Nuclear engineering alumnus Ray Rothrock delivers session on the future of nuclear industry at ICONE24

RR_ICONE24Texas A&M University nuclear engineering faculty and former students participated in and served as session leaders at the 2016 International Conference on Nuclear Engineering (ICONE24). ICONE24 is a global conference focused on nuclear reactor technology and features sessions and workshops beneficial to nuclear engineering industry professionals. The conference was co-sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Japanese Society of Mechanical Engineers (JSME) and the Chinese Nuclear Society (CNS).

Dr. Yassin Hassan, department head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering and chairman of ASME’s nuclear engineering division, served as the conference chair as well as on the conference’s organizational committee. Hassan additionally participated in a plenary session at the conference entitled “Future of Nuclear Power- U.S. Perspective,” where nuclear venture capitalist and Texas A&M alumnus Ray Rothrock discussed the impact of the Silicon Valley innovation model on the nuclear energy industry.

Rothrock’s message to conference attendees gave insight on the growth and ongoing changes happening within the nuclear industry, as well as possible challenges ahead. The presentation highlighted the leadership of individuals in the private sector who have worked with government legislative bodies to propose solutions that will help bring new reactor designs to the public market in a faster, safer and more cost efficient manner.

“Regardless what model we’re using, at the end of the day, none of this should be built if not economical,” Rothrock said.

Rothrock, who has long been a proponent of nuclear innovation in the private sector, currently serves as the chief executive officer (CEO) of cyber security corporation RedSeal. Previously he served as a general partner at Venrock. He holds a Bachelor of Science in nuclear engineering from Texas A&M, a Master of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and graduated with a Master of Business Administration with distinction from the Harvard Business School.

“The things that I have observed being a venture capitalist for 30 years is that you have to keep changing and learning and growing,” Rothrock said. “In regards to entrepreneurs, the people in government and those in DOE (Department of Energy), there is a new team on the field. If we can get the government to craft policy and be more open and accepting of innovation, we will solve the greatest climate problems we have."