October 6, 2021 - 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM Eastern Time (ET)

Small (and Modular)
is Beautiful:
The Future of Nuclear?

Event Description:

With a shortened construction timeline, greater adaptability and inherent safety features compared to conventional nuclear reactor designs, small modular reactors (SMRs) offer an opportunity to significantly expand low carbon energy generation. Applications range from provision of firm baseload power or flexible operation alongside variable renewable sources to water desalination, hydrogen production, district heating or cooling, and delivering heat for industrial processes. Regulatory and technological advances as well as a number of announced projects have recently heightened interest in this technology, although questions remain about the viability of alternative SMR technology options, the economics of manufacturing and deployment, and the ability to overcome regulatory obstacles and opposition in parts of the public. To provide an updated perspective on the current state of SMR technology and its prospects for the future, MIT CEEPR has invited Jacopo Buongiorno, professor of nuclear science and engineering and director of the MIT Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems (CANES), and Christopher Colbert, chief strategy officer of NuScale Power, to share insights from their ongoing work and latest research.


Jacopo Buongiorno

Jacopo Buongiorno is the TEPCO Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the Director of Science and Technology of the MIT Nuclear Reactor Laboratory. He teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in thermo-fluids engineering and nuclear reactor engineering. Jacopo has published 90 journal articles in the areas of reactor safety and design, two-phase flow and heat transfer, and nanofluid technology. Jacopo is the Director of the Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems (CANES). In 2016–2018 he led the MIT study on the Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World.
Christopher Colbert
NuScale Power

Chris Colbert is the chief strategy officer of NuScale Power, LLC, a position he has held since 2014, and chief financial officer. From 2011 to 2014 Colbert held the position of chief operating officer of NuScale Power, LLC. Colbert joined NuScale from UniStar Nuclear Energy, LLC, where he was senior vice president for Projects and Services during 2007-2011. While at UniStar, Colbert was responsible for the deployment of the U.S. EPR at UniStar’s existing nuclear power plant sites and the provision of licensing and other project development services to other U.S. EPR projects. Prior to joining UniStar, Colbert worked for a number of companies over nearly 15 years developing and financing over 6500 MW of fossil-fueled power projects. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a B.S. in electrical engineering and a minor in computer science, Colbert received an MBA from the Walter A. Haas School of Business in Berkeley, CA. He is also a chartered financial analyst.
John Parsons

John Parsons is a Senior Lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Associate Director of the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEPR). His research focuses on the valuation and financing of investments in energy markets, as well as the problems of risk in energy and environment markets. Recent publications have touched on the value of changing the utilization of transmission to maximize the value of hydro assets and expanded penetration of renewables, the value of investments in life extensions of nuclear power plants, the economics of new microreactors, and the impact of decarbonization on generation assets in the U.S. midcontinent.