start working with Fluor Corporation and his transition to NuScale.  

  • A discussion about the potential of NuScale's SMR in the global market.  

  • The necessity of forging public-private relationships.  

  • An overview of constraints nuclear start-ups face.  

  • The importance of having a sustainable supply chain.  

  • The impact of driving down costs on demand.  

  • What the next generation of reactors will look like and the future of the environmental movement.  

  • How economics trump politics with the SMR design.  

  • The benefit of youth development and cultivating passions.   

  • Applications of SMRs and what the world will look like in the future.  

Jun 29, 2018
Ep. 31 - Lenka Kollar, NuScale

Episode Content:

  • Growing up as an environmentalist and making the transition to the nuclear industry.  

  • The importance of humanizing nuclear technology.  

  • International Safeguards and Policy.  

  • Taking a state-level approach v. facility-level approach when it comes to safeguards.  

  • The community-based approach and applications of SMRs.  

  • How important it is to train and provide opportunities for the next generation.  

  • Perceptions of nuclear energy in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and the US.  

  • How to best learn about nuclear if you're not already familiar with it. 

Jun 28, 2018
Ep. 30 - Tom Mundy, NuScale

Episode Content:

  • Tom's start as a Shift Technical Advisor implementing transient response implementing procedures.  

  • Nuclear Liability law.  

  • The importance of educating and familiarizing others with nuclear terms.  

  • Factors that determine whether technology is commercially attractive.  

  • Tom clarifies: who buys power plants?  

  • The features that make the NuScale's SMR design stand out.  

  • Segmenting the market: what to look for in domestic and international buyers.  

  • Levelized cost of electricity and the significance of acknowledging it through purchase.  

  • Domestic v. International Competition and an in-depth look at the international market.  

  • Painting a picture of the nuclear world in the future.  

Jun 27, 2018
Ep. 29 - Tom Bergman, NuScale

Episode Content:

  • Tom's unexpected interest in nuclear through the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Directorate.  

  • Reliability inspect and reliability engineering.  

  • An explanation of and the reasoning behind risk-informed categorization Rule 50.69.  

  • Tom's transition from the NRC to NuScale and the private sector.  

  • A detailed description of the content and tribulations of the licensing application.  

  • The formulation of management topics.  

  • The benefits of applying for and obtaining limited work authorization.  

  • Short-term challenges and long-term aspirations of the company.  

Jun 26, 2018
Ep. 28 - Jose Reyes, NuScale

Episode Content:

  • Jose's captivation with the nuclear industry during high school and college.  

  • The history, description, and findings of Counter Current Flow Limitation Testing.  

  • An overview of Jose's time as the Department Head of Nuclear Science and Engineering.  

  • Passive safety systems, the Bleed and Feed Approach, and the AP 600.  

  • Embodying full-scale behavior into a small-scale system.  

  • MASLWR: The Multi-Application Small Light Water Reactor.  

  • The importance of simplicity in design.  

  • How international competition and  natural gas empowered domestic unity.  

  • Future implications of NuScale's groundbreaking design on an international scale.  

Jun 25, 2018
Ep. 27 - Pete Lyons, NRC

Episode Content:

  • Pete's start in the weapons testing and Star Wars Program at Los Alamos National Lab.  

  • An in-depth look at the relationship between nuclear energy and nonproliferation.  

  • Pete's work with Senator Domenici to craft legislation for essential nuclear programs.  

  • A discussion of the Nuclear Cities and Lab to Lab Initiatives.   

  • Efforts Pete spearheaded at the NRC.  

  • The importance of mitigating Station Blackouts and implementing safety measures.  

  • Catalyzing a wave of innovation efforts through investment in research and development.  

  • Highlights about and the ingenuity of NuScale's small modular reactor design.  

  • Reflections upon the importance of US nuclear leadership in the global sphere.  

Jun 20, 2018
Ep. 26 - Ron Omberg, PNNL

Episode Content:

  • Ron's start with General Electric working on the D-Replacement Reactor.  

  • How thermohydraulics are used to raise exit temperatures and prevent a boiling coolant.  

  • The significance of plutonium-recycle test reactors and challenges of the program.  

  • An explanation of the physics behind the Fast Flux Test Facility.  

  • The advantages of a fast reactor.   

  • The definition of breeding.  

  • Why it is important to establish mutual and meaningful international partnerships.  

  • Russia and its closed cities.  

  • A discussion on the best way to embark designing new nuclear technology.  

  • Present advances in the nuclear technology sector and its implications for the future.  

Jun 14, 2018
Ep. 25 - Brady Hanson, PNNL

Episode Content:

  • Brady's start as a chemical engineer.  

  • An explanation of re-processing.  

  • Dry Storage: in theory and in practice.  

  • An in-depth look at the process and consequences of oxidizing spent fuel.  

  • The formation of the Nuclear Energy Research Initiative.  

  • A discussion about Yucca Mountain's effectiveness in disposing used fuel.  

  • Political obstacles that inhibit disposal solutions.  

  • A look at whether nuclear technology is safe and a comparison to other forms of energy.  

  • What's on the horizon for nuclear energy.  

Jun 13, 2018
Ep. 24 - Tara O'Neil, PNNL

Episode Content:

  • Tara's start as an archaeologist at Hanford Cultural Resources Laboratory.  

  • An explanation of the National Environmental Policy Act.  

  • A breakdown of environmental assessments and impact statements.  

  • The process of acquiring permits and the necessity of mitigating environmental impact.  

  • The Nuclear Renaissance and whether there is a second Renaissance emerging.  

  • The types of licenses and the renewal process.  

  • Likes, dislikes, and improvements that need to be done in the system.  

  • What the world will look like moving forward.  

Jun 12, 2018
Ep. 23 - Steve Unwin, PNNL

Episode Content:

  • Steve's start working on Probabilistic Risk Assessment with the UK Energy Authority.   

  • Sizewell B and the significance of the Wash 1400 safety study.   

  • Risk assessment v. risk perception.  

  • The definition of risk and why it is important to analyze it.  

  • The industry's transition to utilizing a risk-informed approach in design.  

  • A breakdown of the categorization of nuclear facilities.  

  • The viability, benefits, and challenges of extracting uranium from seawater.  

  • PNNL's relationship with the Hanford Site.  

  • A discussion of reprocessing through a risk assessment perspective.  

  • The Golden Age of Nuclear and when it will happen.  

Jun 11, 2018
Ep. 22 - Ed McGinnis, U.S. Department of Energy

Episode Content:

  • Ed's start at the US Department of Energy doing nuclear non-proliferation security work.  

  • The decisions behind Dirty Bomb Threat Reduction and Global Threat Reduction Initiative.  

  • The US' responsibility to continue its high standard of security and safety.  

  • How the US can compete against Russia and China's state-financed nuclear industries.  

  • The Department of Energy's role in the private nuclear market.   

  • Why the small modular reactor will pave the way towards a new nuclear generation.   

  • The difficulties of maneuvering politics and Presidential Administrations.  

  • Short-term challenges and creating an industry-led commercialization pathway.  

  • What the future of the industry will look like.  

Jun 06, 2018
Ep. 21 - Bill Stokes, Columbia Basin Consulting Group

Episode Content:

  • Bill's introduction to the nuclear industry through a co-op program at Drexel University.  

  • The importance of the design of a power plant and the logistics of its constructibility.  

  • The Nuclear Quality Assurance Requirements and the emergence of larger plants.  

  • Mitigating concerns, regulatory-driven changes after the Three Mile Island Accident.  

  • Prudence Litigation and the financial vulnerabilities within the nuclear industry.   

  • An explanation of the Single-Shell Tank Clean-Up Program.  

  • A discussion of the United States' departure from the nuclear industry.   

  • The Fast-flux Test Facility shutdown and exploring how to use radio isotopes for medical applications, such as cancer therapy.  

  • The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership and the Traveling-Wave Reactor.  

May 30, 2018
Ep. 20 - Jim Conca, Forbes
  • Jim's start as an extraterrestrial scientist and coordinator of shuttle activities.  

  • Transition to nuclear waste as he moved to PNNL as a geology pair with his wife, Judith.  

  • 3 styles of decision making in science policy: ignore science, make it the basis of the decision, retroactively justify the decision with science.   

  • Yucca Mountain is the wrong rock, dripping wet and corrosive.  

  • WIPP Carlsbad, New Mexico, Permian Basin has perfect salt chemistry.  

  •  A comparison between the future of China and the US' nuclear industries.  

  • Dilution as a waste mitigation strategy, discussion of Fukishima and Tritium.   

  • A discussion of how the media sources portrays expertise.   

  • A discussion of grout v. glass vitrification processes.  

  • Waste disposal methods, political contentions, and the power of the Constitution.  

May 23, 2018
Ep. 19 - Amy Roma, Hogan Lovells
  • Amy's work at the NRC's atomic safety licensing board on waste and interim storage.  

  • An overview of nuclear liability and explanation of the Price-Anderson act.  

  • Deploying technology abroad, the nuclear export control regime, 10CFR- Part 810, general & specific authorizations, 123 agreements, political considerations.   

  • The ability of national security to drive legal policies and decisions.    

  • How the "Gold Standard Provision" affects enrichment and reprocessing access.   

  • The implicit understanding behind "atoms for peace" initiative and the inverse correlation between energy production and weapons production.    

  • Addressing capital risk and the evolution of capital sources, including impact investing.    

  • Collaboration between nuclear developers (new and old) and climate-driven acceptance.  

May 16, 2018
Ep. 18 - Josh Freed, Third Way

Episode Content:

  • Josh's journey from American political history to Nuclear advocacy

  • Storytelling as a tool to motivate action

  • Third Way's focus areas, clean energy policies, and how they found advanced nuclear

  • How climate change and natural gas changed the perception and rules of energy

  • Identifying key changes such as: access to the lab & regulatory modernization

  • Questioning the role of public perceptions' influence on the industry

  • Across the aisle legislative efforts enabling the next generation of nuclear

  • Developing a consensus around technology, market, and research needs

  • De-Risking capital, technology, and regulatory risk moving into the future

May 09, 2018
Ep. 17 - Rita Baranwal, GAIN

Episode Content:

  • Rita's start in Materials Engineering at MIT, her transition into the space research world

  • Her work at Westinghouse in their fuel fabrication facility

  • Scouting "Game Changing" technologies across robotics, advanced reactors, advanced chemical engineering, advanced manufacturing, digital instrumentation and control

  • How her experience working between Westinghouse and the Labs helped her understand the shortcomings she needed to fix from the inside

  • GAIN initiatives: Vouchers, Workshops, Facilitating industry work with the labs

  • Fuel testing for advanced reactors and the need to build a domestic Fast Test Reactor

  • The formation of a 30 Million dollar per year for 5 years open ended funding opportunity

  • A quick discussion of the NRC modernizing their licensing framework

May 02, 2018
Ep. 16 - Don Wolf, ARC Nuclear

Episode Content:

  • The ARC origen story through resurrection of a decades old nuclear prototype EBR-2

  • A technical discussion on "closing the fuel cycle", "breeding", "electrochemical refining"

  • The advantages of ARC from a Waste, Cost, Safety and matching market conditions

  • A discussion of sodium and "pool type" vs "loop type" design

  • A discussion of metallic uranium fuel vs uranium oxide

  • Negative reactivity feedback characteristics enabled by neutron leakage

  • Historical examples of this style reactor's inherent safety features

  • A quick comparison of the four metal fuel designs ARC, PRISM, OKLO, and TERRAPOWER

  • Nuclear economics and how to balance economies of scale vs diseconomies of scale

  • Advantages of the Canadian Licensing Regime: 2 stages & risk-based approach

Apr 25, 2018
Ep. 15 - Rich Powell, Clearpath

Episode Content:

  • The origin story of Clearpath and politics role in the climate divide 

  • The "full toolkit" solution to world energy

  • The "more innovation and less regulation" approach to federal policy

  • An explanation of Production Tax credits and how they fit into energy markets

  • "Leveling the playing field" for zero emissions standards

  • How they focus on the innovation and the government's role in R&D

  • Refocusing the Department of Energy's R&D efforts with moonshot initiatives

  • Changing the paradigm of how we build new nuclear

  • Three other research groups intensely focused on understanding construction costs

  • China - and the risks of us ceding world nuclear leadership to them

  • Energy's role in international political relationships

  • The three things we need to move the industry forward...

Apr 18, 2018
Ep. 14 - Mark Peters, Idaho National Labs

Episode Content:

  • Mark's background in geology and how that ties in to spent fuel disposal

  • His lab career starting at Los Alamos, then Argonne, then INL

  • INL's history and role in developing nuclear technology

  • New technologies that help bring advanced reactors to fruition

  • Specifically how INL helps facilitate the commercialize new reactor technology

  • How the National Labs work with industry and role of R&D in US competitiveness

  • INL's work as the "underwriter's lab" of storage technology

  • How the various contributions of the national labs work as a whole system

  • How competing on ideas drives science forward

  • Smartgrid, cybersecurity, and design with resiliency in mind

  • The importance of multidisciplinary learning and

  • Mark's insight looking towards the future of technology 

Apr 11, 2018
Ep. 13 - John Kotek, Nuclear Energy Institute

Episode Content:

  • John's career at the Department of Energy, the National Labs, as an ANS congressional fellow, and in the private sector

  • Serving on the Blue Ribbon commission for nuclear waste management

  • Why deployment time is key to cost reduction

  • NEI's national nuclear energy strategy: Preserve, Sustain, Innovate, and Thrive

  • An explanation of "negative pricing" and the unintended consequences of tax credits

  • The long term strategic advantages that come form being a global energy supplier

  • Pros and Cons of various mechanisms the government can use to support the industry

  • How SMRs alleviate some of the market problems nuclear faces today

  • Some of the other all-stars at NEI: Maria, Dan, John, Pam, etc.

  • A key tale for nuclear reactor innovators... 

Apr 04, 2018
Ep. 12 - Jeff Harper, X-Energy

Episode Content:

  • Jeff's earlier career as an NRC vendor inspector 

  • The relationship between NRC and Industry including the balance of health and safety against cost and schedule 

  • His work with Westinghouse bidding on an South African nuclear build and the story behind their attempted development of the pebble bed

  • A description of the Pebble Bed technology advantages

  • Further details on the X-energy fuel and reactor technology

  • The role of Silicon Carbide in in TRISO Fuel 

  • An alternative safety approach to redundancy and defense in depth

  • The X-energy team composition and its founder Kam Ghaffarian 

  • How high temperature nuclear can be used for water desalination

  • Further details of X-energy's deployment strategy

Mar 28, 2018
Ep. 11 - Jessica Lovering, Breakthrough Institute
  • Jessica's start in Astrophysics, transition to Energy, and how she joined Breakthrough

  • The various topic areas the Breakthrough Institute focuses on and its origin story

  • The biggest challenge of Nuclear being cost and how to approach building differently

  • A review of modular construction techniques and readiness levels

  • Deployment timelines and how to make nuclear innovative

  • How construction costs differ across country

  • The market for exporting nuclear technologies and various factors that make it attractive

  • The importance of fuel reliability, export control, and security considerations

  • Canada's efforts on licensing advanced reactor technologies

  • Floating Reactors, Micro Reactors, Autonomous Reactors

Mar 21, 2018
Ep. 10 - Emma Redfoot, Fellow / Grad Student, INL (5/5)

Episode Content:

  • How Emma’s personal experiences abroad developed her interest in energy issues

  • Her dual participation in both technical research and social advocacy

  • How she got involved in Mothers for Nuclear and focus of Students for Nuclear

  • She discusses the relationship between INL and the several local universities

  • Developing a model in the nuclear fuel model simulator Cyclus

  • Then we do a deep dive into Cyclus itself and Emma’s efforts to evolve this model to incorporate a hybrid energy ecosystem as well

  • How she sees the role hybrid energy systems play in transforming the world

  • She also shares with us  an amazing perspective on what happens holistically when we make energy cheaper

Mar 14, 2018
Ep. 09 - George Griffith, Small Modular Reactor Coord, INL (4/5)

Episode Content:

  • The basics of fuel fabrication

  • What it’s like to live in the community around and to work at a Nuclear Power plant

  • A description of what happens when you reload fuel in a reactor

  • His work with the Light Water Reactor sustainability program and how they design ways to extend the life of the existing fleet

  • The function of the Advanced Test Reactor, the largest test reactor in the US

  • The role that Small Modular Reactors play in the future of the nuclear power industry

  • Nuscale’s efforts in commercializing SMR technology and

  • INL’s role in hosting a demonstration version of this technology and others

Mar 07, 2018
Ep. 08 - Shannon Bragg-Sitton, Hybrid Energy Labs, INL (3/5)

Episode Content:

  • Her fascinating entrance to the Nuclear field at an incredibly young age

  • An overview of space nuclear reactors

  • The wide variety of the different projects she’s participated in at INL

  • She dives into energy availability intermittency and transmission

  • Applying nuclear energy as an Industrial heat source, utilizing the steam for district heating, chemical process, water desalination, and how all this fits into broader energy ecosystem

  • The many uses of hydrogen and how it can be integrated in a nuclear system

  • Laboratory scale model validation of the worlds future integrated energy systems

Feb 28, 2018
Ep. 07 - Hans Gougar, Advanced reactor projects, INL (2/5)

Episode Content:

  • How Hans became interested in nuclear energy

  • An overview of the of pebble bed technology physics and materials

  • How high temperature can be safer than low temperature

  • The ups and downs of interest in the technology

  • He explains need to build expertise, infrastructure, modeling and new regulations just to lay the foundation for commercializing new technologies

  • Why even a 50MW pilot project is a large endeavor

  • The role INL plays as an independent auditor and fuel qualifier

  • He articulates the difference between pebblebed and prismatic reactors

  • We wrap up with where Hans sees the future of Nuclear technology

Feb 21, 2018
Ep. 06 - John Wagner, Asct Lab Dir, Nuclear Sci & Tech, INL

In part 1 of  5 in our special INL series we interview John Wagner, the Associate Laboratory Director of the Nuclear Science and Technology Directorate. If you’re not familiar with the structure of the National lab hierarchy… that title is a big deal. In the first half of the episode we discuss:


  • John’s entrance into the field and early experience at Oak Ridge National Labs
  • His expertise on developing new methods of understanding how radiation moves through matter
  • He talks us through the basics of spent fuel management and a briefer on the status of Yucca Mountain.
  • And in the second half we talk through the some of the facilities at INL
  • John gives us an overview of the five different divisions that fall under the Nuclear Science Directorate including: “Domestic Programs”, “Nuclear Fuels and Materials” “Fuel Cycle Technologies” “Nuclear Systems and Analysis” and “Regulatory Safety” divisions
  • What role the INL plays in advising the NRC
  • The three buckets of Advanced Reactor Design and INL’s history in facilitating R&D
  • He talks us through the concept of transients and how INL tests them
  • We touch upon a topic that’s very important to me, Energy Abundance
  • And we close out with a glimpse into some of the future work INL and John’s perspective into the promise of Nuclear Energy on the whole.


Feb 14, 2018
Ep. 05 - Rachel Slaybaugh, UC Berkeley

In this episode we interview Rachel Slaybaugh, who, before we were introduced, on three separate occasions was recommended as a must have on this program. She’s a professor at UC Berkeley, founder of the Nuclear boot camp which we’ll discuss shortly, and newest program director at ARPA-E. Today we discuss:

- Rachel’s introduction to nuclear science and technical expertise
- The genesis of the world’s first nuclear startup accelerator
- The need to use computation thoughtfully to replace or supplement experiments
- Her recent appointment as an Arpa-E program director
and it’s focus on supporting enabling technologies such as robotics, sophisticated sensing, model-based fault detection, and secure networks

Feb 07, 2018
Ep. 04 - Eric Loewen, GE Prism

In this episode we interview Eric Loewen, a leading Nuclear Scientist whose current work involves leading General Electric’s efforts to deploy the integral fast reactor called PRISM. We discuss:

  • His personal path through various nuclear institutions, work on climate change with congress, and current efforts
  • GE’s role in America’s nuclear history
  • A deep dive into the PRISM project and technology behind fast reactors
  • We touch upon the the hormetic effect of radiation and the effects of low dose
  • And where Eric sees the future of nuclear
Jan 31, 2018
Ep. 03 - Todd Allen, University of Wisconsin

In this episode we interview Todd Allen, one of the top U.S. experts in nuclear energy. Todd’s played a critical role in supporting the advancement of the next generation of nuclear technologies serving roles throughout our national lab system, in academia, the think-tank world and more. In this episode Todd’ reveals tremendous insights around:

  • The function of our national lab system in prototyping reactors and creation of user facilities to revitalize innovation on this front
  • Walking through various permutations of fuels, coolants, and approaches towards proving new technologies
  • Turning points in the history of commercial nuclear development, here in the US and abroad, and the recent resurgence of nuclear excitement
  • His contribution towards shaping policy at Thirdway, the clean energy think tank, and launching their first advanced nuclear summit.
  • We talk about the concept of prize based incentives and how they might apply to the nuclear space
  • Most importantly concrete steps how the can DOE restructure their efforts to best encourage innovation
  • At the very end he also offers a nugget regarding communication strategies to the public as well
Jan 24, 2018
Ep. 02 - Per Peterson, Kairos Power

In this episode we interview Per Peterson, professor at one of UC Berkeley's Nuclear reactors groups. He’s the world expert on Fluoride Salt Cooled High Temperature reactors and a founder of Kairos Power, an Oakland, CA based nuclear startup, pursuing commercialization of that same technology. He has a lot of insight to share in this space including:

  • The true cost drivers in plant construction and operations
  • Civil nuclear energy from the perspective of non-proliferation
  • Public misunderstandings around nuclear waste
  • Theories around various safety design approaches
  • Integral effects test facilities and their role in new reactor technology development
  • How market failures make it challenging to develop new reactors
  • Opportunities to borrow learnings from the success of the revitalization of the private space industry
Jan 17, 2018
Ep. 01 - Michael Shellenberger, Environmental Progress
In this episode we interview Michael Shellenberger who has been on the forefront of nuclear advocacy for over a decade. He’s the founder of Environmental Progress, a research and policy  organization, which in addition to putting together papers on Health and Safety, technology, innovation and economics also manages grassroots campaign efforts for preserving the existing Nuclear Fleet.
In this episode we discuss:
  • Michael Shellenberger’s personal evolution from a solar to nuclear advocacy
  • Common misconceptions around fukushima including the media’s role
  • We touch on concepts such on technocentrism, human consciousness, even question energy inevitability,
  • And then we review which arguments are more or less influential in readjusting the public's position
Jan 08, 2018
Ep. 00 - Bret Kugelmass introduces "Titans of Nuclear"

Host, Bret Kugelmass, introduces his nuclear energy themed podcast explaining his motivations around climate change.

Jan 08, 2018