[PAST EVENT] Nuclear Energy: Gap-Filler for Renewables or Energy for the Ages?

February 11, 2017
8:45am - 4pm
Law School, Room 120
613 S Henry St
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location

Panel One: Where We Are and Where We're Going: Regulations and Technology (9:00 AM - 11:45 AM)

The first panel will include an overview of nuclear energy. Once we have a basic understanding of how current nuclear reactors work, we will take a look at where they will be going and what it takes to get a license to operate.

We will answer basic questions like:

  • How much of our electricity comes from nuclear?
  • How do the most common nuclear reactors work?
  • Is nuclear energy clean? What about the radioactive waste?

Regulations are a huge factor in whether and how companies invest in nuclear energy. We'll discuss the current landscape look and how is it likely to change.

  • What is the status of the Clean Power Plan and how does that affect nuclear power plants?
  • What are our international obligations? Are they binding? 
  • How do local regulators deal with the dangers and effects of having a nuclear facility down the street?
  • Should Virginia its lift ban on uranium mining?
  • Who is trying to influence nuclear regulations? Where are the points of tension?
  • What can we do with the waste?
  • How can policy makers collaborate to make a cohesive plan?
  • How do we prevent the next nuclear reactor disaster?

New reactor designs can take decades to develop, construct, and permit. 

  • What are the new reactor designs? How do they compare with current technologies?
  • What kinds of problems do they solve? What new problems do they create?
  • How will next generation reactors change the nuclear landscape and waste?
  • What are the legal ramifications of pursuing nuclear energy vs renewable resources?
  • How do countries work together to solve these issues?
  • What is the time horizon for new reactors?

Panel Two: The Threat of Nuclear Weapon Proliferation vs the Right to Peaceful Nuclear Energy (1:15 PM - 2:30 PM)

Nuclear energy can be appealing for states, but what about states that want to use nuclear energy as a stepping stone to nuclear weapons? 

We will answer questions like:

  • What are the proliferation risks of allowing nuclear reactors in a state that already has nuclear weapons? In a state with nuclear power but no weapons? Introducing it to a state with neither?
  • What kinds of international safeguards are in place?
  • What about states like Iran who claim to want nuclear reactors for peaceful purposes but may adapt it to nuclear weapons?
  • Will the Iran Deal stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons? What is break out time?
  • How could we improve the Iran Deal in future dealings?

Panel Three: Debate (2:30 PM - 3:30 PM)

Now that we have gone through the basics of nuclear energy and policy, what does the future hold for nuclear energy? This debate will feature speakers from across the political, ideological, and professional spectrum.


Zachary Hawari [[e|zhawari]]