Three Mile Island. Chernobyl. Fukushima. When coupled with the issues of waste disposal, weapons proliferation, large up-front capital costs and long lead times, will the disaster at Fukushima derail global nuclear energy development once and for all? Or will a combination of strengthened nuclear governance and accelerated innovation ultimately rescue what is the only low-carbon energy source that is both scalable and already meeting a large amount of the world’s energy demand?
Dr. Richard Lester, one of the world’s foremost experts in the field of nuclear energy, will discuss the potential of nuclear reactor and fuel cycle innovations with respect to economic competitiveness, modularity, safety and energy security. He will evaluate the role of America’s nuclear energy innovation system, including new challenges for nuclear science and engineering education.
Richard K. Lester is Head of MIT’s Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, where he is also the founding director of the MIT Industrial Performance Center. His research focuses on innovation management and policy, with an emphasis on the energy and manufacturing sectors. He has also published widely on the management and control of nuclear technology.
Dr. Lester received his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Imperial College (London) and his PhD in nuclear engineering from MIT. He has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1979. He serves on several boards and as an advisor and consultant to corporations, governments, foundations and non-profit groups, and speaks frequently to academic, business and general audiences throughout the world.
Professor Lester’s latest book, Unlocking Energy Innovation, will be published by MIT Press in November. In addition to many other books, he published the landmark Made in America with
Michael Dertouzos and Robert Solow. He is also the co-author of the widely-cited recent MIT reports on The Future of Nuclear Power and The Future of Coal.