Strengthening nuclear innovators – Bootcamp at Berkeley

The Nuclear Innovation Alliance is partnering with universities, national labs, think tanks, the Department of Energy and corporations including Southern Co., Google, Transatomic, Terrestrial Energy, and TerraPower to offer the first Nuclear Innovation Bootcamp August 1-12 at the University of California, Berkeley.

Bootcamp560

Twenty-five students (graduate students or undergraduates who will have completed their third year of study) will engage in a two week program. Areas in nuclear that would benefit from innovation are not limited to engineering. The organizers of this initial bootcamp are seeking to attract students from a diverse set of backgrounds with possible majors including economics, policy, communications, journalism, design, physics and engineering.

The student out of pocket cost (their “skin in the game” in addition to investing a valuable two weeks of summer) is a $200 registration fee plus paying for their transportation to and from the Berkeley campus. Room and board will be provided. (That price, by the way, is lower in nominal dollars than the church-sponsored summer camp I attended in the 1960s. In my opinion, it is a very good deal.)

Deadline for applications is May 11. Students will be informed whether or not they have been accepted no later than May 31.

The curriculum is based on the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology’s Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship program (BMOE) for entrepreneurship and innovation, while nuclear specific topics will be introduced and discussed under the leadership of experts in the field. Here’s list of confirmed speakers (subject to change).

Person Company Session
Mike Kurzeja Exelon Context presentations and/or crosscutting panel (first day)
Leslie Dewan Transatomic Context presentations and/or crosscutting panel (first day) and/or startup
Phil Hildebrandt INL Design Choices in Existing Reactors: Lessons Learned
Ryan Falvey CFS Innovation Innovation in Highly Regulated Fields (Biotech, Space, Finance, Travel?)
Todd Allen Third Way Navigating the Political Landscape
Jacopo Buongiorno MIT Offshore reactor case study
Ray Rothrock Venrock Getting funded as a startup AND Finance for long-lead
Raluca Scarlatt U Wisc Organizing Ethics and Responsible Design
Per Peterson UCB Organizing Highlights and Challenges in Advanced Nuclear Technology
Irfan Ali Advanced Reactor Concepts Presentations with Judging
Phil Russell INPO Safety Philosophy, Safety Goals, Defense in Depth
Jessica Lovering Breakthrough Institute Understanding Energy Markets
W. Holland Holland Consulting Understanding IP
Michael Van Loy Mintz Understanding IP
Sebastien Lounis Cyclotron Road What is it Like / Opportunities at an Incubator or Accelerator?
Nathan Gililand General Fusion What is it like in startup and/or startup financing
Linda Pouliot Hardware Startup What is it Like to Be in a Startup?
Jeremy Conrad Lemnos Labs What it’s like in startup / Getting funded as startup
Ed Blandford UNM Working with Licensing and Regulation in Nuclear
Mike Safyan Planet Labs Innovation in other highly regulated industries

Of course, bootcamps are not passive learning experiences.

Students will be grouped together into five design teams and will have opportunities to immediately exercise their newly developed knowledge with their team as they build up to the program’s conclusion. Here is the description of the climax event of the two week program:

Completion: Teams will present their designs at the program’s conclusion to an audience including company representatives, potential private investors, technical experts, relevant NGOs, and Department of Energy program managers. There will be judges and a cash prize. This will be a half-day session followed by a reception.
(Note: Nothing like a little competition and a cash prize to motivate entrepreneurial enthusiasm.)

The NIA’s plan is to learn from experience, continue to develop the concept and the curriculum, and expand the training to a six to eight week long session beginning in the summer of 2017.

If only I was a student again. [Wistfully, with a sigh.]

House Energy and Commerce seeks to enable advanced nuclear energy

On Friday, April 29, 2016, the Energy and Power subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing to discuss H.R. 4979 and a draft discussion bill with the unfortunate acronym of NUKEPA (Nuclear Utilization of Keynote Energy Policies Act). Though at different stages of the legislative process, both documents are efforts to […]

Read more »

Enabling atomic innovation

During the past several weeks there have been a number of developments supporting a growing movement to enable nuclear energy innovators to succeed in the US. Leaders are realizing that nuclear energy, which has deep roots in the US and has proven its capability to produce reliable power without producing any air pollution, should be […]

Read more »

Advanced Reactor leaders: Will you put one in your backyard?

I returned from the Nuclear Energy Insider International Advanced Reactor and SMR Summit with revived energy, optimism and passion for participating in an expanding effort to smooth and straighten the tortuous path associated with producing increased quantities of clean energy from atomic fission. The effort isn’t small, it isn’t narrowly focused, and it isn’t–by any […]

Read more »

Lightbridge metallic alloy fuel provides upgrade path for LWRs

LTBR fuel pin cross-section showing displacer, fuel core and cladding

Lightbridge, a company that was originally incorporated as Thorium Power, Inc., has achieved significant technology developments after making a strategic turn in 2010 from thorium based fuels to low enriched uranium metal alloy fuels. As funding dried up from the government agencies supporting their thorium work, the company chose to use its assembled nuclear engineering […]

Read more »

Mr. Atomic Goes to New York for The Future of Energy – Part 1

On April 4 and 5, I had the pleasure of attending the 9th annual The Future of Energy Summit organized by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and held at the Grand Hyatt next door to New York’s Grand Central Station. The organizing theme of this year’s event, The Age of Plenty, the Age of Competition […]

Read more »

Bechtel and BWXT have announced an acceleration of Generation mPower

Note: For an update on this topic see subsequent post titled Bechtel will “pursue” acceleration of mPower project. On March 4, 2016, in a press release issued from Reston, VA, Bechtel and BWX Technologies (BWXT) announced that they would be accelerating their Generation mPower small modular reactor project. Bechtel will take over the project lead […]

Read more »

DOE and UAMPS sign agreement for siting at INL

At the 12th annual Platts Nuclear Energy Conference, John Kotek, the Acting Assistant Secretary of Energy for Nuclear Energy just made a major announcement. Yesterday, February 17, 2016 Rick Provencher and Doug Hunter signed an agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy and UAMPS (Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems). It provides UAMPS with a use […]

Read more »

Achievable nuclear nirvana – not so wild dreams by Nick P.

Nick's vacant lot

A recent article titled U-Battery – Micronuclear power with intriguing business model inspired a commenter with the pseudonyum of Nick P. to share some visionary power system ideas. There are plenty of other people who offer hazy visions of what our future energy system might include. The difference between Nick P.’s fission-enabled future and the […]

Read more »

Atomic Show #251 – SA Royal Commission, Diablo Canyon, Trivial Tritium, DOE budget priorities

It’s not often that the Atomic Show has the chance to be a source of breaking news, but this show includes a timely report from Ben Heard in Adelaide, South Australia. Just an hour before our show began, the South Australia Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission issued the tentative findings from the investigative effort begun […]

Read more »

U-Battery – Micronuclear power with intriguing business model

U-Battery was one of the more intriguing presenters at the Advanced Reactor Technical Summit (ARTSIII) held at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory last week. Even though this was a technical summit, the segments of the presentation that captured my attention were the business model and the funding source. However, certain technical choices are vital to […]

Read more »

Jump on the Advanced Reactor development and deployment bandwagon

On February 10-11, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council (USNIC) sponsored the 3rd annual Advanced Reactor Technical Summit. Oak Ridge National Laboratory provided the venue for the event. Though he wasn’t the first speaker, I’d like to begin my reports from the event with Jeffery Merrifield’s stage setting talk. Merrifield is a man with a […]

Read more »