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Date: Thursday, May 24, 2018

Time: 15:00 – 17:00 h

Location: Energy Academy Building

Join us on the 24th of May for a debate with speakers from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands!

World demand for energy is set to increase significantly in the next decades, spurred by economic and demographic growth. Many UN Member States continue to consider nuclear power as a technology that is expected to play an increasingly important role in improving energy supply security and mitigating climate change. But could nuclear energy really play a role in our future energy mix?

In 2015, the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) launched the Nuclear Innovation 2050 (NI2050) initiative. Its aim is to produce a roadmap of main priority research programmes and infrastructures necessary to support the role that nuclear energy may play in the low-carbon power sector of the future.

Public perceptions are key for the future of nuclear power. In particular, concerns about radiation risks, waste management, safety and proliferation remain the areas that most influence public acceptance. But those are not the only concerns. Critics believe that there is no strong business case to back up nuclear energy as a player in our future energy mix; it simply does not fit into modern, decentralized smart grids.

However, others are optimistic about the role of nuclear energy and believe that we cannot reach our 2050 goals without seriously considering a combination of nuclear energy together with solar and wind. They also emphasize the role of Molten Salt Reactors (MSR) in the future: with thorium as a replacement for uranium.

Will the developments around MSR shed a new light on the role of nuclear energy? Or should we focus on non-nuclear alternatives, and leave nuclear energy behind us?

This is a public event open to anyone with an interest in the energy transition, admission is free upon registration.

Craig Morris is the lead author of Global Energy Transition and co-author of Energy Democracy; the first history of Germany’s Energiewende. He works at the Renewable Grid Initiative (RGI) as Senior Manager Energy Systems, after he was Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS).



Gijs Zwartsenberg studied technology as a philosopher. A question in 2009, ‘how far can we get with renewables?’ finally led him to become the chairman of the Thorium MSR Foundation, that aims to provide accurate information on molten salt reactors. To this end, he cooperates with researchers from Delft TU and the Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NRG).



Senne Starckx is a freelance science journalist who writes pieces for both Dutch and Belgium news platforms. His articles were also published by C2W, PhysicsWorld and Mblad. He studied Theoretical Physics in Brussels. And became specialized in energy and the energy transition of today, during his career as a science journalist.



Moderator: Hans Harbers is a lecturer in Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society. He obtained his PhD in Groningen in the social sciences. He regularly acts as a freelance moderator, (day) chairman, guest speaker and guest lecturer.



Machiel Bos is Senior mechanical engineer at the nuclear power plant EPZ in Borssele. He studied Polymer Chemistry at the University of Groningen and Material Science and engineering at Delft TU.


It is defined as an Energy Learning Activity for students of the Hanze UAS and the University of Groningen. Students are invited to attend as many Energy Learning Activities as they want, at all stages of their education. Energy Learning Activities are part of the Energy Academy Europe Certificate. If students follow 10 Energy Learning Activities and also complete 30 ECTS in energy courses at Hanze UAS or the University of Groningen, they are eligible for obtaining the EAE Certificate.

Website: New Energy Coalition