Nuclear energy provides 19% of electricity in the United States—carbon-free. But the existing nuclear power plants are under economic pressure due in part to competition from cheaper wind and natural gas-based electricity. Can nuclear power be relied upon to be a major factor in mitigating climate change? Is there a bright future for nuclear power? The views presented in this seminar will in part be based on Dr. Allison Macfarlane's experiences while Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Dr. Allison M. Macfarlane is currently a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, DC. She is also Professor of Science Policy and International Affairs at the George Washington University, Director of the Institute for International Science and Technology Policy and Director of the International Science and Technology Policy Master’s program at the University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. She was the 2018 Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Applied Public Policy at Flinders University and Carnegie Mellon Adelaide. Dr. Macfarlane served as Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from July 2012 through December 2014. Dr. Macfarlane holds a PhD in geology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BSc degree in geology from the University of Rochester. She has been on the faculty at Georgia Tech and George Mason University. From 2010 to 2012 she served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future, created by the Obama Administration to develop a national strategy for the nation's high-level nuclear waste. She serves on National Academy of Sciences panels and has chaired the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. In 2006, MIT Press published a book she co-edited, Uncertainty Underground: Yucca Mountain and the Nation's High-Level Nuclear Waste. She has held fellowships at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford, and at MIT.