Nuclear Symposium

Nuclear Power Symposium Report (PDF)

Video Presentation 

"From Its Birthplace:  A Symposium on the Future of Nuclear Power"
March 27 and 28,  2012

University of Pittsburgh – William Pitt Union

This symposium stood distinctly apart from others because of the attention that Pittsburgh commands as the birthplace of nuclear power and hub of energy industries, and the completely unique posture of the Three Mile Island accident to this day as a case study of nuclear crisis management under the Thornburgh administration. 

Our program featured a broad span of distinguished guest speakers from the nuclear industry, fossil fuel and passive energy experts,  the academic and scientific communities, and government leaders from federal, state, and local agencies within the United States as well as representatives from overseas.

The experience at Three Mile Island was thrust to the forefront again last March by the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, and this March will mark both the first anniversary of Fukushima Daiichi and the thirty-third anniversary of Three Mile Island.

Governor Dick Thornburgh, whose Forum for Law and Public Policy, is a sponsor of this Nuclear Conference, was  Governor of Pennsylvania at the time of the accident at Three Mile Island, in 1979.  His participation at the conference and insights will be especially meaningful.  Visit the Thornburgh Archives for Three Mile Island videos and more information.

Session titles were as follows:

  • Nuclear Power and Energy Alternatives
  • America's Nuclear Future
  • Three Mile Island. Chernobyl. Fukushima Daiichi
  • Legal and Financial Aspects of Nuclear Power

This symposium was sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy and the Swanson School of Engineering.

Governor Dick Thornburgh opened the symposium with a welcome to our guests and speakers.  Remarks from Chancellor Mark Nordenberg and Dean Gerald Holder were also presented during this two day symposium.

Our distinguished guest speakers included:

Speaker Presentation Descriptions

To view a speaker's biography, please click on their name.

The Honorable Vicky A. Bailey, Anderson Stratton International, LL. Honorable Bailey is a member of the President's Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future.

Ann Bisconti, President of Bisconti Research, Inc.

Adolf Birkhofer, Managing Director of the Institute for Safety and Reliability in Germany. 

Dr. Mark Cooper, Institute for Energy and the Environment, Vermont Law School 

Barton Cowan, Senior Counsel, Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC

Dr. Anthony Cugini, Director, United States Department of Energy, NETL

Harold Denton, Former Director of the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation at the Nuclear Regulatory Commision (NRC)

Jim Ferland, Current position:  President, Westinghouse, Americas.

President and Chief Executive Officer of Westinghouse Electric Company effective 4/1/12

Barton J. Gordon - Partner at K&L Gates. Former Congressman.

Brian Johnson - Vice President, US markets for GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy's new plant business

Isao Kato, Deputy General Manager, Nuclear Power Department, Tohoku EPCo in Japan

Steve Kuczynski, Chairman,  President and CEO of Southern Nuclear

Matthias Kurth, Former President, Federal Network Agency, Germany

David Lochbaum, Director, Nuclear Safety Project, Union of Concerned Scientists

Dr. Peter B. Lyons, Department of Energy’s Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy

The Honorable William Magwood IV, Commissioner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission(NRC)

Dr. Patrick Moore, Chair of CASEnergy Coalition

Robert F. Powelson, Chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC)

Peter P. Sena III, President and Chief Operating Officer, FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company

Matthew Wald, Environment and energy reporter at The New York Times

Video Presentation by:

Senator Lamar Alexander, United States Senator, Tennessee.

Media Moderators:

David Shribman - Executive Editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Doug Heuck - Publisher Pittsburgh Quarterly magazine and director of the Regional Indicators at
Kiely - Managing Editor, Sunlight Foundation Reporting. Formerly a reporter for the Pittsburgh Press who covered Three Mile Island.
Bill Flanagan - Executive Vice President - Corporate Relations for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.  Host of "Our Region's Business" on WPXI-TV.

Professional Writer:

Dr. Marsha R. Torr, YourScienceEditors

Symposium Organization


Archive link to Three Mile Island Videos

Archive link to Three Mile Island

Thank you to Chancellor Nordenberg, all of our guest speakers, moderators, and our audience for your contribution in making this event a success.

This event registration fee was $300.  In addition, Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit was offered as follows:

March 27, 2012 sessions.  This course was presented in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.  It was approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board for Four and One-Half (4.5) hours of substantive credit.  Cost $45.
March 28, 2012 sessions. This course was presented in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.  It was approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board for Seven (7.0) hours of substantive credit.  Cost $70.

Professional Development Hours (PDHs) verification were provided, upon request, for professional engineers for two PDHs for each session attended (eight PDHs maximum).