Nuclear Energy: Essential to the Energy Transition, William D. Magwood, Director-General, OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)
Around the world, governments are taking actions intended to lead to a new, environmentally sustainable energy framework. Whether or not all these efforts will be successful, they are already disruptive and present challenges for the nuclear sector today and into the future. NEA Director-General Magwood will discuss current challenges to the nuclear industry and present recent analysis by the Nuclear Energy Agency regarding the anticipated Energy Transition and why nuclear energy must play a vital role. He will review the emergence and importance of new technologies and the challenges that lay ahead as well as the vital importance of broadening and deepening the world’s nuclear science and technology human resource base. He will highlight recent international activities led by the NEA to prepare for the future.
Mr. Magwood took up his duties as Director-General of the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) on 1 September 2014. He has extensive experience in both the regulatory and developmental aspects of nuclear energy, including at the international level.
From 2010 to 2014, he served as one of the five Commissioners appointed by the US President and confirmed by the US Senate to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). While a commissioner, he advocated the importance of nuclear regulatory independence and the necessity of maintaining strong, credible, and technically sound nuclear regulation in the United States and all countries that use nuclear power.
Prior to his appointment at the NRC, from 2005 to 2010 he provided independent strategic and policy advice to the US and international clients on energy, environment, education, and technology policy issues. From 1998 to 2005, Mr. Magwood was Director of the US Government’s civilian nuclear energy program at the US Department of Energy (DOE). During his tenure, he established the Idaho National Laboratory; created activities that reversed the decline of US nuclear technology education; and launched important initiatives such as the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) and the US “Nuclear Power 2010,” which helped restart nuclear plant construction in the United States. He was also actively involved in the work of the NEA, serving as a Steering Committee Bureau member from 1999 to 2005, including a term as Chair of the Steering Committee from 2004 to 2005.
Prior to his experience at the DOE, Mr. Magwood managed electric utility research and nuclear policy programs at the Edison Electric Institute in Washington, DC, and was a scientist at Westinghouse Electric Corporation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mr. Magwood, a US national, holds Bachelor's degrees in Physics and English from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Pittsburgh.