Students and faculty members from the Schar School of Policy and Government, as well as representatives from government agencies and nongovernmental organizations, joined Brent Park, Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, and Mikhail Chudakov, Deputy Director General for Nuclear Energy at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), on the afternoon of November 14th to discuss the interconnection between nuclear energy and nuclear security.
The 90-minute conversation, accompanied by questions from the audience, was moderated by Professor Gregory Koblentz, director of the Schar School’s Biodefense Program. The event was cohosted with the Schar School’s Center for Security Policy Studies.
Chudakov discussed the continued need for safe and sustainable nuclear energy, and Park also emphasized the need to develop nuclear energy and adequately address the “energy poverty” that impacts billions of people around the world. Park and Chudakov also noted the important nexus between nuclear energy and nuclear security, highlighting not only the U.S. government and the IAEA’s cooperation on the matter, but also reiterating the IAEA’s belief that the two fields are intrinsically linked.
Remarking on the conversation, Koblentz noted, "Given the growing demand for carbon-free energy and the dynamic geopolitical situation, it was very informative to hear about how the IAEA and the United States work together to promote safe and secure nuclear energy."
The conversation was typical of the programming offered by the Schar School for students, faculty, and staff; the campus’ proximity to policymakers in Washington, D.C., provides access to speakers and panelists who bring real-life practices to the classroom.
“Events like these offer an opportunity to gain access to senior leaders that are not frequently available to students,” said biodefense PhD student Laura Denlinger, who attended the discussion. “It stimulates my thinking and gives me new directions, and I build relationships that are very valuable for the future.”