Purdue and Duke Energy advance nuclear power exploration with public lecture series, executive advisory group

June 24, 2022

Purdue and Duke Energy advance nuclear power exploration with public lecture series, executive advisory group


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University and Duke Energy today (June 24) announced plans for a lecture series to help the public learn more about advances being made in nuclear energy and small modular reactors.

The lecture series was announced at the first meeting of an executive advisory committee steering the joint exploration between Purdue and Duke Energy into the feasibility of using advanced nuclear energy to meet the long-term energy needs of the West Lafayette campus.

The committee, which gathered for the first time Thursday (June 23), will meet frequently over the course of the study to provide guidance and recommendations to Purdue and Duke Energy on three key fronts: safety, regulatory processes and research.

“I could not be more excited about both the quality of this stellar assemblage of scientific and technical talent and the plan for an open, comprehensive study process that helps further public understanding as it furthers our aim,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said.

 The executive advisory committee consists of the following expert leaders from the public and private sectors:

  • Mung Chiang, committee chair, Purdue executive vice president for strategic initiatives and the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering.
  • Arden Bement, Purdue’s David A. Ross Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Nuclear Engineering.
  • William Dudley Jr., Bechtel Group vice chairman and former CEO.
  • Carlos Hernandez, former CEO, Fluor Corp.
  • Maria Korsnick, Nuclear Energy Institute president and CEO.
  • Theresa Mayer, Purdue executive vice president for research and partnerships.
  • Stan Pinegar, Duke Energy state president, Indiana.
  • Luis Reyes, former executive, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Bement has agreed to be the first speaker in the Purdue-led monthly lecture series, which will focus on nuclear technologies, sustainability, safety, economics, regulation and other topics. Lectures will take place monthly beginning in the fall semester in a hybrid format for both in-person and virtual participation. More information will be made available soon on dates, speakers and topics.

“We are extremely grateful to Dr. Bement for offering his expertise on our executive advisory committee and his voice as the first distinguished speaker in our Small Modular Reactor study lectures,” said Chiang, who is president-elect of Purdue. “As part of our study with Duke Energy, we are eager to provide a platform for education, engagement and dialogue among the public as well as our faculty, staff and students.”

Purdue and Duke Energy have spent the past few weeks developing the groundwork and structure of the study and presented information to the executive advisory committee at its first meeting.

“Purdue is home to one of the nation’s premier engineering programs, and Duke Energy operates the largest regulated nuclear fleet in the nation. We look forward to pulling together our collective expertise to evaluate advanced nuclear technology possibilities for both Purdue’s campus as well as the state of Indiana,” Pinegar said.

Three principals in charge have been appointed to ensure the successful execution of the study: Michael B. Cline, senior vice president of administrative operations at Purdue; Seungjin Kim, the Capt. James F. McCarthy Jr. and Cheryl E. McCarthy Head and Professor of Nuclear Engineering at Purdue; and Chris Nolan, vice president of new nuclear generation at Duke Energy. The principals in charge will be supported by a utility technical group — consisting of operational leaders from Purdue and Duke Energy — and a nuclear technical advisory group — consisting of technical specialists in nuclear energy from Purdue and the private sector. Other subject matter experts in decarbonization and renewable energy will be consulted as needed throughout the course of the study.

“Through this study, we will be considering how nuclear technologies could potentially meet our campus energy needs in the future,” Cline said.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the last four years as one of the 10 Most Innovative universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at

About Duke Energy

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 50,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 28,000 people.

Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business and at least a 50% carbon reduction from electric generation by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The 2050 net-zero goals also include Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 emissions. In addition, the company is investing in major electric grid enhancements and energy storage, and exploring zero-emission power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2022 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Facebook.

Purdue University media contact: Tim Doty, 765-494-2080,

Duke Energy Indiana media contact: McKenzie Barbknecht, 800-559-3853, 

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