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INSTITUTE FOR SUSTAINABILITY, ENERGY, AND ENVIRONMENT
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN
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iSEE Critical Conversation 2021:
The Role of Nuclear Power
in a Clean Energy Future

TBA Spring 2021, University Club, Chicago

iSEE is bringing together diverse stakeholders together to identify the roadblocks facing nuclear power and possible strategies to overcome these barriers, including areas for further research and development. The event aims to facilitate high-level thinking about the policies and scientific research needed to reduce the uncertainties with nuclear power as we attempt to address the certainties of climate change.

Critical Conversations are supported by a generous gift from the Alvin H. Baum Family Fund, iSEE’s founding benefactor. The Baum Fund is administered by Joel Friedman.

KEYNOTE: The Critical Conversation will start with an evening public keynote. The invited speaker is Rita Baranwal, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy.

WORKSHOP: The daylong workshop will convene academic, industry, government, and nongovernment experts for an open discussion that identifies the challenges facing nuclear power and possible strategies to overcome these barriers — including areas for further research and development — as we seek to help mitigate global climate change.

List of potential invited panelists coming soon!

The conversation will follow Chatham House rules with no attribution of the discussion to any individual. Discussions will center on major questions involving nuclear; specifics coming soon!

iSEE is organizing the 2021 Critical Conversation along with the following University of Illinois faculty from the Department of Nuclear, Plasma & Radiological Engineering: Caleb Brooks, Assistant Professor; Kathryn Huff, Assistant Professor; James Stubbins, Donald Biggar Willett Professor; and Rizwan Uddin, Professor and Department Head.

 

Background

Climate change is a real and imminent threat. While some still need to be convinced that climate change cannot be addressed without nuclear power, those already convinced face a different challenge: how to remove the hurdles that are stopping us from taking full advantage of the benefits of nuclear power.

The goal of this multi-stakeholder Critical Conversation is to develop a collective understanding of the breadth of this issue and build connections between different stakeholders in the field. Previous conversations have led to the formation of collaborative networks — and progress on a shared research agenda geared toward finding actionable solutions.

The Critical Conversation is designed to be a first step. Rather than formal presentations, it will feature a facilitated discussion to better expose and understand the breadth and complexity of perspectives on the topic. Organizers plan to develop a high-profile publication that outlines the diversity of participants’ thoughts and a collaborative vision for a structured research program. The Institute will also leverage new seed funding for innovative research projects.

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