The Future of Nuclear Energy: Have we entered a new era?

#Desalination #Nuclear #Renewable #Hydrogen

Virtual Fireside Chat Open to the Public

Are Climate Change, War in Ukraine, Inflation, and Fossil Fuel Supply Shortages Driving a Resurgence in Nuclear Energy?


Please join us on October 13, 2022, for a virtual fireside chat with Dr. Jacopo Buongiorno, Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT

Cost:  $5.00 plus Eventbrite fee (with IEEE2022 promotion code). 

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  • Date: 13 Oct 2022
  • Time: 05:00 PM to 06:30 PM
  • All times are (GMT-08:00) US/Pacific
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  • Co-sponsored by MIT Club of Northern California


Prof. Jacopo Buongiorno of MIT


The Future of Nuclear Energy


Jacopo Buongiorno is the TEPCO Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the Director of Science and Technology of the MIT Nuclear Reactor Laboratory. He teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in thermo-fluids engineering and nuclear reactor engineering. 

Jacopo has published 90 journal articles in the areas of reactor safety and design, two-phase flow and heat transfer, and nanofluid technology.  For his research work and his teaching at MIT he won several awards, among which the ANS Outstanding Teacher Award (2019), the MIT MacVicar Faculty Fellowship (2014), the ANS Landis Young Member Engineering Achievement Award (2011), the ASME Heat Transfer Best Paper Award (2008), and the ANS Mark Mills Award (2001). 

Jacopo is the Director of the Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems (CANES). In 2016-2018 he led the MIT study on the Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World.  Jacopo is a consultant for the nuclear industry in the area of reactor thermal-hydraulics, and a member of the Accrediting Board of the National Academy of Nuclear Training. He is also a member of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) Space Working Group, a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society (including service on its Special Committee on Fukushima in 2011-2012), a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, past member of the Naval Studies Board (2017-2019), and a participant in the Defense Science Study Group (2014-2015).

He earned a BS in Nuclear Engineering at Polytechnic of Milan in 1996 and his PhD in Nuclear Engineering at MIT in 2000.


With the Russian cutoff of natural gas to Europe and the trends toward de-globalization and supply chain security, the issue of energy security has risen to the top of national agendas throughout the world. California’s legislature and governor have approved a 5 year extension of the state’s last nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon, which generates 8% of the state’s energy. Japan’s prime minister has called for re-starting its nuclear plants and for a broader policy shift toward nuclear. Germany is postponing the closure of two of its remaining nuclear plants, suggesting perhaps a second Energiewende (completing a U-turn?). France is considering up to 14 new reactors. China has 21 nuclear plants under construction.  In the US, the Inflation Reduction Act provides subsidies for existing and advanced nuclear reactors. Many other countries are planning new reactors, too. These moves indicate a growing consensus that the world economy needs every megawatt of nuclear energy available.

Nearly every model of global energy demand points to the important role nuclear power must play to reduce carbon emissions. By how much can nuclear power reduce the world’s carbon emissions? Or, can renewables do it all?

It is not a choice between the two. #solar will grow as fast as it physically can and won’t be 100%. Same with #wind#geothermal#hydro#BiomassCCS#efficiency, etc. You still have a huge political/resiliency hole that #nuclear has to fill. Every model shows it. #cleanfirm — Jigar Shah (@JigarShahDC) August 27, 2022

The International Energy Agency projects that a doubling of the world’s nuclear output is required by 2050 to reach net zero energy.

The nuclear industry has a history of missing schedule and budget.  Advocates of small modular reactors say they will be easier to build than larger ones. In the US, TerraPower and X-Energy have been chosen by the DOE to build small reactors based on new technology. China and Russia are building smaller reactors. More than $1.2 B of venture funding has gone into new fission technology in the past year.  Is smaller, cheaper, faster the answer?

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