The State of the Nuclear Industry

Edsinger, Kurt_biophoto-2019-06
MON, 12/09/2019 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
Fall 2019 Colloquium Series
Abstract: In many ways, nuclear power has never been more needed than right now, but the challenges that nuclear power is experiencing in many parts of the world are substantial and largely tied to economics.  In the U.S., plants are shutting down before the end of their licensed lifetime. There are several factors at play, but their sustainability and longevity are largely reflective of their inability to compete in their marketplace.  Outside of the U.S., plants are experiencing similar pressures to reduce costs. The industry is exploring technology to increase competitiveness and have recognized a few successes and a number of additional opportunities. They are also looking beyond electricity to markets such as hydrogen and ammonia.

Nuclear power is also an important consideration for the future, and models of the future generation generally point to a significant role for nuclear.  However, new nuclear construction projects have experienced a series of cost overruns and schedule challenges. New designs that can be built more quickly and at lower cost are needed to compete in an environment that demands lower total life cycle costs.

Bio: Dr. Kurt Edsinger is the Director of Materials & Advanced Nuclear at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). The primary system materials area at EPRI consists of three major programs, BWR Vessel and Internals Program (BWRVIP), PWR Materials Reliability Program (MRP), and Steam Generator Management Program (SGMP), along with a group focused specifically on non-U.S. materials challenges overseen by the International Materials Research (IMR) committee. These activities include near- term efforts to resolve current issues and basic R&D to address longer-term issues and support the viability of the industry. The advanced nuclear area focuses on technologies and R&D to enable deployment of the next generation of plants, both light water reactors and non-light water reactors, led by the Advanced Nuclear Technology (ANT) program. Prior to his current role in Materials & Advanced Nuclear, Dr. Edsinger held a number of roles of increasing responsibility in EPRI’s Nuclear Sector, including Director of Fuel and Chemistry, and Manager of the Fuel Reliability Program (FRP). Before joining EPRI, he managed the Materials Technology Group for General Electric. In that position, he led a group of scientists and engineers in resolving BWR fuel performance issues, developing new fuel products, and demonstrating fuel reliability margins. Dr. Edsinger received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from San Jose State University and a Doctorate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a dissertation on fracture in structural steels.