WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2017 - The Energy Department (DOE) and the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) hosted a “Millennial Nuclear Caucus” as part of this year’s Nuclear Science Week.

Following a meeting with U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the caucus members discussed nuclear energy’s role in an evolving world. The event brought together young professionals in the nuclear industry to collaborate, strategize and share their visions for the future of the industry.

Perry called the caucus members “young visionaries in the nuclear field.”

“The importance of their ideas and contributions to our future cannot be overstated,” he said. “Millennials will shape our energy landscape for years to come, leading our country into the next generation of nuclear advancement and energy dominance.”

Highlighting nuclear energy’s unique national security role, Perry said that failing to preserve U.S. nuclear technological leadership will have global ramifications. He also noted how vital the technology is to maintaining clean air.

One participant, Kory Raftery of Arizona Public Service Co., said everyone involved in nuclear energy should be excited about Perry’s interest in the industry.

“There was passion in every facet of the issues he raised with us, and we’re excited to partner with him to ‘make nuclear cool again’ and act on the tasks he gave us,” she said.

Perry told the group he supports a broad portfolio of generating technologies for the power grid, including renewable technologies, but that the country needed fuel-secure nuclear for extreme weather. The secretary tasked the group to identify three “action items” that are achievable and substantive to help the cause of preserving existing nuclear generation. NEI President and CEO Maria Korsnick attended the meeting and praised the secretary for his enthusiasm for nuclear energy.

“Secretary Perry has already proven himself a committed champion of clean and resilient nuclear energy as a core contributor to America's energy mix,” Korsnick said. “His outreach to standout young professionals during Nuclear Science Week demonstrates his enthusiasm for reinforcing U.S. leadership in nuclear energy as well as building a launch pad for the future.”

The Millennial Nuclear Caucus covered advanced technology and the applications of nuclear science to move society forward. Acting Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Ed McGinnis welcomed the young professionals, and a panel of young leaders in the field participated in small group discussions led by the emerging influencers who are shaping nuclear enterprises and policy.