Last updated on: 10/9/2014 | Author:

Richard Meserve, PhD, JD Biography

Executive Advisor of the Nuclear Risk Research Center
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Can Alternative Energy Effectively Replace Fossil Fuels?"

“[N]uclear has to play a starring role. It is a major source of carbon-free energy that is available 24/7. Wind and solar technologies have the potential for deployment growth, but they are intermittent resources that are distant from users, thus requiring substantial expansion of transmission resources. Some of these technologies are costly and moving them to a percentage contribution in the double digits will require large increases over current levels in manufacturing, employment, investment, and installation. Not all are environmentally friendly.

The harsh reality is that coal provides 50% of our electricity. Somehow we need to move quickly to sequestration–a very uncertain and costly bet–or we need to replace coal with something that is carbon free.”

Online debate, “Is Nuclear Power Essential to Addressing Climate Change and Energy Independence?,”, July 15-17, 2008

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
Individuals with PhDs, or equivalent advanced degrees in fields relevant to alternative energy or fossil fuel issues. Also top-level government officials (such as foreign leaders, US presidents, Founding Fathers, Supreme Court Justices, members of legislative bodies, cabinet members, military leaders, etc.) with positions relevant to alternative energy or fossil fuel issues.
Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Executive Advisor, Nuclear Risk Research Center (Japan), 2014-present
  • President, Carnegie Institution, 2003-2014
  • Partner, Covington & Burling, 1981-present
  • Chariman, International Nuclear Safety Group
  • Member, Board of Directors, PG&E Corporation
  • Member, National Commission on Energy Policy
  • Member, Board of Overseers, Harvard University
  • Member, American Philosophical Society
  • Member, National Academy of Engineering
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Physical Society
  • Former Chariman, US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), 1999-2003
  • Legal Counsel, President Carter’s science adviser Frank Press, 1977-1980
  • Former Clerk, Justice Harry A. Blackmun, United States Supreme Court
  • Former Clerk, Judge Benjamin Kaplan, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
  • PhD, Applied Physics, Stanford University, 1976
  • JD, magna cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1975
  • BA, magna cum laude, Tufts University, 1966
  • None found
Quoted in:
  1. Is Expanding Nuclear Energy Production Necessary to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions?