Morning Panel: “Overcoming Barriers to a Nuclear Renaissance: Safety, Waste, and New Technology”

The morning panel featured leaders from industry, academia and the regulatory community discussing issues that have prevented greater reliance on nuclear power. Panelists responded to the question posed by conference organizer, Jared Milfred: “Can policy and technology satisfy questions regarding safety, waste disposal, and fear of proliferation, to allow nuclear power to be part of our future carbon-free energy mix?”

​Moderator Raluca Scarlat is an assistant professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics, with research interests in heat and mass transport, nuclear reactor safety and design, and engineering ethics. She has a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from UC Berkeley, and a B.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell. Before her doctoral studies, she worked for GE and ExxonMobil. In 2011, she advised for Hitachi-GE, in Japan, on post-Fukushima changes to severe accident guidelines for the Japanese fleet of reactors. Dr. Scarlat has expertise in thermal-hydraulics experimentation and modeling for salt-cooled nuclear reactors, and extensive experience in design and safety analysis of inherently and passively safe systems. She is part of the working group writing ANS Standard 20.1 on Nuclear Safety Criteria and Design Process for Fluoride Salt-Cooled High Temperature Reactors, and has published articles on all aspects of nuclear engineering and design. She is a member of ANS and AIChE.


Rod Ewing is the Frank Stanton Professor in Nuclear Security in the Center for International Security and Cooperation in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a Professor in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences in the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford University. Dr. Ewing’s research focuses on the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle, mainly nuclear materials and the geochemistry of radionuclides with applications to permanent geologic disposal. Ewing has written extensively on issues related to nuclear waste management and is a co-editor of Radioactive Waste Forms for the Future (1988) and Uncertainty Underground – Yucca Mountain and the Nation’s High-Level Nuclear Waste (2006). He was awarded the Lomonosov Gold Medal by the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2006 for his research on nuclear materials. In 2012, he was appointed by President Obama to chair the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, which provides scientific and technical reviews of the Department of the Energy’s programs for the management and disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.

Dr. Mark Peters is the Associate Laboratory Director for Energy and Global Security at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). He is responsible for the management and integration of the Laboratory’s energy and global security programs. As the Associate Laboratory Director, he manages an organization of more than 800 staff with an annual budget of over 250 million dollars. Dr. Peters also serves as a senior advisor to the Department of Energy on nuclear energy technologies and research and development programs, and nuclear waste policy. As a recognized expert in nuclear fuel cycle technologies and nuclear waste management, Dr. Peters is called upon frequently to provide expert testimony to Congress and to advise in formulation of policies for nuclear fuel cycles, non-proliferation, and nuclear waste disposal.

As senior vice president of Westinghouse Engineering, Jim Brennan is responsible for leading the global engineering organization of approximately 2,600 employees in eight countries in delivering customer value by providing high-quality, cost-effective advanced technology solutions for both new and operating plant engineering projects. This includes nuclear fuel and safety analysis engineering, systems and components engineering, and engineering support for both pressurized and boiling water reactors. Additionally, Mr. Brennan provides oversight for a robust innovation process focused on developing new technology to help customers deliver safe, clean, reliable energy. Mr. Brennan joined Westinghouse in 1984 as a engineer in the former Nuclear Technology Division.

June 5, 2015