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Seminar: The Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World (MIT 2018 Energy Study)

Richard Denning, PhD, independent consultant
Wednesday, January 23, 2019, 9:35 am to 10:55 am
Scott Laboratory
Room E141
201 W 19th Ave
Columbus, OH 43210


In 2018 Massachusetts Institute of Technology released the results of a study of the potential role of nuclear energy for a future in which the potential impacts of global warming are recognized and goals are established for carbon-dioxide free energy supply. Because the study incorporated input from a distinguished group of technical experts, like similar MIT studies in the past, it could potentially have a significant impact on U.S. energy policy. This seminar will present the results of the study and provide a critical assessment of the underlying assumptions and conclusions. The speaker did not participate in the MIT study, but has been examining the future of energy supply for a number of years.


About the speaker

Rich Denning is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of risk analysis, risk-informed decision making, nuclear safety and severe accident behavior of nuclear reactors. He has managed studies of the safety and risk of a variety of nuclear facilities including commercial nuclear power plants and a number of the U.S. Department of Energy's reactor and non-reactor nuclear facilities. While at Battelle, he managed a number of research projects associated with nuclear energy, including space-time kinetics, emergency core cooling effectiveness, and severe accident behavior. He directed the Level 2 PRA activities in WASH-1400, the first comprehensive examination of nuclear power plant risk. He assisted the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the development and oversight of its severe accident research program. From 1995 to 2007, he had responsibility for the oversight of safety hardware upgrades in DOE’s program to improve the safety of former Soviet Union reactors in a program led by Battelle’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He was a member of the NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards from 2004 to 2006. He chaired the Nuclear Engineering Program at The Ohio State University from 1999 to 2001 and from 2006 to 2007. While a faculty member he performed research, advised graduate students and taught classes in reactor safety analysis and risk. He has been a major contributor to the development of the dynamic event tree approach to the performance of PRA, Level 2 analysis, fire PRA, seismic PRA and probabilistic safety goals. Denning retired from Ohio State in May 2014, but continues to perform research as a technical consultant. He is a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society, was recipient of the ANS 2013 Special Award for Contributions to the Advancement of Severe Accident Analysis Capabilities/Beyond Design basis Accident Scenarios, Analysis and Management, and the International Nuclear Societies Council Global 2014 Award for Contributions to International Safety of Nuclear Reactors.


Hosted by Professor Vaibhav Sinha.