September 26-28, 2016 at the Rackham Building

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About the Symposium

As greenhouse gas policies are developed and implemented, and intermittent sources such as wind and solar expand, nuclear technology could play an even greater role as a carbon-free baseload source of electricity. However, a variety of economic, technological, societal, environmental, regulatory, and security issues must be considered. Join experts from across global nuclear research and policy at the University of Michigan, a global leader in nuclear engineering education and research, to debate these issues. What is nuclear power’s role in climate change mitigation? The symposium will produce technological and policy recommendations after the event.

26Days
15Hours
2Mins
17Secs

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Speakers

Program

The University of Michigan Energy Institute
Day 1
26 Sep 2016
Day 2
27 Sep 2016
Day 3
28 Sep 2016

Welcome

Mark Barteau, Director, University of Michigan Energy Institute, DTE Energy Professor of Advanced Energy Research
Mark Barteau

Context and Perspective

Jim Duderstadt, President Emeritus, University of Michigan
Jim Duderstadt

Keynote

Ted Nordhaus, Co-Founder and Research Director, Breakthrough Institute
Ted Nordhaus

Combating Climate Change without Nuclear Energy

Mark Jacobson, Director, Atmosphere/Energy Program, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University
Mark Jacobson

Combating Climate Change with Nuclear Energy

Bill Magwood, Director-General, Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Bill Magwood

Panel Discussion

Moderator: Andrew Hoffman, Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise, University of Michigan

Ted Nordhaus, Breakthrough Institute
Mark Jacobson, Stanford University
Bill Magwood, OECD Nuclear Energy Agency
Jim Duderstadt, University of Michigan
Carl Page, Anthropocene Institute
Carl Page
Andrew Hoffman
Bill Magwood
Mark Jacobson
Ted Nordhaus
Jim Duderstadt

Welcome

Ron Gilgenbach, Department Chair, University of Michigan Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences
Ronald Gilgenbach

Technology Session Moderator Remarks

Moderator: Thomas Downar, Professor of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences, University of Michigan

THOMAS DOWNAR

Pathways to a Strong Future for Nuclear Power

Peter Lyons, Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, U.S. Department of Energy (Retired), Commissioner, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (Retired)
Peter Lyons

Talk Title to be Announced

Jim Rogers, CEO, Duke Energy (Retired), Rubinstein Fellow, Duke University
Jim Rogers

Talk Title to be Announced

Todd Allen, Senior Fellow, Third Way
Todd Allen

Talk Title to be Announced

Jess Gehin, Director, Consortium for the Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Jess Gehin

NuScale Power Technology: Expanding the Reach of Nuclear Energy

Daniel Ingersoll, Director of Research Collaborations, NuScale

Panel Discussion: Future Technologies

  • Todd Allen, Third Way
  • Jess Gehin, Consortium for the Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Daniel Ingersoll, NuScale
  • Peter Lyons, U.S. Department of Energy (Retired), Commissioner, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (Retired)
  • Jim Rogers, Duke Energy (Retired), Rubenstein Fellow, Duke University
Todd Allen
Jess Gehin
Peter Lyons
THOMAS DOWNAR
Ronald Gilgenbach

Session Closing Remarks

Thomas Downar, University of Michigan
THOMAS DOWNAR

RISK AND BENEFIT SESSION

MODERATOR REMARKS, Joe Arvai, Director, Erb Institute, Professor, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Michigan

Americans’ relationship with nuclear power is an uneasy one. This session will explore the public’s perception of nuclear power’s benefits and risks as compared to other energy sources. Session participants will examine the public’s tolerance for nuclear risk, including Fukushima-style disasters and waste storage. They’ll look at how and why some non- U.S. countries have evolved differently, wholly embracing or banning nuclear power. At the close of the session, panelists will discuss ways to balance public perception of nuclear power’s risk with its potential reward.

Joe Arvai

Acceptance of Nuclear Power: The Central Roles of Affect, Trust and Perceived Benefits

Dr. Vivianne Visschers, ETH Zurich, Institute for Environmental Decisions, Consumer Behavior Group

The public’s perception of nuclear power has known some turbulent times. The nuclear renaissance that had started in the early 2000s appeared to be suddenly ended after the nuclear accident in Fukushima; that is, in countries such as Germany and Switzerland, in which a nuclear phase-out was started. To be able to retrace these policy decisions and to anticipate on a change in societies’ views, it is important to understand the public’s perception of nuclear power and its psychological determinants. In my talk, I will discuss—based on findings from various surveys—that public acceptance of nuclear power is mainly related to three factors: trust in nuclear stakeholders, affective associations with, and perceived benefits of the technology. I will show that although a dramatic accident as in Fukushima can to some extent change the acceptance of nuclear power in a country that is not directly affected, these three factors remain the most important determinants of the public’s acceptance of nuclear power. My talk will end with a few recommendations of how policy makers can work on trust, affective associations, and benefit perception related to nuclear power.

Vivianne Visschers

Understanding Public Perceptions of Nuclear Power: 40 Years of Progress

Dr. Nick Pidgeon, Understanding Risk Research Group, Cardiff University

This presentation will explore how attitudes towards nuclear power in both the US and Europe have developed over the past decades. It will demonstrate that these attitudes are often conditional, being dependent upon the context within which nuclear options are proposed, and go beyond a simple characterisation of technological risk to encompass factors such as trust and wider governance issues. Our own research in the UK has shown how, as concern about climate change and energy security have exerted an increasing influence on British energy policy, nuclear power has been reframed by commentators as a low-carbon technology, and how a proportion of public(s) now ‘reluctantly accept’ nuclear power as one part of the means of addressing the threat of climate change. Our findings also suggest that wider concerns about climate change and fossil fuel use can only ever be partly met through nuclear power – and only when other (preferred) options have been adopted as part of a longer-term transition strategy. This presentation will also address the impacts of the Fukushima accident on public views.

Nicholas Pidgeon

U.S. Opinion about nuclear energy: Current attitudes and key predictors

John Besley, Associate Professor, College of Communications, Michigan State University
John Besley

Panel Discussion – U.S. Public Opinion about Nuclear Energy: Current Attitudes and Key Predictors

Dr. John Besley, College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Michigan State University

The presentation will first provide an overview of publicly available survey results on what Americans think about nuclear energy. A focus will be put on both the most recent results as well as over-time trends. The presentation will then seek to highlight key findings from academic research that has tried to provide an understanding of the key predictors of nuclear energy support. Gaps in our knowledge will also be noted. Overall, the presentation will emphasize that those who want to build support for nuclear energy likely need to see doing so as a long-term process and one that is tied into how people think about science and risk, decision-makers, and the environment.

Panelists
  • Dr. Michael Greenberg, Rutgers University
  • Daniel Malone, Consumers Energy
  • Dr. Robyn Wilson, The Ohio State University
Mike Greenberg

Risk and Benefit Session Closing Remarks

Joe Arvai, University of Michigan
Joe Arvai

ECONOMICS SESSION MODERATOR REMARKS

Moderator: Catherine Hausman, Assistant Professor, Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan
Catherine Hausman

Market Signals

Geoffrey Rothwell, Principal Economist, OECD Nuclear Energy Agency
Geoffrey Rothwell

Construction Costs

Fred Buckman, President & CEO, Powerlink Transmission
Fred Buckman

New Nuclear Technology Costs

John Gilleland, Chief Technical Officer, TerraPower
John Gilleland

Panel Discussion: Economics Game Changers

Panelists:
  • Fred Buckman, Powerlink Transmission
  • Paul Fessler, Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer, DTE Energy
  • John Gilleland, Chief Technical Officer, TerraPower
  • Geoffrey Rothwell, OECD Nuclear Energy Agency
Paul Fessler
John Gilleland
Fred Buckman
Geoffrey Rothwell
Catherine Hausman

POLICY SESSION MODERATOR REMARKS

Moderator: Thomas Lyon, Associate Director for Social Science and Policy, University of Michigan Energy Institute, Professor, Ross School of Business and School of Natural Resources and the Environment

The policy session, which closes the symposium, will explore how changes in public policy around nuclear power might resolve some of the challenges facing the industry and position it for socially acceptable future expansion. Participants will detail considerations for a practical regulatory framework for bringing new reactors online in a timely manner; allowing the economics of nuclear plant operation to reflect its full costs and benefits, including climate impacts; and identify politically and socially viable solutions for nuclear waste storage.

THOMAS LYON

Safe & Efficient Operations and Market Design

John Parsons, Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management
John Parsons

Nuclear Waste Management: Siting, Storage, and Disposal

Sam Brinton, Senior Policy Analyst, Bipartisan Policy Center
Sam Brinton

Location

Rackham Graduate School
915 E. Washington Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109
734-763-7401sfancy@umich.edu

Sponsors

Thank you to our sponsors

As greenhouse gas policies are developed and implemented, and intermittent sources such as wind and solar expand, nuclear technology could play an even greater role as a carbon-free baseload source of electricity. However, a variety of economic, technological, societal, environmental, regulatory, and security issues must be considered. Join experts from across global nuclear research and policy at the University of Michigan, a global leader in nuclear engineering education and research, to debate these issues. What is nuclear power’s role in climate change mitigation? The symposium will produce technological and policy recommendations after the event.

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