OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – More than 100 students and young professionals gathered with experts to discuss nuclear industry growth and America’s energy future as part of the Millennial Nuclear Caucus in Oak Ridge this month.
Launched last year by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the caucus regularly brings together young innovators between the ages of 18 and 35 from across the country to share their thoughts on the future of nuclear energy.
The most recent event was hosted by EM, UCOR, the University of Tennessee, DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and the East Tennessee Economic Council. It featured tours and workshops on nuclear-related topics and aligned with the region’s Nuclear Opportunities Week, which includes events such as a nuclear suppliers summit and business opportunities meeting.
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee and DOE Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Ed McGinnis addressed attendees, who listened to presentations and talked with government representatives and industry groups.
“With fresh, creative thinking and a shared commitment to clean energy sources, millennials play an invaluable role in helping to shape our nation’s energy portfolio,” McGinnis said. “And in turn, they too can benefit from exciting careers in nuclear that provide competitive salaries and vast career pathways.”
Experts attending the event represented the full spectrum of the nuclear field, including those who support the existing fleet, design small modular and advanced reactors, and advocate for a thriving nuclear future.
“There are many career opportunities in the nuclear industry, and events like this caucus help us develop a steady pipeline of talent to take on the challenging positions we have now and that we anticipate in the future,” UCOR President and Chief Executive Officer Ken Rueter said.
Millennials moderated three panels that featured speakers from more than a dozen entities ranging from DOE and UCOR to the Tennessee Valley Authority, ORNL, Y-12 National Security Complex, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, and the University of Tennessee.
Panel topics included advanced nuclear concepts such as small modular reactors, nuclear security, and environmental cleanup of nuclear facilities.
In recent months, caucus sessions have been held at locations throughout the U.S., including DOE’s Argonne and Idaho national laboratories, Texas A&M University, Atlanta, San Diego, and San Francisco.