2021 David J. Rose Lecture

Thursday, March 04, 2021 at 1:00pm to 2:30pm

Virtual Event

An Atomic Future:  How We Got Here and the Major Challenges Ahead                               

William D. Magwood, IV  Director-General, Nuclear Energy Agency

The Nuclear Energy Agency is an association of 34 nations that represent the most advanced nuclear infrastructures in the world.  These nations work in cooperation at the NEA to address challenges in nuclear safety, policy, technology development, and all other aspects of civilian nuclear energy.  More than 1000 of the world’s top officials, experts, and researchers work continuously withing the framework of the NEA to find mutual solutions to the most difficult issues.

Director-General Magwood has led the NEA for six years and has reshaped many of its activities to meet the challenges that have emerged since the turn of the century.  He will draw upon his work with these countries and his long experience in the nuclear energy field to provide a brief history of the nuclear energy enterprise and then highlight the major challenges he views as essential to success of the global nuclear sector in responding to the world’s energy and environmental challenges.  Among those, he will discuss the failure of Western governments to conduct long-range R&D since the end of the Cold War and the current trend towards relying upon the private sector for advanced development.  He will discuss the role of nuclear safety regulators, the evolution of different approaches around the world, and how regulators will impact the development of new technologies.  He will also highlight the global conversation related to climate change and how nuclear energy fits in this significant policy issue.  Finally, he will touch on the issues many view as the key barriers to nuclear expansion and reveal what he believes to be the single biggest challenge in the coming decades.

The David J. Rose Lectureship in Nuclear Technology honors the memory of David J. Rose (1922–1985), a renowned professor of nuclear engineering at MIT. The lectureship was established in recognition of Professor Rose’s outstanding contributions to fusion tech-nology, energy, and nuclear waste disposal, and his concern with ethical problems arising from advances in science and technology.

Professor Rose received his PhD degree in Physics from MIT in 1950. When the Department of Nuclear Engineering at MIT was formed in 1958, David Rose was invited to join the faculty. He went on to lead the development of the Department’s program in plasmas and controlled fusion, and remained a member of the MIT faculty for the rest of his professional career.

Professor Rose’s professional life encompassed three distinguished careers: scientist and engineer; technology/policy analyst; and bridge builder between the scientific and theological communities.



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Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering

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