EPIC Energy Seminar: Panel Discussion on Challenges Facing Nuclear Energy

September 24, 2019 - 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM
EPIC 1249

During the Fall and Spring semesters, EPIC presents the Energy Seminar Series with speakers from around the region. These experts share valuable information and their insight into trends and news that is related to energy. Seminars are free and are open to students, faculty, industry partners and friends of EPIC. Space is limited so please be sure to register to attend.


Nuclear power is currently the second-largest source of low-carbon electricity in the world and the largest in advanced economies.  The International Energy Agency (IEA) released a sobering report in May 2019 that cast doubt on the ability of advanced economies to maintain the share of energy provided by this low-carbon source.  The primary issue is the difficulty of designing and constructing a nuclear power plant for a reasonable cost. The cost of new nuclear power plants in the United States, for instance, has historically been about $12,000 per kW of capacity [1], which is the highest in the world and far too high to make new nuclear plants profitable.  To become viable, new nuclear plants must move to a price point closer to that of South Korea, with an estimated cost of $3,000 per kW. The cost of inaction is high, as the IEA estimates that without additional nuclear, the clean energy transition will require an additional $1.6 trillion of additional investment in advanced economies over the next two decades.  This EPIC seminar will feature world-class experts from the nuclear industry discussing the challenges and opportunities for reducing the cost of new nuclear plants in the United States.  Since civil works represent about half of the cost of a new plant, our panelists have been chosen to focus specifically on strategies and approaches for lowering design and construction costs.  This seminar will provide attendees with a deep understanding of the current issues facing the civil works components of the nuclear industry from leaders who have been on the frontlines of major new projects, including VC Sumner and Vogtle.


Jeff Hawkins

Hawkins recently retired from Flour and has more than 40 years of valued domestic and international experience in all aspects of Project Management on various mega projects including Nuclear new builds and E&C construction, plant outage and outage turnarounds (operating, modifications, and revamps), engineering restart programs, upstream and downstream engineering studies, various EPC contracts, construction maintenance modification programs, and various technologies. He has broad management experience working on over 10 commercial nuclear power plants and government nuclear facilities as well as oil & gas facilities, with a strong concentration in Project Management and Project Controls and risk analysis and claims.  Hawkings has a strong focus and expertise in multi-billion dollar project execution, risk management, schedule mitigation, project estimate and forecasting, modulization, and systems planning and turnover. He is also experienced in various nuclear design technologies and licensing and government reporting, legislation, and funding.

Sanj Malushte

Fellow and Technology Manager
Malushte has over 35 years of varied experience as a practicing civil/structural design engineer, engineering supervisor, resident engineer, technical specialist, assistant chief engineer, project engineer, researcher, and adjunct faculty member. He has broad qualifications and experience in structural engineering, engineering mechanics, and technical management. During 30-years with Bechtel Corporation, he has served on many US and international nuclear, fossil, and renewable power projects in various roles and during all project phases. He has also worked on multiple projects related to DOE nuclear facilities and new generation nuclear power plants (for standard plant designs as well as for early site permit and combined license applications), Fukushima-related projects (especially Task 2.1: Seismic), steam generator and reactor head replacement projects, and nuclear plant operating services projects, as well as many fossil/renewable power projects. Dr. Malushte’s primary expertise is in the fields of structural earthquake engineering, steel-plate composite (SC) design, and analysis for impact loads. He also has significant expertise in the application of U.S. and international structural codes and standards, steel and concrete design, wind load design, finite element analysis, and machinery foundation. 

Tim Schmitt

Mechanical Engineer
University of Nevada Las Vegas
Schmitt has 20 years of experience supporting the Nuclear Industry. He started in the Nuclear Industry performing dynamic structural analyses of accident scenarios including deliberate aircraft impact following September 11th. He has been involved in numerous large scale projects both licensing and construction including the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility, the US EPRTM Nuclear Power Generating Facility, and the NuScale Power Small Modular Reactor.  Mr. Schmitt has also supported numerous operating commercial Nuclear Power Generating Stations in the US and Canada for major component replacement projects such as Steam Generator and Heat Exchanger Replacements.

David Scott

Owner and Principal Engineer
Concrete Testing, Engineering, and Consulting (CTEC)

Scott began his career with structurally designing residential projects, and then began a professional career in geotechnical and construction materials testing. During this time, David grew his consulting expertise in concrete testing and other related issues. His consulting experience includes an array of concrete disciplines ranging from concrete mixture proportioning, self-consolidating concrete, flatness/levelness testing, nondestructive evaluation, slip testing, and forensics of failed structures. David has consulted on a number of projects across the United States related to industrial facilities, large merchandising facilities, high-rise structures, and energy generation and waste facilities – nuclear and coal. His career was expanded to include an emphasis on power structures with international project support in the United States, Canada, Europe, and China.  David has (co)authored a dozen publications and more than 100 domestic and international presentations. David formal education was in civil engineering with all of his degrees coming from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. David is a voting member on several committees of the American Concrete Institute relating to concrete inspection, specification, codes for nuclear safety-related structures.  In 2009 he earned his professional engineer (PE) license and is currently registered as a PE in North Carolina and South Carolina.


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