Speaker: Michael Ford, French Environmental Fellow, Harvard University Center for the Environment.
The need to mitigate emissions of global warming gases in the energy sector is critical. It has been widely argued that the most plausible and cost effective strategy to achieve deep decarbonization is by deploying a portfolio of “everything we’ve got.” Most integrated assessment models ascribe a future role in the low carbon energy mix to nuclear power. But burdened with extensive regulation, a dated development model, and longstanding negative externalities such as waste and perceived accident risk, the future role of nuclear in decarbonization is uncertain. In this seminar, we will briefly examine the history of the U.S. Department of Energy in advanced nuclear research and development and propose an alternative path that is better suited to the market and technical realities of advanced nuclear concepts. We will also examine broader issues of institutional capacity that may impact the wider deployment of nuclear power to meet carbon mitigation goals.