Perhaps no source of energy sparks as much debate as nuclear power. Heralded in the 1950s and 1960s as the way of the future—only to face growing concern in the 1970s and 1980s around ties to nuclear weapons proliferation, safety, and waste—interest in nuclear power plants has chilled. Questions about the future of the industry have been raised, enlivened by Japan's nuclear crisis at Fukushima and the now paramount issues relating to energy security and climate change.

Building on research from the Center on Global Energy Policy—a three-part series on nuclear technology, the geopolitics of nuclear energy, and U.S. policy—this panel examined the history of nuclear power, its future, and the policy and business choices that lie ahead. This event was made possible, in part, by support from the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.

Distinguished experts on the panel included: 

  • Dr. Andrew Kadak, former President of the American Nuclear Society and MIT Professor
  • Tim Frazier, former Senior DOE Official and Principal, TAFrazier LLC
  • Dr. Patricia Culligan, Professor of Civil Engineering at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Columbia University
  • Dr. Nicola de Blasio, Fellow, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University
  • Richard Nephew, Senior Research Scholar, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University