(UTC-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Understanding the Societal Challenges Facing Nuclear Power

Nuclear energy could play an important role in moving towards net-zero emissions, but there are many economic, regulatory, and societal factors that determine whether expanding nuclear power is a feasible solution. The National Academies invite you to join us for a virtual workshop exploring societal challenges facing nuclear energy on September 1-3, 2021 from 11:30am-3:30pm ET.

During the workshop, invited speakers will discuss public engagement with the nuclear industry and other related industries, social science perspectives on issues facing nuclear power, and technical factors related to safety and nuclear waste. The workshop will explore how analysts, policy makers, and the nuclear industry can learn from past experiences and from the latest in decision science.

Download the meeting agenda on the event page.

This workshop is part of the input gathering process for a larger National Academies study with the goal of assessing the future of new and advanced nuclear reactor technologies and identifying opportunities and barriers for commercialization. Learn more, read bios of the committee members, and sign up for the study-specific mailing list on the study website.


DAY 1 - WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2021 (11:30AM-3:30PM ET)

How did we get here? The nuclear industry’s record of public engagement

  • Moderator: Ahmed Abdulla, Carleton University
  • Thomas R. Wellock, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Spencer R. Weart, American Institute of Physics (retired)
  • M.V. Ramana, University of British Columbia

What do the social and decision sciences tell us about the issues facing nuclear power?

  • Moderator: Kirsty Gogan, LucidCatalyst and TerraPraxis
  • Baruch Fischhoff, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Nick Pidgeon, Cardiff University
  • Seth Tuler, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

DAY 2 - THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2021 (11:30AM-3:30PM ET)

What does the field of science and technology studies tell us about the issues facing nuclear power?

  • Moderator: Allison Macfarlane, University of British Columbia
  • Sheila Jasanoff, Harvard University
  • Behnam Taebi, TU Delft
  • Andy Stirling University of Sussex
  • Pierre-Benoit Joly, French Institute for Research and Innovation in Society

Opposition is not unique to nuclear energy: learning from other industries

  • Moderator: Todd Allen, University of Michigan
  • Sarah Mills, University of Michigan
  • John Downer, University of Bristol
  • David Victor, University of California San Diego

DAY 3 - FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2021 (11:30AM-3:30PM ET)

What can we learn from nuclear waste siting? Successes and challenges

  • Moderator: Allison Macfarlane, University of British Columbia
  • Saida Laârouchi Engström, Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company
  • Arne Kaijser, KTH Royal Institute of Technology
  • Anne Bergmans, University of Antwerp

Best practices in public engagement and participation from ongoing activities related to nuclear energy

  • Moderator: Ahmed Abdulla*, Carleton University
  • Doug Hunter, UAMPS
  • Mary Woollen, Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation
  • Christi Bell, University of Alaska Business Enterprise Institute