2016 Sessions

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Opportunity Recognition and Market Validation (8/1, 9:30a)

Paul Lorenzini

This session is about approaches for how to identify opportunities. Out of the sea of what is already going on, how do you find new ideas? How do you figure out if there is a market for those ideas? How do you get all of that to match up?


Coming up with Ideas for Compelling Products and Services (8/1, 10:45a)

SC Moatti

Once basic ideas have been identified and you have a sense that there is a market out there, what’s next? This session is about turning basic ideas into compelling products—discovering exactly what the market wants.


How to Captivate Any Audience (8/1, 11:30a)

Nathan Gold

It’s all about the pitch…presenting yourself, your vision, and your product to an audience is key to success. This session will cover strategies and methods for exactly that.


Company Contexts (8/1, 1:00p)

Irfan Ali, Gaetan Bonhomme, Mike Kurzeja, Matt Thompson; Moderated by Rachel Slaybaugh

Innovation experts from several companies will talk about how innovative ideas were incorporated in their company/technology and/or specific challenges they are facing where innovation is needed immediately. The idea is to both communicate how they do what they do and provide some seeds that might become project ideas.


Crosscutting Needs in Energy Systems (8/1, 2:45p)

Chris Comfort, Lucas Davis, Dennis Hussey, Rachel Slaybaugh; Moderated by Caroline Hughes

Innovation and entrepreneurship experts from inside and outside of nuclear will talk about general areas in energy where new ideas and innovation are needed most. Listeners will get a broader context and be encouraged to think of ideas that might be broadly impactful.


Beyond Concepts, How to Execute (8/2, 8:30a)

Paul Lorenzini

Once ideas and markets have been identified, how do those concepts get translated into actions? This will discuss steps and strategies for executing; how to get to the point of making a real company.


Highlights and Challenges in Advanced Nuclear Technology (8/2, 11:00a)

Per Peterson

This session will provide an overview of the general movement in advanced nuclear technology innovation. With his wealth of experiences in research, regulation, and company development, Per will provide a unique view of the innovation world that should give context to the rest of the program.


Design Choices in Existing Reactors: Lessons Learned (8/2, 1:30p)

Phil Hildebrandt

An historical tour through selected fundamental design decisions — both good and bad — that helped shape the commercial LWR nuclear energy industry from an operational and regulatory perspective. The bases for these decisions and the practical lessons learned will be discussed for the focused purpose of introducing design considerations that are important to development of innovative and advanced nuclear energy system concepts. The session is intended to encourage active involvement by all participants.


Safety Philosophy, Safety Goals, Defense in Depth (8/3, 8:30a)

Phil Russell

A discussion of why nuclear power if different than other forms of energy used to generate electricity.  The discussion will focus on the concepts of safety philosophy, safety goals, and defense in depth, as well as a review the key events that changed the nuclear power industry.


Cost Planning for Scaling your Product (8/3, 10:15a)

Beth Zotter

This session will cover technoeconomic modeling and its applications, practical strategies for approximating cost and performance at an early stage. It will also consider unit economics of nuclear energy.


Ethics and Responsible Design (8/3, 1:15p)

Raluca Scarlat

Innovation leads to disruptive emerging technologies, and new technology can raise new ethical questions. The objective of this module on Ethics and Responsible Design is to make you aware of the importance of ethics in development of new technology, and to empower you to seed and seek discussion about the ethics of the technology that you’re developing or that is being developed by others. Furthermore, ethics can be a driver for innovation. So the second purpose of this module is to explore values that could drive innovation in nuclear, and make explicit the relationship between ethics and design.


Designing Experiments for Impact (8/3, 4:00p)

Lydia Sohn

How do you ensure that your experiment will tell you the information that you need to know? This session is about how to make sure that the experiment you run will answer the question that you’re asking. This will include best practices, rigorous thinking, and how limits of measurement techniques must be included in hypothesis formation.


Business Models: Beyond Value Proposition (8/4, 8:30a)

Gigi Wang

Selling your business requires a business model, but that model is about more than just showing your idea has financial value. What are the other types of “value”? And what else matters when you’re developing your business model? This session will give you an overview of what your business model should include and will provide tips and tricks for you along the way.



Finance and Funding for Long Lead, Capital Intensive Projects (8/4, 9:15a)

Ray Rothrock

This session can be considered “VC 101” to the entrepreneur, presenting the basics of the venture capital fund raising process. How do you structure a pitch?  What works?  What doesn’t work?  Additional general lessons about building your business plan to match a financing plan, and opportunities for questions.


Offshore Reactor Case Study (8/4, 1:30p)

Jacopo Buongiorno

A new Offshore Floating Nuclear Plant (OFNP) concept with high potential for attractive economics and an unprecedented level of safety is presented. OFNP creatively combines state-of-the-art LWRs and floating platforms similar to those used in offshore oil/gas operations. OFNP is a plant that can be entirely built within a floating platform in a shipyard, transferred to the site, where it is anchored within 12 nautical miles (22km) off the coast in relatively deep water (3100m), and connected to the grid via submarine transmission cables. In this session we will explore the prospects for commercialization of the ONFP concept through creation of a start-up company.


Getting to Market (8/5, 11:00a)

David Charpie

You have a validated product idea, beachhead market, value proposition, and business model, so you’re ready to go to market, right?  Not quite so fast.  All the hypotheses, experiments, learning, and pivots you used to develop your solution now need to be applied to developing your marketing, sales, and partnership strategies – and it isn’t one size fits all or static over time.  We will look at the fundamental components of a Go-to-Market (“GTM”) plan, understand the role each plays, and compare alternative approaches you should consider in developing a successful GTM strategy.


Working with Licensing and Regulation in Nuclear Part I (8/5, 12:45p)

Ed Blandford, Mike Laufer

In this session, we will cover the process by which commercial entities engage with the US NRC for licensing new nuclear technology from pre-application interactions to design certification application submittal. This discussion will also cover examples of how regulatory requirements influence the design process and where there are potential departures for novel nuclear technologies.


Working with Licensing and Regulation in Nuclear Part II (8/5, 2:00p)

David Matthews, Adam Scheider

This session will describe the evolution of commercial power reactor licensing requirements and processes in the United States. In addition to discussing the current regulatory framework, it will offer perspectives on the challenges that framework presents for designers who wish to utilize innovative technologies. In particular, it covers this topic from the perspective of an Architect/Engineering firm.



Innovation in Other Highly Regulated Industries (8/5, 3:30)

Ryan Falvey, James Lim; Mike Safyan; Michael Trinh; Moderated by Kathy Shield

The nuclear industry is not unique in having a strong regulator with strict requirements; this panel will include presentations from experts in biotech, aerospace, and finance who have experience with their respective regulatory agencies. There are lessons to be learned from successes and failures in these other highly regulated industries. We hope to find some common strategies for communicating, getting products to market, and updating regulations that can be implemented by the nuclear industry moving forward.


Understanding Intellectual Property (8/8, 1:00p)

Michael Van Loy; Wendolyn Holland

There might be nothing more important than preserving the value of your ideas. But it’s also important to sell them – in the form of your products – if you are to build a successful company. We’ll discuss just what “IP” is, and how intellectual property is different in the world of nuclear energy. From Patents, to Trademarks, and Copyright, we will discuss the current regime and how the new “first to file” provisions of the new federal legislation impacts work going forward.


Navigating Export Control and Legal Issues in Nuclear Energy (8/8, 2:45p)

Alex Polonsky; Wendolyn Holland

This session will give you a basic understanding of what legal topics you’ll need to learn more about moving forward and which lawyers you should hire when. It will introduce legal issues relevant as you develop your technology – export controls, IP, foreign ownership, and “inimicality” – as well as legal issues to consider further down the road – domestic vs. foreign markets for rollout, licensing options, QA, safety analysis, and scheduling.


What is it Like to Be in a Startup? (8/9, 8:30a)

Canon Bryan, Alex Cheung, Leslie Dewan, Nathan Gililand, Linda Pouliot; Moderated by Timothy Crook

Does anyone really know what a “startup” is? What does it really take to navigate the startup space? How do you find funding once you have your ideas? This panel includes startup founders and executives from across nuclear and other technologies will provide a sense of the realities in the world of nuclear startups. [Note: All three panels today will be more useful if you are asking the questions, so please come prepared! These speakers have tremendous collective experience that will be useful for both your future careers and your group design projects, so feel free to ask about either.]


What is it like at an Incubator/Accelerator? (8/9, 10:15a)    

Jeremy Conrad, Jared Friedman, Sebastien Lounis, Bala Ramamurthy; Moderated by Timothy Crook

An incubator provides spaces and services to companies, while accelerators tend to include programs that aim to compress a company’s timeline. What are the pros and cons of bringing your startup into one of these spaces? What are the application processes like? Why isn’t there a nuclear-specific incubator or accelerator space? These panelists come from all sides of this space, and can provide a variety of perspectives.




Investors and Getting Funded as a Startup (8/9, 12:45p)

Ilan Gur, Peter Secor; Moderated by Nathan Gilliland

Getting funded from seed investments, government grants and growth capital are all keys to growing a successful start-up. Not just having enough capital, but also having the right investors who can provide strategic value is critical. This panel combines experts with backgrounds in financing from incubators, government grants, seed investors, and growth capital.


Opportunities through the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (8/10, 9a)

Doug Crawford, Brenden Heidrich, Ronald Horn, John Jackson

Development of innovative nuclear reactor technologies is a complex and time consuming process that requires access to specialized knowledge and R& D capability. This session will provide an overview of the new U.S. Department of Energy GAIN initiative that is focused on providing access to the intellectual and physical capital that exists within the DOE complex and at partner facilities with an eye toward enabling innovation. An industry example of beneficial interaction with GAIN will be discussed as well as information on the capability that is available through the affiliated Nuclear Science User Facilities.


Playing in a Global Field (8/10, 10:15a)

Walter Howes, Simon Irish, Lars Jorgensen; Moderated by Kathy Shield

While the US abounds with nuclear energy innovation, the growing markets for energy are largely international, and major competitors exist internationally as well.  This session will begin with a discussion of the global landscape of competitors and markets by an expert in the field, followed by insights from advanced nuclear energy companies pursuing different international strategies.  Participants should gain a better understanding of the global landscape that nuclear energy companies compete in, and some of the factors that go into choosing one strategy over another.


Understanding Energy Markets (8/10, 12:45p)

Jessica Lovering

This session will cover the complex world of electricity markets. Developing a reactor technology is only half the challenges, as ultimately you will need to produce electricity at an attractive price for utilities to invest in building your design. Jessica will highlight the main difference between regulated and deregulated energy markets, and talk through all the varied policies that affect markets in between: production tax credits, power purchase agreements, capacity payments, clean energy standards, and contracts for difference. The focus will be on US markets, with some discussions of the similarities and differences with overseas markets.


Navigating the Political Landscape (8/11, 8:30a)

Todd Allen, Shane Johnson

In addition to working with the regulator (as discussed in another topic), there are three other types of DC-base organizations with which you might partner. The Department of Energy provides funding to encourage research, develop, and deployment of innovation in nuclear energy. The Congress allocates funding, sets policy through law, and provides oversight on the execution of Federal programs. Think Tanks generate ideas that can influence both Executive Agencies like DOE as well as Congress. This session will introduce the functions of each and help you understand how to work with them effectively.

The Nuclear Talk (8/11, 10:45a)

Suzy Baker

Things can get pretty hairy when you are communicating a highly technical topic. It’s also really tough to talk about controversial topics, especially with folks who may strongly disagree. Nuclear, of course, checks both of these boxes. But all is not lost! In recent years a huge amount of social science research has given us a new evidence base to drive effective communication. From navigating the comments section of your favorite blog to developing a digital communications campaign for your company, this session will explore the latest tools and techniques for winning hearts and minds as you communicate about nuclear energy.