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Trailblazer 05:

Deep Decarbonisation Advocates
Nuclear Energy Powerhouses

This week our trailblazers are two inspirational powerhouses creating a new set of possibilities around nuclear.  Holly joins Kirsty Gogan, cofounder of Terra Praxis and Managing Partner at LucidCatalyst, and  Dr. Rita Baranwal, former Assistant Secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy in the U.S. Department of Energy, and now VP of nuclear at the Electric Power Research Institute to talk energy access, decarbonisation challenges and being trailblazers in the industry.

In this compelling and utterly optimistic discussion, two formidable nuclear energy experts explain why nuclear is so often left out of the conversation and, more importantly, why we have no choice but to include it in the mix of transition fuels to get us to a net-zero future.

"The biggest barrier is trying to get the many entities involved in nuclear technology development to collaborate.  Whether that looks like joint ventures or mergers in terms of the private industry space, something has to give. We cannot succeed if we have 60+ companies competing at the same time."


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Kirsty Gogan is an internationally sought-after advisor to governments, industry, academic networks, and NGOs and is a globally recognised expert in the fields of science communication, climate change, competitiveness, and innovation. With more than 15 years of experience as a senior advisor to the Government on climate and energy policy, including 10 Downing St, and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Kirsty is blazing a trail for the clean energy revolution.

Kirsty is managing partner of LucidCatalyst, a highly specialized international consultancy focused on large-scale, affordable, market-based decarbonization of the global economy, and chairs the UK Government’s Nuclear Innovation Research and Advisory Board (NIRAB) Cost Reduction Working Group. Kirsty is also Cofounder of new NGO TerraPraxis.


Her voluntary work includes having co-founded Energy for Humanity (EFH). She serves on the Board of Nuclear Innovation Alliance, as well as Voices for Nuclear. 

Dr. Rita Baranwal leads a team of more than 200 researchers, scientists, engineers, and technical staff who provide objective, science-based nuclear R&D to more than 80% of the world's commercial nuclear fleet.

Rita served as the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); for which role she was nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Dr. Baranwal led the office’s efforts to promote research and development (R&D) on existing and advanced nuclear technologies that sustain the existing U.S. fleet of nuclear reactors, enable the deployment of advanced nuclear energy systems, and enhance the U.S.A.'s global commercial nuclear energy competitiveness.

Prior to her current role, Dr. Baranwal directed the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative at Idaho National Laboratory. She was responsible for providing the nuclear industry and other stakeholders access to DOE's state-of-the-art R&D expertise, capabilities, and infrastructure to achieve faster and cost-effective development, demonstration, and ultimate deployment of innovative nuclear energy technologies. Under her leadership, GAIN positively impacted over 120 companies.

Dr. Baranwal has served on Advisory Boards for MIT’s Materials Research Laboratory and UC Berkeley’s Nuclear Engineering Department, and also was adjunct faculty at University of South Carolina's nuclear engineering graduate program. She is a past Chairman of the Executive Committee of the American Nuclear Society's (ANS) Materials Science and Technology Division and has also served on the Boards of Big Brothers Big Sisters-Pittsburgh and North Hills Community Outreach.


"By thinking creatively and applying the tools we have available to us in very new ways, we not only increase our chances of actually decarbonizing in time but we also increase our chances of doing it cost effectively and in a way that will be publicly acceptable."


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