Association Webinars: Advances in Nuclear Power: Increased Resiliency in Face of COVID-19 and Other Potential Challenges


The COVID-19 crisis has posed unique challenges to U.S. electricity grid management that span workforce demands to generation asset management. These challenges prompt additional considerations that the energy sector should consider as they accelerate the transition to low-carbon systems. This webinar will explore the role existing nuclear energy generation has played with other fuel types to meet the grid's needs, adaptations electrical utilities have made to operate its assets in this unique staffing environment, and the attributes the next generation of nuclear technologies, like small modular reactors and advanced reactors, possess that could improve grid resiliency to unforeseen challenges like COVID-19.


Eric Knox currently serves as Vice President, Strategic Development of Nuclear & Environment for Amentum. In this role, he leads strategic development activities for the Nuclear & Environment Business Unit and his responsibilities include, identification and maturation of strategic initiatives and acquisitions, repository development pursuits both domestically and internationally, international cooperation on waste management and disposal activities and thought leadership initiatives advancement.


Jeremy Harrell is the Managing Director, Policy at ClearPath, a research and advocacy organization focused on free-market ideas that promote innovation and accelerate clean energy deployment. He spearheads the organization's public policy initiatives, including educating policymakers on investing wisely in energy innovation, streamlining regulations that needlessly restrict clean energy development, and other concepts that lead to a cleaner, more reliable, and more affordable electricity sector. Prior to joining ClearPath, he advised Congressional Republicans on energy, environmental, technology, national security, transportation, and tax policies for nearly a decade. In addition to his work at ClearPath, Jeremy serves as the Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Industry Council and the Co-Chair of the Geothermal Resource Council's Legislative Affairs Committee

Jose Reyes is the co-founder of NuScale Power and co-designer of the NuScale passively-cooled small nuclear reactor. He is an internationally recognized expert on passive safety system design, testing and operations for nuclear power plants. He has served as a United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) technical expert on passive safety systems. He is a co-inventor on over 110 patents granted or pending in 20 countries. He has received several national awards including the 2013 Nuclear Energy Advocate Award, the 2014 American Nuclear Society Thermal Hydraulic Division Technical Achievement Award and the 2017 Nuclear Infrastructure Council Trailblazer Award. He is a fellow of the American Nuclear Society and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Kelly Lefler is a Senior Advisor in the Office of Nuclear Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. She works on a broad range of nuclear energy topics spanning electricity markets and the economic challenges facing the current U.S. reactor fleet, global nuclear markets, advanced reactor development, and grid modernization. She previously worked in the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis at the Department on nuclear energy, natural gas and gas-electricity system interdependencies, and decommissioning. She has contributed to major cross-cutting analytical efforts at the Department, such as the Staff Report to the Secretary on Electricity Markets and Reliability and the Second Installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review.

Michelle Conner, works for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) as the Small Modular Reactors (SMR) Senior Manager of Operations and Training. In this role she served to support the SMR project in the successful NRC approval of the Clinch River Early Site Permit (ESP). Michelle has over 20 years of commericial nuclear experience in Operations, Licensing/Regulatory Affairs, Organizational Effectiveness, and Project Management.


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