U.S. Department of Energy's Kelly to give seminar

John kelly Dr. John E. Kelly, deputy assistant secretary for nuclear reactor technologies in the U.S. Department of Energy, will be giving a seminar on April 13 at 4:10 pm. It will be held in the Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building, room 1105. It is open to all interested parties. A reception will precede the lecture at 3:15 in the lobby. 

Kelly’s presentation will reflect on the new developments in the nuclear energy industry, both domestically and internationally, and project what is expected in the next wave. 

Following President Eisenhower’s announcement of the Atoms for Peace initiative in December 1953, commercial nuclear power grew rapidly around the world. Within a few decades, nuclear power became a major element of electricity production worldwide. Today, nuclear power accounts for nearly 11 percent of global electricity production and 21 percent of electricity production in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries.

However, the momentum from the Atoms for Peace initiative waned in the late 1980’s. It was only in the early 2000’s that new nuclear power was again being considered, fueled by concerns about energy security and climate change. Over the last 15 years there have been dramatic changes in nuclear power worldwide.

From the licensing and construction of Gen III+ reactors (e.g., Westinghouse AP1000 and GE ESBWR), to Small Modular Reactor development, to Generation IV nuclear energy systems research, the world is now poised for a second wave of nuclear power deployment.

Asian nations with rapidly developing economies and large under-served populations will likely lead the resurgence of commercial nuclear power construction rather than the traditional North American and Western European countries whose mature nuclear power programs are only looking at modest growth. The International Energy Agency continues to see nuclear energy as an essential long-term supply option. Currently there are more than 70 nuclear reactors under construction around the world, with at least 26 in China alone. The anticipated build out of Generation IV reactor systems in the latter half of the century will ensure that enhanced sustainability and safety are incorporated in new nuclear technology, while the ongoing deployment of Generation III systems will assure nuclear energy’s dominant role in emission-free baseload electricity generation. 

Kelly is the deputy assistant secretary for nuclear reactor technologies in the Office of Nuclear Energy. His office is responsible for the Department of Energy (DOE) civilian nuclear reactor research and development portfolio, which includes DOE’s programs on Small Modular Reactors, Light Water Reactor sustainability, and Generation IV reactors. His office is also responsible for the design, development, and production of radioisotope power systems, principally for NASA missions. In the international arena, Kelly chairs the Generation IV International Forum and the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Standing Advisory Group on Nuclear Energy.

Prior to joining the Department of Energy, Kelly spent 30 years at Sandia National Laboratories where he was engaged in a broad spectrum of research programs in nuclear reactor safety, advanced nuclear energy technology, and national security. Kelly received his bachelor's degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Michigan in 1976 and his Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1980.