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Three men in dark blue business suits standing in from of wrought iron doors.

Almost 200 students, faculty, staff and alumni filled a packed room in Texas A&M University’s Rudder Tower for the 2017 Ray Rothrock Lecture Series presented by the Department of Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&M. The presentation, titled “The Future of Nuclear Energy: Challenges and Opportunities,” included a series of presentations by renowned individuals from national labs and the nuclear industry, as well as a question and answer panel.  

The speakers included Mark Peters, director of the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Kelly Beierschmitt, deputy laboratory director at INL, the Honorable Jeffrey Merrifield, former commissioner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and Tim Powell, executive vice president and chief nuclear officer of the South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company. The presentations also included a special video introduction from nuclear venture capitalist and CEO of RedSeal Inc., Ray Rothrock ’77.

The videos can be viewed via the following links:

Ray Rothrock Panel Introduction
Mark Peters Presentation
Kelly Beierschmitt Presentation
Jeffrey Merrifield Presentation
Tim Powell Presentation

The Ray Rothrock Lecture Series was established in spring 2016 with the intent of informing students and educators about different topics regarding innovation and change within the nuclear industry. Rothrock received a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering at Texas A&M before becoming a partner in the venture capital firm Venrock, a firm dedicated to creating and financing technological solutions. Rothrock’s advocacy of nuclear energy has stretched into involvement with the NRC, the U.S. Department of Energy and government legislators to help promote an environment in the nuclear industry that is conducive to the development of nuclear energy startups and power sources.

“Today with you is a distinguished panel, many of whom I know quite personally,” said Rothrock through his video introduction. “Thank you so much [to the panel] for making the trip down to College Station to bring the nuclear industry to the students there that are hungry to hear about it.”

Each speaker informed attendees regarding a different or related aspect of the nuclear industry, including the international expansion of nuclear energy, new reactor builds, emerging research needs, national nuclear policy and a variety of other subtopics. Students were also encouraged to ask questions regarding the nuclear industry during the question and answer session.

“In the future of nuclear energy, we have challenges, but with these challenges come opportunity,” said. Dr. Yassin Hassan, department head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&M.