Skip to main content

Going Nuclear: Risk, Odds and Potential

Going Nuclear: Risk, Odds and Potential

UH Energy hosted a provocative panel discussion on the risk, odds, and potential of nuclear power for energy production. Watch the symposium in full below.


Armond CohenArmond Cohen, Executive Director, Clean Air Task Force

Armond Cohen is Executive Director of the Clean Air Task Force, a research and advocacy organization dedicated to climate innovation and commercializing low carbon energy through private sector action and public policy. CATF’s technology innovation work focuses on advanced nuclear energy, carbon capture and storage (CCS) for industry and the electric sector, and advanced renewables – as well as other climate management strategies. Prior to his work with CATF, Cohen headed the Conservation Law Foundation’s Energy Project. He has published numerous articles on climate, energy systems, and air pollution; he speaks and testifies frequently on these topics. Cohen is Chair of the Electric Power Research Institute’s Advisory Council, a founding board member of the Center for Responsible Shale Development, Co-Chair of the Nuclear Innovation Alliance, and a member of the Advisory Council to the Global Nexus Initiative which addresses the intersection between nuclear energy, climate and security. Cohen is an honors graduate of Harvard Law School and Brown University.

View symposium presentation here.

Shirley HoDr. Shirley S. Ho, Associate Professor and Assistant Chair (Faculty), Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University

Shirley Ho is an associate professor and assistant chair at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Her research focuses on the underlying psychological mechanisms behind public perception of controversial science and emerging technologies. Ho is the principal investigator of several large-scale research projects that are funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF), the Ministry of Education and the Media Development Authority in Singapore. She is the principal investigator of PONdER: Public Opinion of Nuclear Energy (funded by the NRF), a research program that seeks to examine how the general public in Southeast Asia forms opinion toward nuclear energy. She is also an associate editor for the Asian Journal of Communication, Environmental Communication, and the Oxford Encyclopaedia for Climate Change Communication. Ho holds an M.A. and Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

View symposium presentation here.

Mark JacobsonDr. Mark Z. Jacobson, Director, Atmosphere and Energy Program, Stanford University

Mark Z. Jacobson is the director of the Atmosphere/Energy program and a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University. He is also a senior fellow of the Woods Institute for the Environment and the Precourt Institute for Energy.
In 2005 he received the American Meteorological Society’s Henry G. Houghton Award and the American Geophysical Union’s Ascent Award in 2013 for his work on black carbon climate impacts. In 2013, Jacobson received the Global Green Policy Design Award for developing state and country energy plans, and in 2015 received a Cozzarelli Prize from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences for his work on grid integration of wind, water and solar energy systems. He has served on an advisory committee to the U.S. Secretary of Energy and cofounded The Solutions Project. Jacobson holds an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Stanford, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from UCLA.

View symposium presentation here.

Jessica LoveringJessica Lovering, Director of Energy, The Breakthrough Institute

Jessica Lovering is the director of the energy research program at the Breakthrough Institute, a pioneering institute changing how people think about energy and the environment. Focusing on nuclear power for three years at Breakthrough, Lovering’s research explores how policies can jump-start innovation to create the disruptive technologies needed to mitigate climate change and increase modern energy access. She also looks at long-term energy trends and future scenarios. In 2011, Lovering was a Breakthrough Generations Fellow and worked for two years on NASA’s New Horizons mission. Lovering holds a B.A. and M.S. in Astrophysics from the University of California Berkeley and University of Colorado, respectively. Lovering holds an M.S. in Environmental Policy from the University of Colorado Boulder with a focus on energy issues.

View symposium presentation here.


Ryan FitzpatrickRyan Fitzpatrick, Deputy Director, Clean Energy Program, Third Way

Ryan Fitzpatrick is deputy director of the Clean Energy Program at Third Way, where he oversees the organization’s deep decarbonization efforts, work on advanced nuclear technologies, carbon capture and storage, and alternative fuels and vehicles. Fitzpatrick’s efforts are focused on developing and promoting policy solutions to meet America’s climate and economic growth needs. By developing relationships with stakeholders in advocacy, industry, federal agencies and on Capitol Hill, Fitzpatrick builds an understanding of complex energy issues beyond talking points to influence policy debates through written products, direct outreach to policymakers, coalition-building and educational events. He has worked as the deputy finance director on the congressional campaign of first-time candidate Heath Shuler. Following a successful electoral campaign in 2006, Fitzpatrick moved to Washington to serve Congressman Shuler as a legislative assistant on energy, transportation and environmental policy.

More on the topic:

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that nuclear power contributes 19.5% of the electricity generated in the US and serves as the largest source of carbon-free electricity accounting for 62.4% of the total carbon free electricity generated in United States. Nuclear power has the highest capacity utilization factor, highlighted by the fact that while only being 9% of the installed capacity for electrical power, it generates nearly 20 % of the electric power needs of the U.S.  

View the extended summary here.

The panel covered the following questions:

How big is nuclear energy? 

Can nuclear energy truly be considered a renewable energy resource? 

What does nuclear energy mean for the economy? 

What kind of risks does the use of nuclear energy pose on the environment?

And finally, what is next for the nuclear energy sector?

Sponsor Footer