Future meeting dates:

Dr. Carl Rossi 
Topic: Proton Therapy
Thursday, September 28, 2017
July 25, 2017 X-Energy and the Xe-100 Reactor


“X-Energy and the Xe-100 Reactor” by Harlan Bowers of X-Energy.

There are several advanced small modular nuclear reactor concepts currently under development with private funding.  One of the most exciting is the small modular High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor (HTGR) concept being developed by X-Energy.


Bio:  As president of X-energy, Harlan Bowers oversees the development of a smaller, safer, next-generation nuclear reactor that expands reliable, zero-emission nuclear energy into entirely new markets. Harlan has over 32 years of experience managing very large, complex new business initiatives and highly technical engineering development programs. Much of his background has involved aerospace systems projects with NASA and other customers, including leading a $130M/year NASA engineering services contract, delivering systems for Hubble Space Telescope servicing, satellite remote sensing, and International Space Station operations. Harlan received a B.S. in Aerospace and Ocean Engineering from Virginia Tech and an MBA from the University of Maryland, College Park.


Overview: X-energy started in 2009 with the goal of making energy available to a broader world market – energy that is secure, safe, and affordable. This goal evolved into the development of a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) – the Xe-100. The Xe-100 is a 200 MWthermal HTGR targeted at mid-size coal plant replacement and industrial process heat applications. But X-energy is also focused on development of the fuel required for the Xe-100 – pebbles with Uranium Oxycarbide TRIstructural ISotropic (TRISO) particles to deliver greater performance and a better safety case than previously achieved on other HTGRs. Harlan Bowers, X-energy President, will review the company origins, the current contracts, skills and capabilities, their market analysis, as well as review some of the technical features of their reactor and fuel.

Xe-100 Presentation

July 6, 2017, On the Path to Aneutronic Fusion
There are several advanced nuclear reactor concepts, both fission and fusion, currently under development with private funding.  One of the most exciting is the advanced fusion concept being developed by Tri Alpha Energy right here in Orange County.   Come learn about it!
Our speaker is Matthew Thompson, a Lead Scientist at Tri Alpha Energy Inc., the world’s largest privately-funded fusion energy development effort, backed by $500 million in private capital. He currently heads the diagnostics group and directs the efforts of twenty physicists and engineers working on forty state-of-the-art plasma instrument projects vital to the company’s experimental program. Dr. Thompson transitioned to private industry ten years ago with his first Senior Scientist position at Tri Alpha Energy working on energy conversion and magnetic sensor technologies. Prior to becoming an industrial physicist, he worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on picosecond resolution electron diffraction, and at both SLAC and Fermilab on dielectric and plasma wakefield accelerators. Outside the lab, Dr. Thompson is heavily involved in the mentorship of young scientists, leadership activities of the American Physical Society, and science advocacy.  He holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in physics from Stanford University, and both a MS and PhD in physics from the University of California, Los Angeles, where his graduate work focused on experimental plasma physics.
Tri Alpha Energy’s purpose is to deliver world-changing clean fusion energy technology as fast as possible.  Starting with the end in mind – a fusion solution that delivers practical science, engineering integration and competitive economics – Tri Alpha Energy developed a unique approach combining advanced particle accelerator and plasma physics.  The C-2U experiment at Tri Alpha Energy seeks to test these ideas by studying the evolution of advanced beam-driven field-reversed configuration (FRC) plasmas sustained by neutral beam (NB) injection for 5+ ms.  C-2U is an upgrade to the earlier C-2 [1] experiment with an improved neutral beam injection (NBI) system which can deliver a total of 10+ MW of hydrogen beam power, by far the largest ever used in a compact toroid plasma experiment.  This increase in beam power, combined with our earlier innovations in FRC stabilization, successfully produced high-performance, advanced beam-driven FRCs sustained for times significantly longer than the characteristic plasma decay times.  This accomplishment represents a significant advance towards the scientific validation of the FRC-based approach to fusion. This presentation will provide an overview of the C-2U device and recent experimental advances.
[1] M.W. Binderbauer et. al, Phys. Rev. Lett 105, 045003 (2010)

May 25, 2017, The Secretary of Energy Advisory Board’s October 2016 Task Force Report on The Future of Nuclear Power

Abstract: The Secretary of Energy charged the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB)Task Force to describe a new nuclear power initiative that would lead to a situation in the period 2030 to 2050 where one or several nuclear technologies were being deployed at a significant rate. The Task Force has assumed a scale for this initiative of 3,000 to 5,000 megawatts electric (MWe) annually.
The Task Force identified major barriers that need to be overcome for such an initiative to be successful and described a comprehensive program for the initiative. The Task Force believes that the principal justification for this initiative is the vital contribution nuclear power can make to reduce worldwide carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon emission charges or equivalent production payments are necessary to improve the economic competitiveness of nuclear power compared to natural gas generation.

Our speaker: Dr. Joe Turnage who is retired from UniStar Nuclear Energy where he served as Sr. VP for Strategy & Infrastructure. He currently serves on advisory boards and as a consultant to government & industry. Dr. Turnage will discuss the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board report on the Future of Nuclear Power which describes the transition from today’s reliance largely on light water reactors to one or more new nuclear power generation technologies.


December 8, 2016 : Reactor Based Mo-99 Supply Using Selective Gas Extraction

Abstract: Production of medical isotopes has become an important and growing use of nuclear energy. Technetium 99m (Tc-99m), the daughter product of Molybdenum 99 (Mo-99), is the most commonly utilized medical radioisotope in the world, used for well over 30 million medical diagnostic procedures annually and comprising some 80% of all diagnostic nuclear medicine procedures. Come learn about its production.

Our Speaker: Robert Buckingham oversees New Technology Ventures for the Nuclear Technologies and Materials Division within the Energy & Advanced Concepts Group at General Atomics

October 25, 2016 : Advances in Nuclear Power: The Energy Multiplier Module (EM²) and Accident Tolerant Fuel.

Our Speaker: Dr. Christina Back, Energy Group Vice President for Nuclear Technologies and Materials at General Atomics.