Guest Speaker


Regulatory Frameworks and Evaluation Methodologies for Licensing Advanced Nuclear Technology


Dr. Patrick White


Washington, DC


Wednesday, February 15, 2023 at 11:00:00 AM   


Boggs Building, Room 3-47


Dr. Anna Erickson


Advanced nuclear energy is poised to help satisfy growing global demand for clean, reliable, and affordable energy. Regulatory requirements, processes, and licensing timelines will directly impact the deployment of new nuclear power plants, so development and implementation of effective regulation is key to successful commercialization. Development of safety regulation has been an evolutionary process and there has been limited work on developing comprehensive technical and theoretical bases for regulation. This seminar presents a first-principles based conceptual framework for safety regulation, and compares the impact of different regulatory frameworks and analysis methods on commercial fusion technology. This work provides insights on trade-offs between design and licensing evaluation methods for nuclear energy licensing and details on how regulatory frameworks will impact the commercialization and deployment of different advanced nuclear technologies. A first-principles based conceptual framework for regulation can be extended to help create more effective and consistent regulatory systems for advanced nuclear fission and fusion, and other novel, high-hazard technologies. Efficient and effective regulatory systems are critical to the successful deployment of advanced nuclear energy at scale as a climate solution, and this work highlights the robust technical and policy basis that can enable development of new regulation analysis methods, requirements, and frameworks.


Dr. Patrick White is a Project Manager at the Nuclear Innovation Alliance. He leads research and advocacy on advanced reactor licensing strategies, regulatory modernization at the NRC, design and safety assessments of nuclear systems, and nuclear technologies and fuel cycles. Dr. White completed his PhD in Nuclear Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2021 with his doctoral thesis on licensing methods and regulatory frameworks for commercial fusion technology. He was a graduate researcher on the 2018 MIT Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World study, co-authoring report chapters on licensing issues related to advanced nuclear reactor deployment and received his M.S in Nuclear Science and Engineering on advanced fission reactor licensing pathways. Dr. White previously worked in the commercial nuclear sector as an engineer with MPR Associates in Alexandria, VA. His nuclear experience includes safety assessments and modifications at existing nuclear power plants, and design evaluations of systems and components at new nuclear power plants. Prior to working at MPR Associates, Dr. White received his B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2012.


Refreshments will be served.