Dr. Christina (Tina) Back

Vice President, Nuclear Technologies and Materials

General Atomics

Dr. Christina Back is Vice President of Nuclear Technologies and Materials at General Atomics.  She is responsible for the nuclear fission programs, which focus on development of advanced nuclear reactors for electric power, production of isotopes for medical uses, and fabrication of Accident Tolerant Fuel rods for safer nuclear reactors.

She earned her B.S. in physics from Yale University, and her Ph.D. in plasma physics from the University of Florida. As an experimental physicist, she spent two years at the Ecole Polytechnique LULI laser facility in France, and over fifteen years at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory performing research on the Nova, Omega, and NIF high-powered lasers in the Inertial Confinement Fusion and High Energy Density Science programs. Moving to General Atomics, Dr. Back became the High Energy Density Science Program Leader in the Inertial Fusion Technologies division, developing specialized materials and characterization techniques. Pursuit of new engineered materials led to work in fission on the Energy Multiplier Module, EM2, a high temperature gas-cooled reactor.

Dr. Back is an internationally recognized in fission and fusion research with over 25 years of experience in private industry and U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories. She has over 100 publications in areas such as radiative heating, opacity, x-ray conversion efficiency, spectroscopy, hohlraum physics, charged-particle diagnostics, and materials synthesis. She regularly serves on committees for the National Academy of Sciences, National Nuclear Security Administration, and the DOE, and is frequently invited to provide expertise for U.S. Congressional Committees and White House Science and Technology initiatives.


For her contributions, Dr. Back was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society and has received numerous awards, including DOE Technical Excellence and Defense Nuclear Sciences Awards for radiation transport. In 2013, she was named Woman of the Year in Business by the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce.

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Dr. Jon Ball

Executive Vice President, Nuclear Plant Projects

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy

Jon Ball is Executive Vice President of Nuclear Plant Projects for GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, a position he assumed in November 2015. In this role he leads the development and execution of new plant strategies globally.


Jon has been a leader in the nuclear industry for more than 20 years and has a wide-range of experience in manufacturing, global operations, services, quality and P&L leadership.

From 2012-2015 Jon served as Senior Vice President, Global Supply Chain, where he led more than 1,000 employees worldwide in manufacturing and logistics. Prior to that Jon spent seven years in services where he led both the performance services and field services segments.  

Before that he spent seven years with Global Nuclear Fuel, a joint venture majority owned by GE, serving in several positions including global supply chain leader, quality manager and lab manager.

Jon is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt with a B.S. in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University and a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from The Pennsylvania State University.


Dr. Rita Baranwal

Director, Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN)

Idaho National Laboratory

Dr. Rita Baranwal joined INL's Nuclear Science & Technology directorate in August 2016 as the director for the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative.

Baranwal most recently served as the director of Technology Development and Application at Westinghouse Electric Corporation in Cranberry, Pennsylvania. In that position, she led the creation and development of game-changing technologies and managed characterization and hot cell laboratories to support Westinghouse, its customers and the nuclear power industry. Her previous positions at Westinghouse included director of Core Engineering and manager of Materials and Fuel Rod Design. Prior to joining Westinghouse, she was a manager in the Materials Technology organization at Bechtel Bettis, Inc. 

Baranwal was an adjunct faculty member of University of South Carolina's nuclear engineering graduate program from 2010-2012. She holds two patents for materials engineering technology and has co-authored publications related to characterization of irradiation and fabrication process effects on material microstructure and properties. She received her bachelor's degree from MIT in materials science and engineering and her master's degree and Ph.D. in the same discipline from the University of Michigan. She also completed an executive management program at Duquesne University's Beard Institute in 2009.

Baranwal has been an active American Nuclear Society member since 2008 and currently serves on the ANS Materials Science and Technology Division Executive Committee. She also serves on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters in Pittsburgh and was recently elected to serve on the board of directors for North Hills Community Outreach.

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Dr. Farhat Beg

Director, Center for Energy Research (CER); Principal Investigator, HEDP Group; Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Department

UC San Diego

Farhat Beg received his Ph.D. degree in plasma physics from Imperial College, London, where he was a Research Associate and then a Research Fellow. In 2003, he joined the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, where he is currently the Vice Chair and a Professor of engineering physics. He has published 170 articles in high quality journals—including Nature, Nature Physics, and Physical Review Letters—and has been cited more than 4700 times in peer refereed journals. Dr. Beg has been fellow of the American Physical Society since 2009 and the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) since 2011. He received the Department of Energy's Early Career Award in 2005 and the IEEE Early Achievement Award in 2008.

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Dr. Sama Bilbao y León

Head -  Division of Nuclear Technology Development and Economics

OECD Nuclear Energy Agency

Dr. Sama Bilbao y León is the Head of the Division of Nuclear Technology Development and Economics at OECD Nuclear Energy Agency. In her role at the NEA, she helps provide Member Countries with authoritative studies in support of their energy policy decision‐making. 


Dr. Bilbao y León has a very diverse professional experience having worked in the nuclear industry (Nuclear Safety Analysis Engineer, Dominion Energy, USA - where she worked on the development and licensing of new methodologies in core thermal-hydraulics and nuclear safety analysis in support of Dominion’s nuclear power stations); in academia (Director of Nuclear Engineering Programs and Associate Professor at the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), USA – where she was one of the key individuals involved in the creation and development of the thriving new Nuclear Engineering program at VCU); and in international organizations (Technical Head of Water Cooled Reactors Technology Development Unit, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - where she was in charge of all IAEA activities in support of the development and near term deployment of advanced water cooled reactors and their associated fuels). 


In 2013 Dr. Bilbao y León was appointed by Virginia Governor McDonnell to the Virginia Nuclear Energy Authority Board, and elected Treasurer. In 2014 Dr. Bilbao y León was appointed to the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) National Accreditation Board. In 2016 Dr. Bilbao y León was elected Chair of the Board of the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium, and in 2017 Dr. Bilbao y León was named by “The Hill” newspaper as one of the top five nuclear engineers that are making a difference in the advancement of nuclear technology. 


Dr. Bilbao y León is one of the seven founders of the North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NA‑YGN), and served as Public Information Chair since its creation in 1999 until May 2005. Dr. Bilbao y León is also an active member of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) since 1995 where her dedication to spreading the good news about nuclear earned her the ANS 2002 Public Communications Award. In 2007 she received the NA-YGN Founder Award, the highest award given to an NA-YGN member, which rewards leadership, vision and dedication. In 2007, and again in 2010, Dr. Bilbao y León was elected to the national Board of Directors of the American Nuclear Society. In 2011, she received the ANS Mary Jane Oestmann Women’s Achievement Award. In 2014 she received an ANS Presidential Citation for her continuous dedication to ANS. Dr. Bilbao y León is also a member of ASME, ASEE, SWE and WIN.


Dr. Bilbao y León, who is originally from Spain, holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a master’s degree in Energy Technologies from the Polytechnic University of Madrid; a master’s degree and a PhD in Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison; and an MBA from Averett University. Dr. Bilbao y León's areas of expertise are nuclear thermal‐hydraulics for both light water reactors and sodium cooled reactors, nuclear reactor design, nuclear safety, energy and environmental policy, and complex decision making.

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Dr. Michl Binderbauer 

Chief Executive Officer 

TAE Technologies

Dr. Michl Binderbauer is the Chief Executive Officer of TAE Technologies and is a co-inventor of many of the company’s technological advancements.

Dr. Binderbauer has dedicated the past two decades to evolving the knowledge and technology of TAE. He is an expert in reactor kinetics, equilibrium, and stability of advanced beam-driven Field-Reversed Configurations and aneutronic fusion systems. Recently, he has focused on reactor physics, engineering and enabling technologies, and a wide array of applications of the core TAE technologies — from medicine to isotope production and chemical processing. He holds more than 40 issued and pending U.S. patents and numerous international technology patents, and he has authored or co-authored many peer-reviewed publications in the areas of plasma physics and fusion. Dr. Binderbauer holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Irvine.


Mr. David Blee

President & CEO

U.S. Nuclear Industry Council

David Blee serves as President & CEO of the U.S. Nuclear Industry Council – the leading business consortium advocate for nuclear energy and the promotion of the U.S. supply chain globally. The Council represents more than 80 companies comprising the “Who’s Who” of nuclear energy across a broad mix of the American supply chain, including key mover utilities, M&Os, manufacturers, suppliers and services companies.


Mr. Blee’s public service experience includes his current appointment on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Civil Nuclear Trade Advisory Committee and past appointments as a Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy and Director of Public Affairs for the U.S. Department of Energy – and as Chief of Staff to former U.S. Senator Connie Mack, during his service in the U.S. House of Representatives.


Prior to his current assignments, Mr. Blee was an Executive Vice President for NAC International, a U.S.-based energy services and technology company, where he directed the company’s Worldwide Consulting Group and Marketing & Business Development portfolios. Mr. Blee was previously a Senior Vice President for the Wall Street-Washington DC-based Robinson, Lake, Lerer and Montgomery, a strategic communications firm.

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Mr. Linden S. Blue

Vice Chairman

General Atomics

Since 1986, Linden S. Blue has been Vice Chairman of General Atomics in San Diego. At GA he has concentrated his activities on the development of the advanced, second-generation, Modular Helium Reactor (MHR). Blue's contributions to the aeronautical, energy, and military sciences were recognized by the Industrial Research Institute in 2010 when he was presented the IRI Achievement Award. He earned his BA from Yale University in 1958 and graduated from the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. GA is a diversified international high technology company with world leadership positions in fusion, fission, and training research and isotope nuclear reactors.

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Dr. Richard Buttery

DIII-D Experimental Science Director

DIII-D National Fusion Facility

General Atomics

Dr. Buttery is the Experimental Science Director on the DIII-D National Fusion Facility. He has been in the US program for the last seven years, having previously worked in the European program at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy where he led research programs on the Joint European Torus in Oxfordshire exploring stability and ITER operating scenarios, as well as earlier on COMPASS-D, START and MAST. He also worked physics leader for the MAST Upgrade, and as a European topical group leader. His scientific work has concentrated on tearing modes, role of 3D fields, stability and equilibria, spanning both simulation and experiments on various devices. His PhD was in Theoretical Particle Physics. He has served on the USBPO Council, a FESAC panel, and the UK Institute of Physics Plasma Physics Group. He is a graduate from UCSD Extension’s management school, and a Fellow of the UK Institute of Physics.


Mr. Ken Canavan 
Chief Technology Officer
Westinghouse Electric Company

Ken Canavan was appointed chief technology officer (CTO) of Westinghouse Electric Company on January 2, 2018. Westinghouse’s CTO role has strategic responsibility to drive next-generation technology and innovation solutions that align with the company’s global business strategy. As CTO Canavan leads these efforts, as well as strengthens Westinghouse with regard to technology leadership development.


Canavan, 53, previously was director of engineering for the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). There he was responsible for turning industry needs into compelling research and development plans. These plans improved safety and performance of the global nuclear fleet. He has more than 30 years of experience in key engineering and risk management roles. Prior to his work at EPRI, Canavan was responsible for risk applications at Data Systems and Solutions, ERIN Engineering and Research and GPU Nuclear. He also was a safety analysis engineer with Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Ohio (USA).


Canavan has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, with a nuclear engineering minor, from Manhattan College, New York.


Dr. Jon Carmack 

Senior Technical Advisor, Office of Nuclear Energy

U.S. Department of Energy

Dr. Jon Carmack is currently a Senior Technical Advisor to the Office of Nuclear Energy. He will serve for one year as Senior Technical Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Nuclear Energy beginning in January 2018. He previously served as National Technical Director for the Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy Advanced Fuels Campaign. This new assignment is a high visibility, high impact position with significant influence on research and policies affecting nuclear energy He began his career at the Idaho National Laboratory in 1991 in the Fuels and Materials Department after graduating with a BS and MS in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Washington. He left the INL in 1999 and spent 5 years at BWX Technologies in Lynchburg, Virginia before returning to the INL in 2004 to join the DOE NTRD program. He obtained his Ph.D. from the Department of Nuclear Engineering, University of Idaho, focusing on fuel cladding interaction formation in fast reactor metallic fuels in 2012. The NTRD Advanced Fuels Campaign is responsible for the DOE LWR Accident Tolerant Fuel Program as well as the development of advanced fuels for transmutation in advanced reactor systems.


​Ph.D., Nuclear Engineering - Univesity of Idaho

M.S., Nuclear Engineering -  University of Washington

B.S., Nuclear Engineering -  University of Washington

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Mr. Michael Delage

Chief Technology Officer

General Fusion

Michael is an engineer and experienced technology entrepreneur with a career spent developing complex technologies and bringing them to market.


Since joining General Fusion in 2010, he has held multiple responsibilities: building strategic partnerships internationally with fusion research institutions and key players in the energy industry; overseeing corporate strategy, communications and government relations; and now as CTO he is responsible for developing and implementing General Fusion’s technology strategy and science program.


Previously, from 2003-2010 Michael co-founded and help build Energate Inc. into one of the leading residential demand response technology companies in North America. Michael created and managed Energate’s product strategy as the company pioneered many of the technologies and standards integrating residential solutions into the smart grid. Earlier in his career, Michael worked in the aerospace industry as a systems and design engineer on technologies from microsatellites to the robotic systems on the International Space Station, where hardware he designed continues to operate today.


Michael holds a B.Sc. in Engineering Physics and an M.B.A. for Science and Technology from Queen’s University.​

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Dr. Jacob DeWitte

Founder and CEO

Oklo Inc.

Jacob DeWitte is the Founder and the CEO of Oklo Inc., a Sunnyvale, CA based company developing and building small nuclear reactors. Jacob has been working with nuclear technology for nearly 15 years and has experience with nuclear reactor design and analysis, spanning a variety of reactors including sodium fast reactors, molten salt reactors, and next generation PWRs. Jacob has worked at GE, Sandia National Labs, Urenco US, and the naval reactor research laboratories. At Sandia, Jacob worked on the Lab’s irradiation facilities, including a fast test reactor. He led core design on the PRISM sodium fast reactor while at GE. Jacob is originally from Albuquerque, NM. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Florida and his SM and PhD at MIT in nuclear engineering where he developed strategies to introduce high performance light water reactor fuels as part of long term capital asset management planning for nuclear power plants.

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Mr. Joel Duling

President, Nuclear Operations Group

BWX Technologies, Inc.

Joel W. Duling is president of BWXT Nuclear Operations Group, Inc. (BWXT NOG), headquartered in Lynchburg, Virginia. With about 4,100 employees at five sites, BWXT NOG provides a complete range of nuclear components and services, including the manufacture of nuclear reactor components for U.S. Navy submarines and aircraft carriers and other nuclear and non-nuclear R&D and component production.

He brings more than 30 years of extensive management experience in manufacturing, program execution and nuclear operations to this role. Previously, he served as president of BWXT NOG’s Nuclear Fuel Services, a $200 million business manufacturing nuclear fuel and downblending high enriched uranium for national security interests.

He has also served as vice president of production at the Y-12 National Security Complex, director of the Specific Manufacturing Capability project at Idaho National Laboratory, site manager of the Naval Reactors Facility decommissioning project and program manager for uranium and waste storage, treatment and disposal at the Fernald Environmental Management Project.

Mr. Duling earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biophysical systems/chemistry from Northern Michigan University and a graduate certificate in applied nuclear energy from Idaho State University.


Mr. Elmer Dyke

Senior Vice President, Business Operations & Chief Commercial Officer

Centrus Energy

Elmer Dyke is senior vice president, business operations, and chief commercial officer for Centrus Energy Corp. He is responsible for all aspects of the company’s low enriched uranium (LEU) business. This includes the sourcing, sales, and delivery of LEU and uranium to customers in the United States and around the world.

Mr. Dyke has 30 years of experience and leadership in the nuclear industry focusing on the nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear nonproliferation issues.  He has consulted for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the National Nuclear Security Administration and other U.S. government organizations, including several U.S. National Laboratories and numerous international agencies.

Mr. Dyke most recently served as vice president for sales at NAC International, where he drove the company’s business development and international sales efforts.  He also served as senior vice president of NAC’s global consulting business, where he led a group of internationally recognized experts on the comprehensive nuclear fuel cycle, management and strategy, nuclear fuel performance, training, financial and strategic analysis, nuclear quality assurance, safeguards and security, and nuclear industry human resource development.

Previously, Mr. Dyke led Booz Allen Hamilton’s business practice on nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear security, working closely with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, DOE as well as the U.S. nuclear industry on a wide spectrum of energy and security consulting projects.

In his various roles, Mr. Dyke has developed strong ties to commercial and government leaders in the nuclear industry around the world, including leaders in the nuclear new build community as well as those in established markets.

Mr. Dyke holds a Bachelor of Arts, International Political Economy from Davidson College. He was a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserve serving 13 years in the Signal Corps and in Military Intelligence.


Dr. Ron Faibish

Senior Director of Business Development,

Nuclear Technologies and Materials

General Atomics

Dr. Ron S. Faibish has more than 20 years experience in the government energy and science sectors, including extensive work within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory complex and other government functions.


Dr. Faibish leads business development for General Atomics’ Nuclear Technologies and Materials (NTM) Division, managing strategic planning and stakeholder engagement for fission-related products, such as the Energy Multiplier Module, istope production and the Accident Tolerant Fuels program.


Prior to joining General Atomics, Dr. Faibish worked at Argonne National Laboratory for nearly 14 years, most recently leading Argonne’s Energy Systems initiatives and associated program development. He managed several DOE international engagements on nuclear safety and technology. Dr. Faibish also spent time in Washington as an Argonne detailee, serving as the Senior Advisor to the Director of the DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy. In this role, he advised the Director on policy, technology and strategic planning.


Dr. Faibish also served as the Science Fellow with the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, where he worked on major legislation, led the authorship of one of five whitepapers for Senator Lisa Murkowski on the energy-water nexus, worked closely with numerous external stakeholders, and negotiated complex issues related to bilateral international energy legislation, among other accomplishments.


Prior to joining Argonne, Dr. Faibish worked as a Research Development Manager at the International Atomic Energy Agency, managing multinational scientific research proposals and projects related to peaceful, non-electrical applications of nuclear energy.


Dr. Faibish received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles. He also completed a certificate program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.


Ms. Karin Feldman

Vice President, Program Management

NuScale Power

Karin Feldman, vice president, program management office, joined NuScale Power in 2012.  In her current position she is responsible for leading NuScale project and program management and for establishing and maintaining project management, project controls, and risk management standards.  She serves as the primary NuScale interface for DOE cooperative agreement management and is responsible for the operations and maintenance of NuScale facilities.  Prior to assuming this role, Feldman served as the director of planning and integration, the acting director of corporate services, and the program management office risk manager.


Before joining NuScale, Feldman spent 12 years in the aerospace and defense industry. From 2008-2012, she was CEO of Zero Point Frontiers Corp. a small business start-up that provided technical and programmatic support to U.S. government and commercial space programs.  She has provided consulting services on risk management, decision analysis, and program planning.  Feldman started her career at The Aerospace Corporation, a federally-funded research and development center, where she spent seven years providing risk planning and assessment support for U.S. Air Force and NASA programs. 


Feldman holds a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering and radiological sciences from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Mr. Raymond Furstenau 

Director, Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission 

Raymond Furstenau is the Director of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research. Furstenau came to the NRC from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), where he served as Associate Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Central Technical Authority of the Office of Nuclear Energy. He has previously served as the Chief of Nuclear Safety for the Under Secretary of Energy. Prior to his senior leadership positions at DOE, Furstenau worked in various roles at the DOE Idaho Operations Office for more than 25 years, providing Federal oversight of nuclear energy and national security research programs and safety oversight of nuclear facility operations at the Idaho National Laboratory. He also served in the military on active duty as an officer in the Army Finance Corps and in the Army Reserve. Furstenau holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Science and Engineering from the U.S. Military Academy and a Master of Science degree in Nuclear Science and Engineering from Idaho State University.

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Ms. Kirsty Gogan

Co-Founder & Executive Director

Energy for Humanity (EFH),

Kirsty Gogan, MSc. is co-founder and executive director of Energy for Humanity (EFH), an environmental NGO focused on large scale deep decarbonization and energy access. EFH led a delegation of the world’s most highly regarded climate scientists to Paris COP21 in order to make the case for nuclear to be recognized as a vital part of the clean energy mix. EFH was subsequently shortlisted for the Business Green Leaders “Green NGO of the Year” Award in 2016. At COP23, EFH published a new report on European Climate Leadership 2017 and presented a new study on Decarbonizing Cities with Advanced Nuclear. She is also founding director of CleanTech Catalyst (a consultancy specializing in climate and energy), recently commissioned by the UK-based Energy Technologies Institute to lead the Nuclear Cost Drivers Study in partnership with Lucid Strategy (based in Cambridge, MA). The Study has proven foundational for current UK policy on nuclear new build.


Kirsty is regularly invited as an expert speaker on science communication, nuclear competitiveness and innovation to high profile events around the world. She has more than 15 years’ experience as a senior advisor to industry, non-profits and Government, including at 10 Downing St, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, and the Department of Energy and Climate Change, where she ran the national public consultation on nuclear new build, reviewed the national communications response to Fukushima and revised national guidance for civil nuclear emergency planning and response.

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Dr. Alan Icenhour

Associate Laboratory Director, Nuclear Science & Engineering

Oak Ridge National Laboratory 

Dr. Alan Icenhour is the Associate Laboratory Director (ALD) for the Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate (NSED) at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). NSED operates state-of-the-art nuclear facilities and conducts technology research, development, and application programs that impact a large range of fields from basic science to reactor development to national security. As ALD, Dr. Icenhour leads three research divisions (Fusion and Materials for Nuclear Systems, Nuclear Security and Isotope Technology, and Reactor and Nuclear Systems), one operating division (Nonreactor Nuclear Facilities), and the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors, the U.S. Department of Energy’s first energy innovation hub. NSED mission areas include research and development (R&D) for both fission and fusion technologies; advanced modeling and simulation; stable and radioactive isotope R&D and production; research, development, and deployment of technologies to address nuclear security challenges globally; and safe and efficient operation of ORNL’s nuclear facilities.


Prior to his role as ALD, Dr. Icenhour has served as the director of three ORNL divisions: the Global Nuclear Security Technology Division, the Fuel Cycle and Isotopes Division, and the Nuclear Security and Isotope Technology Division. 


Dr. Icenhour joined ORNL in 1990. His more than 30 years of nuclear experience have included R&D on a range of fuel cycle topics such as enrichment, radiochemical processing, stable and radioisotope production, nuclear fuels, radiation effects on materials, radioactive waste management, and nuclear security. He completed a 21 month special assignment in Washington, D.C., as a Senior Technical Advisor to the Proliferation Detection Program within the Office of Nonproliferation Research and Development (NA-22) of the National Nuclear Security Administration. 


Before joining ORNL, he served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy on a nuclear powered submarine. After leaving active duty, he continued his service with the Navy as an active reservist, retiring in August 2010 at the rank of Captain (O-6). He received his B.S. degree in nuclear engineering from North Carolina State University, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in nuclear engineering from the University of Tennessee. He is an Adjunct Professor of Nuclear Engineering at the University of Tennessee. He is a fellow of the American Nuclear Society and a member of the Institute for Nuclear Materials Management.

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Mr. Ramzi Jammal

Executive Vice-President and Chief Regulatory Operations Officer
Regulatory Operations Branch, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC)

Ramzi Jammal has worked for the CNSC since 1998, holding progressively senior positions. He has accumulated over 20 years of experience in the nuclear industry, combining management skills with scientific expertise, and representing the CNSC in various international activities. These include the development and establishment of the IAEA Code of Conduct for the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, and the international categorization of radioactive sources. He also played a key role in ensuring that the recommendations of the International Commission on Radiation Protection complemented the CNSC's regulatory needs.


Prior to joining the CNSC, Mr. Jammal was the Technical Manager of the Department of Radiological Sciences Nuclear Medicine Division at the Ottawa Hospital's Civic Campus. Under his leadership, the department became the first filmless nuclear medicine department in Canada.

He has received several academic awards, including the North American Society of Nuclear Medicine’s First Place Award for new scientific advancements in nuclear medicine.

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Mr. Shane Johnson

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Technology

U.S. Department of Energy

Mr. Johnson serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Technology Demonstration and Deployment in the Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) where he is responsible for NE’s light water reactor programs focused on sustainability of the existing US fleet of commercial reactors and the development of small modular reactors for the future, NE’s competitive R&D and infrastructure investment programs, and the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative.  Prior to his current assignment, Mr. Johnson served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science and Technology Innovation and spent over seven years as NE’s Acting Assistant Secretary, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, and Chief Operating Officer. 

Mr. Johnson is also responsible for NE’s Nuclear Energy University Programs which has resulted in over $450 million in R&D, infrastructure, and scholarship/fellowship awards to the nation’s universities since 2009.  In addition, Mr. Johnson’s leadership has been instrumental in the development of critical R&D capabilities necessary to support nuclear energy, including the Idaho National Laboratory-centered Nuclear Science User Facilities program, and the Nuclear Energy Advanced Modeling and Simulation and Energy Innovation Hub for Modeling and Simulation programs.  Earlier in his career, Mr. Johnson was responsible for the Department’s high impact Nuclear Power 2010 program which resulted in the design finalization, licensing approval, and start of construction of the first four new commercial nuclear power plants in the U.S. in over 30 years.

Mr. Johnson has over 30 years of management and engineering experience in both government and private industry. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering, a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, and is also a licensed Professional Engineer. Mr. Johnson was a 2006 recipient of the Presidential Rank Award - recognized for his exceptional leadership, long-term accomplishments, and consistent demonstration of strength, integrity, industry, and commitment to excellence in public service.


Dr. Hussein Khalil 

Director, Nuclear Energy and Security Program
Distinguished Fellow

Argonne National Laboratory

Hussein S. Khalil is director of Argonne's Nuclear Energy and Security Program. He oversees the Lab's research on nuclear reactor technology and nuclear non-proliferation. He joined Argonne in 1983 and has carried out research to optimize fast-reactor core design and improve computational methods for reactor physics, dynamics and fuel cycle analysis.

Dr. Khalil is an Argonne Distinguished Fellow and a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society. He earned a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983 and an MBA from the University of Chicago in 1996.

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Dr. Miroslav Krstic

Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Research;

Director of Cymer Center for Control Systems and Dynamics

UC San Diego

Dr. Miroslav Krstic is Distinguished Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, holds the Alspach endowed chair, and is the founding director of the Cymer Center for Control Systems and Dynamics at UC San Diego. He also serves as Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Research at UCSD. As a graduate student, Krstic won the UC Santa Barbara best dissertation award and student best paper awards at CDC and ACC. Krstic has been elected Fellow of seven scientific societies - IEEE, IFAC, ASME, SIAM, AAAS, IET (UK), and AIAA (Assoc. Fellow) - and as a foreign member of the Academy of Engineering of Serbia. He has received the ASME Oldenburger Medal, Nyquist Lecture Prize, Paynter Outstanding Investigator Award, Ragazzini Education Award, Chestnut textbook prize, the PECASE, NSF Career, and ONR Young Investigator awards, the Axelby and Schuck paper prizes, and the first UCSD Research Award given to an engineer. Krstic has also been awarded the Springer Visiting Professorship at UC Berkeley, the Distinguished Visiting Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Invitation Fellowship of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and honorary professorships from several universities in China. He serves as Senior Editor in IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control and Automatica, as editor of two Springer book series, and has served as Vice President for Technical Activities of the IEEE Control Systems Society and as chair of the IEEE CSS Fellow Committee. Krstic has coauthored twelve books on adaptive, nonlinear, and stochastic control, extremum seeking, control of PDE systems including turbulent flows, and control of delay systems.

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Dr. David Kropaczek

Director, CASL

Oak Ridge National Lab

Dave Kropaczek joined ORNL in 2018 as CASL Director. Dave comes to us after serving as CASL Chief Scientist for 2 years and brings more than 25 years of nuclear experience to the position of CASL Director, most recently serving as the Duke Energy Distinguished Professor in Nuclear Engineering at North Carolina State University (NCSU). Prior to that Dave served as president and chief executive officer of Studsvik Scandpower, Inc. and in other positions at Studsvik Scandpower, General Electric, and Westinghouse. His career has been focused on developing and applying light water reactor analysis methods within these positions and his areas of expertise include computational reactor physics and nuclear fuel cycles and optimization

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Mr. Chris Levesque 

President and CEO


Chris Levesque joined TerraPower as president in 2015 and assumed the role of chief executive officer in 2018. He also serves on the company’s Board of Managers and the board of the Nuclear Energy Institute. He brings over 25 years of experience in the nuclear industry, including senior leadership roles for two large new build reactor projects in Finland and South Carolina.

His extensive experience and dedication to the nuclear industry has helped TerraPower build a vital bridge between nuclear innovation and project execution while reinforcing the company’s emphasis on safety culture. His proven track record in scoping, planning and implementing projects to meet the highest standards began with his Naval service and continues through his leadership of major nuclear engineering, procurement and construction projects.

Prior to joining TerraPower, Levesque served as a vice president at Westinghouse Electric Company where he directed a consortium project for one of America’s first new reactor construction efforts in several decades. He was the AREVA deputy project director at Finland’s Olkiluoto 3 nuclear project, the largest-ever industrial project in northern Europe. Before his assignment in Finland, he led the formation of AREVA’s joint venture with Newport News Shipbuilding, AREVA Newport News, for which he served as chairman of the Board and president.

Levesque has extensive experience with the nuclear industrial base and nuclear component

manufacturing. Earlier in his career, Levesque served as the manager of engineering and manufacturing at Westinghouse’s Newington, N.H., component manufacturing facility, and he has served in multiple management positions at two nuclear-capable shipyards. Levesque began his career as a nuclear submarine officer and he qualified as chief engineer on the USS Boise (SSN 764).


Levesque holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Master of Science in mechanical engineering and naval engineer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Mr. Lee Mason
STMD Principal Technologist for Power & Energy Storage
Glenn Research Center

National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA)

Mr. Mason has been a power and propulsion technologist at NASA’s Glenn Research Center for almost 30 years. During his career, he has helped to develop advanced radioisotope power systems for deep space science, compact fission reactors for surface power and nuclear electric propulsion, high temperature solar arrays for near-sun missions, solar dynamic power systems for the space station, and high power Hall-effect thrusters for earth orbiting satellites.


Prior to his new assignment as the Principal Technologist for Power and Energy Storage, Mr. Mason was Chief of the Thermal Energy Conversion Branch in the Glenn Power Division. His branch was instrumental in maturing the high efficiency Stirling power convertors and the alkali-metal heat pipes that could revolutionize future space nuclear power systems.


He has written over 100 technical publications on space power and propulsion and generated several patent applications related to space nuclear power. Mr. Mason is the recipient of the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal (2006), the Rotary National Stellar Award (2010), R&D100 Award (2013) and the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal (2014). He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Dayton and a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Cleveland State University.

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Dr. Kathryn McCarthy

Vice-President, Research and Development

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

Dr. Kathryn McCarthy is Vice-President, Research and Development for the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories.


From February 2012 to January 2017 she was Director of Domestic Programs for Nuclear Science and Technology (NS&T) at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), and the Director of the Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program Technical Integration Office for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE).  Prior to that she was Deputy Associate Laboratory Director for NS&T at INL, National Technical Director for the Systems Analysis Campaign for the DOE-NE Fuel Cycle R&D Program, and was involved in various other nuclear fission and fusion programs before that; she was employed at the INL for 25 years. She received her B.S. in Nuclear Engineering at the University of Arizona; M.S. and Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles.  Dr. McCarthy was a Guest Scientist at the Kernforschungszentrum in Karlsruhe, Germany, March-September 1989, worked in the Soviet Union with the Department of Energy US/USSR Young Scientist Program (September 1989-August 1990), at the Efremov and Kurchatov Institutes in Russia, and the Latvian Academy of Science in Latvia.


Dr. McCarthy is a member of the American Nuclear Society (ANS), and has held multiple offices at the local and national level. Her awards include the an ANS Presidential citation in 2015 for “Leadership and guidance of the Light Water Reactor Sustainability effort….that has helped set the stage for US power companies to be able to make informed decisions regarding subsequent license renewal for their operating nuclear units…,” 2011 Nuclear Energy Advocate of the Year Award (given by the Partnership for Science and Technology), the 2011 Girl Scouts of Silver Sage Women of Today and Tomorrow Award, an American Nuclear Society Presidential Citation in 2007 for “…outstanding service to the ANS,” the 2000 ANS Women's Achievement Award, 1996 International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor U.S. Home Team Leadership Award, and the 1994 David Rose Award for Excellence in Fusion Engineering.

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Hon. Jeffrey Merrifield
Former Commissioner, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Chairman, USNIC Advanced Reactor Task Force;
Partner - Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Jeffrey Merrifield is a partner in the Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP’s energy practice.  Mr. Merrifield was appointed by President Clinton and reappointed by President Bush to serve on the five-member, Senate-confirmed, independent United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. During his tenure, which was from October 1998 to June 2002 and from August 2002 to June 2007, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission had a staff of 3,250 employees with a budget of $900 million and set all policies and rules that govern the safe and secure use of nuclear materials at the 104 U.S. nuclear power plants operating at that time.


Prior to joining Pillsbury, Mr. Merrifield served as President of The Merrifield Group, LLC where he provided energy and environmental consulting, advocacy and strategic advice for companies, organizations and individuals. Specific areas of focus included management, energy market analysis, nuclear, fossil and alternative energy policy and deployment, radioactive and hazardous waste disposal strategies, safety and regulatory assessment and analysis, as well as public and government engagement.


Before working with the Merrifield Group, Mr. Merrifield was the Senior Vice President of Global Business Development with CB&I’s Power Business Unit. While there, he led a team of twenty-five sales and proposal staff to develop and win over $1.5 billion in annual sales, including the first competitive, EPC combined cycle gas unit in over six years.


Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President for The Shaw Group, Inc.’s Power Group. As a member of the Power Group's executive team, he was responsible for overseeing the group's external relationships including nuclear business development, customer relations, strategic planning, marketing and communications, as well as government and regulatory affairs.


Mr. Merrifield also served on the Board of Directors for the U.S. Ecology Corporation, which is one of the largest U.S. operators of both hazardous and low-level radioactive waste disposal facilities. He served as the Lead Director and Chairman of the Governance Committee and was a member of the Compensation and Audit Committees.


Currently, Mr. Merrifield serves as the Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Industry Council’s Advanced Reactors Task Force.  Composed of more than 70 companies, the Council is the leading business consortium advocate for new nuclear energy and the promotion of the American supply chain globally.

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Dr. Kemal Pasamehmetoglu

Executive Director for the Versatile Test Reactor

Idaho National Laboratory

 Dr. Kemal Pasamehmetoglu has been with the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) since 2004, currently serving as the Executive Director for the Versatile Test Reactor (VTR). Previously he served as the Associate Laboratory Director for the Nuclear Science & Technology Directorate between 2012 and 2017. He was instrumental in the launch of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative and initially served as the director for GAIN after its inception. Kemal also served as the national technical director (NTD) for Advanced Fuels Research and Development in the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative while also serving as the Nuclear Fuels and Materials Division Director at INL between 2005 and 2012. During his tenure as a fuels and materials division director and as a NTD he has focused on transforming nuclear fuels research and development capabilities in the nation and at INL into world-leading endeavors. Prior to his time at INL, he held senior technical leadership positions at Los Alamos National Laboratory where he worked between 1986 and 2004. He started his career working on light-water reactor safety research. He holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Central Florida and has more than 30 years of research and engineering experience within the Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratory system. 

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Dr. Mark Peters

Laboratory Director

Idaho National Laboratory 

Dr. Mark Peters is the director of Idaho National Laboratory with responsibilities for management and integration of a large, multipurpose laboratory whose mission focuses on nuclear energy, national and homeland security, and energy and environmental science and technology. He manages this U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory of more than 4,000 scientists, engineers and support staff in multiple nuclear and non-nuclear experimental facilities, with an annual budget of over $900 million. Peters also serves as a senior adviser to the Department of Energy on nuclear energy technologies, research and development programs, and nuclear waste policy. As a recognized expert in nuclear fuel cycle technologies and nuclear waste management, he is called upon frequently to provide expert testimony to Congress and to advise in formulation of policies for nuclear fuel cycles, nonproliferation and nuclear waste disposal. Peters was honored in 2015 as a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) for outstanding accomplishments in the area of nuclear science and technology.

Previously, Peters was the associate laboratory director for Energy and Global Security at Argonne National Laboratory. He was responsible for the management and integration of the laboratory’s energy and global security programs. As the associate laboratory director, he managed an organization of more than 800 staff with an annual budget of more than $250 million. Prior to that, in his position as deputy laboratory director for Programs at Argonne, he was responsible for the management and integration of the laboratory’s science and technology portfolio, strategic planning, Laboratory Directed Research and Development program, and technology development and commercialization. In an earlier role as a deputy associate laboratory director for Energy Sciences and Engineering, he was responsible for the development of new program opportunities at the laboratory, particularly in the area of energy storage, nuclear storage, nuclear energy, nuclear safety and waste management. He serves as an expert adviser to the DOE Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (AFCI) and as the AFCI National Campaign director for Waste Forms and Used Fuel Disposition.

At Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico, Peters served as the senior scientist to the director of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM), and was the external spokesman for the OCRWM science and technology programs. Peters was widely recognized for his efforts in addressing and resolving sensitive policy and technical issues on used fuel disposition. He led many interactions with independent technical, oversight, and regulatory bodies, and was commended by the OCRWM director for his efforts. In a prior position, he managed LANL’s science and engineering testing program at the Yucca Mountain Project. Early in his career, Peters was a geochemistry research fellow at the California Institute of Technology, where he focused on trace-element geochemistry. He has authored more than 60 scientific publications, and is a recognized expert at national and international meetings.

Peters held an adjunct faculty appointment in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Northwestern University, and was a senior fellow in the Northwestern Argonne Institute of Science and Engineering from 2013 to 2015. He serves on several advisory boards and councils that support innovation and economic development. These include the Harman Innovation Advisory Council, Energy Foundry Board of Directors, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Engineering Advisory Board, and the Scientific Advisory Committee for Notre Dame’s Energy Frontier Research Center.

Peters is an active member of professional organizations, including the Geological Society of America, where he served as a member of the Committee on Geology and Public Policy. He is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the Geochemical Society, the Mineralogical Society of America, and the American Nuclear Society. He serves on the ANS Public Policy Committee, and the Executive Committee of the ANS Fuel Cycle and Waste Management Division. His professional achievements have resulted in his election to Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, as well as Sigma Gamma Epsilon, the Earth Sciences Honorary Society.

Peters earned his doctorate in geophysical sciences from the University of Chicago and his bachelor’s in geology from Auburn University. He has undertaken extensive management and leadership education and training, including completion of the Strategic Laboratory Leadership Program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

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Dr. Albert P. Pisano

Professor and Dean

UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

In his role as Dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering, Albert P. Pisano is responsible for strategic planning and programmatic development. His responsibilities include School-wide research initiatives, space plans, academic affairs, strategic planning and operations, and UC San Diego-wide cooperative initiatives.

As Dean of the Jacobs School, Pisano holds the Walter J. Zable Chair in Engineering. He is an active researcher who serves on the faculty of the departments of mechanical and aerospace engineering and electrical and computer engineering.

Prior to September 2013, Pisano served on the UC Berkeley faculty. The FANUC Endowed Chair of Mechanical Systems, he held faculty appointments in mechanical engineering and in electrical engineering and computer sciences. Pisano served as senior co-Director of the Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center (an NSF Industry-University Cooperative Research Center), Director of the Electronics Research Laboratory (UC Berkeley’s largest organized research unit), and Faculty Head of the Program Office for Operational Excellence, among other leadership positions.

In 2001, Pisano was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for contributions to the design, fabrication, commercialization, and educational aspects of MEMS. From 1997 to 1999, Pisano served as a program manager for the MEMS Program at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and an awardee of the Thomas Egleston Medal forDistinguished Engineering Achievement by notable alumni of Columbia University.

Pisano earned his undergraduate (’76) and graduate degrees (’77, ’80, ’81) in mechanical engineering at Columbia University. Prior to joining the faculty at UC Berkeley, he held research positions with Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, Singer Sewing Machines Corporate R&D Center and General Motors Research Labs.

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Mr. Robin Rickman 

Vice President of Corporate Development

Terrestrial Energy

Robin Rickman serves as Terrestrial Energy's Vice President of Corporate Development where he assists the company with the development of strategic relationships with suppliers and customers. Mr. Rickman came to Terrestrial Energy from Westinghouse Electric Company, where he had escalating management positions in the areas of strategic project development, most recently, serving as the Director of New Reactor Projects, which included its Small Modular Reactor program.  Mr. Rickman has over 40 years of experience in the nuclear industry, spending equal amounts of time in the nuclear navy and the civilian nuclear power sector.  


In the US Navy, Mr. Rickman held various management positions.  He supervised the safe operation and maintenance of nuclear reactor plants and associated steam plant systems including supervision, inspection and testing of all nuclear systems on a new construction 688(I) class submarine.  


Since leaving the US Navy’s nuclear submarine propulsion program, Robin has worked successfully in both federal and private energy sector enterprises, specializing in the intersection of private energy investments and public sector policy at state, federal and international levels of governance and regulation. Adept at program, project, and business management functions with a solid reputation for building productive and sustained business relationships at all levels.


In the civilian power sector, Mr. Rickman has specialized in reactor maintenance as well as R&D, in various management roles.  He was in charge of mechanical maintenance at Braidwood Nuclear Generating Station; He was Principal Technical Specialist and project-managed the development of several advanced nuclear projects at Idaho National Laboratory.


Mr. Rickman is a member of a number of industrial and institutional advisory boards and working groups and received his nuclear training at the Naval Nuclear Power School.

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Dr. Rachel Slaybaugh
Program Director, Advanced Nuclear Reactor Systems
Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)

Dr. Rachel Slaybaugh currently serves as a Program Director at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). Her focus at ARPA-E includes a wide range of technologies to enable advanced nuclear reactor systems.

Slaybaugh is also an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. There, she researches numerical methods for neutral particle transport with an emphasis on supercomputing and advanced architectures. Her research applies to reactor design, shielding, and nuclear security and non-proliferation. Slaybaugh also runs the Nuclear Innovation Bootcamp to train the next generation of people working on nuclear energy. She was appointed to the Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee and she serves as a Senior Fellow at the Breakthrough Institute. 

Slaybaugh earned an M.S. and Ph.D. in nuclear engineering and engineering physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds a B.S. in nuclear engineering from Pennsylvania State University. 

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Dr. Christopher R. Stanek

NEAMS National Technical Director

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Chris Stanek is the National Technical Director of the U.S. Department of Energy Nuclear Energy Advanced Modeling and Simulation (NEAMS) program, and was previously the focus area lead of Materials Performance Optimization for the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of LWRs (CASL) - A DOE Energy Innovation Hub for Modeling and Simulation of Nuclear Reactors.  

Stanek received his B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from Cornell University where he was a McMullen Scholar and his Ph.D. in Materials from Imperial College London. His research interests focus on the interaction between multidimensional defects in ceramics, primarily via atomistic simulation of oxide nuclear fuel performance techniques.  Stanek has published over one hundred papers related to defect behavior in ceramics.

Stanek has a particular interest in materials for nuclear energy, including robust nuclear waste form development, defect engineering of optical materials, transmutation fuels, crystalline waste forms and scintillator radiation detectors.

In November 2016, Chris received the prestigious Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellows Prize in leadership. 

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Dr. Kurt Terrani

Technical Lead, Transformational Challenge Reactor Program

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Kurt Terrani is a Senior Staff Scientist and the Leader of the Nuclear Fuels Materials Group at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). He joined the laboratory as a Weinberg Fellow in the Nuclear Fuel Materials Group in 2010 after completing his Ph.D. in nuclear engineering at University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on fundamental aspects of nuclear fuel behavior under normal and transient operating conditions and development of advanced nuclear fuels. These areas span across advanced fuel fabrication including application of advanced manufacturing techniques, in-pile testing and post-irradiation characterization of fuel constituents, accident testing of fission reactor components, and integral fuel behavior modeling.

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Dr. George Tynan

Associate Dean of Engineering;

Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

Dr. Tynan is Associate Dean of Engineering at the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering and Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Professor Tynan's current research is focused on the plasma physics of controlled nuclear fusion as an energy source. He studies the fundamental physics of turbulent transport in hot confined plasmas using both smaller scaled laboratory plasma devices as well as large scale fusion experiments located around the world. In addition, he is investigating how solid material surfaces interact with the boundary region of fusion plasmas, and how the materials are modified by that interaction. He is also interested in the larger issue of transitioning to a sustainable energy economy based upon a mixture of efficient end use technologies, large scale deployment of renewable energy sources, and incorporation of a new generation of nuclear technologies such as advanced fission and fusion reactor systems. He is preparing a textbook on these topics to introduce science and engineering students to this critical issue. He received his Ph.D. in 1991 from the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles. He then spent several years studying the effect of sheared flows on plasma turbulence on experiments located in the Federal Republic of Germany and at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. He then worked in industry developing plasma sources for use in investigating the creation of nano-meter scale semiconductor circuits, and joined the UCSD faculty in 1999.

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Dr. Martin van Staden

Vice President, Reactor Development


Martin has been in the power generation environment for 25 years. He is currently leading technical design work and supporting licensing efforts for X-energy. Martin began his career as a mechanical engineer at Eskom Lethabo Power Station in South Africa. He eventually moved to Eskom's R&D facility where he established a computational fluid design simulation group and performed research. In 1995 he founded Aerotherm, a company that engages in international consulting in optimization, design, development and fault-finding analysis in many industries including power generation, aeronautics, nuclear and hydraulic design, and chemical processes. Martin also previously worked for PBMR (Pty) Ltd in South Africa. Martin received a B.Eng. in mechanical engineering & mathematics, an M.Eng in computational fluid design from the North-West University (formerly Potchefstroom University) and a D.Eng. from the University of Johannesburg. Martin has authored over 30 technical papers.


Mr. Jeff Whitt

Director, Business Development

Contracts & Services - North America

Fuel Commercial & Customer Center


As Business Development Director in the Fuel Commercial & Customer Center for Framatome, Mr. Whitt holds responsibility for the facilitation of Strategic Business Development for the group, including those related to advanced fuel products.  Prior to assuming this position, Mr. Whitt held a series of positions including:

  • Operational Performance manager responsible for growth and performance of new services, including cooperative agreements and increased engagement with the US DOE,

  • U. S. Bid Factory Manager responsible for the management and delivery of proposals for fuel fabrication and services as well as the associated contracting efforts,

  • Program and Project Manager positions for various activities, including coordination of strategic initiatives, contractual and financial analysis, product and process improvement efforts, as well as leadership of Root Cause Analysis (RCA) teams.


Mr Whitt began his career in the Nuclear Industry 34 years ago after completion of an apprenticeship with General Electric  Co. and has held several positions associated with fabrication, design, and technical management and is the holder of five patents related to the fabrication of nuclear fuel.  He holds a degree in Business Management from Averett University.

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Hon. David A. Wright


U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The Honorable David A. Wright was sworn in as a Commissioner of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on May 30, 2018, and is currently serving the remainder of a five-year term ending June 30, 2020.

Since 2013, Commissioner Wright served as Owner/President of Wright Directions, LLC, a strategic consulting, policy development and communications business focusing on energy and water. During this time, he also was a member of the Advisory Council of the Bipartisan Policy Center's Nuclear Waste Initiative; and an Ex Officio Member and Chairman Emeritus of the Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition, an ad hoc organization representing the interests of industry, state officials, local governments and tribes, and consumer advocates.

From 2004-2013, Commissioner Wright served the South Carolina Public Service Commission in a variety of capacities, including Vice Chairman and Chairman. From 2011-2012, he served as President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners; he had previously served the association in other capacities, including as a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors. From 2010-2013, Commissioner Wright was a member of the Advisory Board of the Board of Directors of the Electric Power Research Institute.

Previously, he was elected councilman and mayor in Irmo, S.C., and to the South Carolina House of Representatives.

A colon cancer survivor, Commissioner Wright is an advocate for cancer awareness and education, and a former member of the Leadership Council for the Cancer Centers at the University of South Carolina. He was presented with the Community Champions Award by Molina Healthcare of South Carolina in 2016 and the Blue Star Service Excellence Award by the USC Center for Colon Cancer Research in 2014. In 1996, he received South Carolina's highest citizen honor, The Order of the Palmetto.

Commissioner Wright received a bachelor's degree in political science from Clemson University.

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Dr. Steven J. Zinkle

UTK/ORNL Governor’s Chair for Nuclear Materials
Department of Nuclear Engineering and Department of Materials Science & Engineering

University of Tennessee

Steve Zinkle is a UTK/ORNL Governor’s Chair in the Nuclear Engineering Department with a joint appointment in the Materials Science & Engineering Department at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


Prior to October, 2013, he was the Chief Scientist of the Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate and a Corporate Fellow at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). He previously served as the director of the ORNL Materials Science and Technology Division from 2006 - 2010, and in a variety of research scientist and program management roles since he joined ORNL in 1985 as a Eugene Wigner fellow.


Much of his research has utilized materials science to explore fundamental physical phenomena that are important for advanced nuclear energy applications. His research interests include deformation and fracture mechanisms in structural materials, design and development of new high-performance structural materials, and investigation of radiation effects in ceramics, fuel systems, and metallic alloys for fusion and fission energy systems. His research has been instrumental in defining performance limits and operating temperature windows for materials in nuclear energy systems.


He received his PhD in Nuclear Engineering and an MS in Materials Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985. He has written over 240 peer-reviewed publications, is a recipient of the 2006 U.S. Department of Energy E.O. Lawrence Award, and is a fellow of 7 professional societies including American Physical Society, The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS), the American Nuclear Society, Materials Research Society, ASM International and the American Ceramic Society. His awards include the inaugural Robert W. Cahn award from Elsevier in 2010, the 2007 Mishima Award from the American Nuclear Society for outstanding R&D on nuclear materials and fuels, and the 2010 University of Wisconsin College of Engineering Distinguished Achievement Award. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.


The Advanced Reactors Summit VIII

& Technology Trailblazers Showcase


March 23-25, 2021 | Virtual Summit


Technology and Innovation in Advanced Nuclear

Under the auspices of

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