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A New Landscape for New Nuclear

Understanding Tomorrow's Nuclear Energy lecture series

Oct. 5, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Stewart Center Fowler Hall 
Presented by Maria Korsnick, president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute

Recorded Presentation 

World leaders across the political spectrum are recognizing that adding reliable, scalable, carbon-free nuclear energy generation is crucial to addressing climate and energy security needs. As demand for the technology grows, nuclear is now on the same playing field as other carbon-free sources like wind and solar—ready to reduce emissions and support the clean energy grid of the future.

Post-lecture summary

“There has never been a more exciting time to be a part of the nuclear industry,” said Maria Korsnick, president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute.

The reasons for this excitement are not just technological but also economic, Korsnick explained in her lecture.

Korsnick noted that the existing nuclear fleet already accounts for nearly 20% of all U.S. electricity. More advanced reactors in development, such as small modular reactors, show promise in expanding nuclear power’s contribution to nationwide electricity generation. If 300 new small modular reactors are built over the next 25 years, the U.S.’s nuclear power output would double, Korsnick said.

Increased construction and operation of nuclear reactor plants in the coming decades could generate hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of jobs. The Nuclear Energy Institute estimates that up to 75% of the workforce for the fossil fuels industry could transfer to the nuclear power industry.

Jobs in building and operating advanced nuclear reactors will be available to the current generation of college students. Korsnick emphasized the importance of this generation in becoming the workforce nuclear power needs to help unlock a zero-carbon future.

“We have to use every clean energy source at our disposal. Nuclear is the most reliable and scalable source we have,” she said. “Shutting down nuclear power plants endangers both climate goals and energy security.”

Korsnick described how recent legislation on both the federal and state level is giving a boost to the nuclear power industry. She pointed out that bills Congress has passed since last fall are unprecedented in their support of existing nuclear reactors and the development of more advanced technology. In addition, more than 100 bills supporting nuclear power are moving through state legislatures.

“These shifts in policy have provided a once-in-a-generation opportunity for nuclear development across the country – and it is one that we cannot afford to miss,” Korsnick said. “There are really no red states and blue states when it comes to heating homes and keeping businesses running.”

More about Maria Korsnick 

Maria Korsnick is president and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear industry’s policy organization in Washington, D.C. 

Drawing on her engineering background, hands-on experience in reactor operations and a deep knowledge of energy policy and regulatory issues, Korsnick aims to increase understanding of nuclear energy’s economic and environmental benefits among policymakers and the public.

Before joining NEI, she was senior vice president of Northeast Operations for Exelon, responsible for overseeing operation of the Calvert Cliffs 1 and 2, R.E. Ginna, and Nine Mile Point 1 and 2 nuclear power plants.

Before Exelon, Korsnick served as chief nuclear officer (CNO) and acting chief executive officer at Constellation Energy Nuclear Group. She began her career at Constellation in 1986 and held positions of increasing responsibility, including engineer, operator, manager, site vice president, corporate vice president and CNO.

Korsnick holds a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Maryland and has held a Senior Reactor Operator license. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two children.

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