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Microreactors to Meet ESG Goals in Mining Operations

December 15, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm UTC-7


Topic: Microreactors to Meet ESG Goals in Mining Operations






Time: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2021 – 1:00PM – 3:00PM MT






John Jackson Presentation Notes



Please join the Mines Global Energy Future Initiative and the Payne Institute for Public Policy at the Colorado School of Mines as we welcome moderators Mark Deinert and Morgan Bazilian with Shannon Bragg-Sitton, John Jackson, Ken Darlington, Cristian Rabiti, Jonathan Hackett, Briana Gunn, Don Strickland, Alice Wong, and Scott Melbye, presenting a virtual seminar titled Microreactors to Meet ESG Goals in Mining Operations on Wednesday, December 15, 2021 from 1:00pm – 3:00pm (MT). Individual presentations will be followed by a roundtable discussion.

Seligdar, a leading Russian gold producer, has committed to using at least 35MWe of nuclear power at its Kyuchus site by 2028. Microreactors at this scale can provide reliable heat and electricity without the fuel supply chain problems of conventional power systems. Because they emit no carbon dioxide, microreactors can also help mining operations meet ESG goals. This symposium and roundtable brings together people from industry, government, and finance to discuss the near term deployment of US microreactors in mining operations.

Moderators: Mark Deinert, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, and Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian at Colorado School of Mines


  • Dr. Shannon Bragg-Sitton – Director, Integrated Energy & Storage Systems at Idaho National Laboratory

  • John Jackson – National Technical Director, DOE-NE Microreactor Program

  • Ken Darlington – Vice-President, Corporate Development at Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation

  • Cristian Rabiti – Director, Technology Strategy at Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation

  • Jonathan Hackett – Managing Director, Co-head Energy Transition and Head of Sustainable Finance, BMO Capital Markets

  • Briana Gunn, PE – Group Executive of Environment, Sustainability and External Relations, Newmont Mining

  • Scott Melbye – Executive Vice President, Uranium Energy Corp, CEO – Uranium Royalty Corp., and President – Uranium Producers of America

  • Don Strickland – Executive Vice President, Sustainability, Copper Mountain Mining Corporation

  • Alice Wong – Senior Vice-President and Chief Corporate Officer, Cameco Corporation


Presentation Title: The Role of Nuclear Energy in Achieving Economy-Wide Net Zero Energy Solutions

Presenter:  Shannon M. Bragg-Sitton, Ph.D., Director, Integrated Energy & Storage Systems, Idaho National Laboratory

Abstract: The Biden administration has committed to full decarbonization of the U.S. electricity grid by 2035 and economy-wide net zero emissions by 2050. These aggressive goals demand immediate action, and they require us to think more holistically about our clean energy options. The DOE Office of Nuclear Energy Integrated Energy Systems (IES) program is addressing these holistic solutions. Reducing environmental emissions at an affordable cost, while maintaining grid reliability and resilience, will require us to use all of the clean energy resources that we have available. That means coordinating the use of nuclear, renewables, and fossil fuels with carbon capture to meet growing demands for electricity, industrial applications, and mobility. The primary focus of IES research is to assess the technical and economic potential of potential energy system solutions to enhance the flexibility and utilization of nuclear reactors working alongside renewable generators to meet an array of energy demands—thereby maximizing the utilization of clean energy resources across all energy sectors. 

About Shannon M. Bragg-Sitton: Dr. Shannon Bragg-Sitton is the Director for the Integrated Energy & Storage Systems Division in the Energy & Environment Science & Technology Directorate at Idaho National Laboratory, which includes Power and Energy Systems, Energy Storage and Electric Transportation, and Hydrogen and Electrochemistry departments. She also serves as the National Technical Director for the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy Integrated Energy Systems program.



Presentation Title: The DOE Microreactor Program – Enabling Microreactor Technology

Presenter:  John Jackson, National Technical Director, DOE-NE Microreactor Program

Abstract:The DOE Microreactor Program was established in 2019 to support research and development (R&D) of technologies related to the development, demonstration, and deployment of low-power, transportable reactors to provide power and heat for decentralized generation in civilian, industrial, and defense energy sectors. The program conducts both fundamental and applied R&D to de-risk technology performance and manufacturability readiness of microreactors.

About John Jackson: Dr. John H. Jackson is a Distinguished Staff Scientist/Engineer at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He currently is the National Technical Director for the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy’s Microreactor Program which is focused on supporting development and deployment of rapidly evolving microreactor technology. Prior to this he served as the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) Technical Interface where he ensured that the nuclear industry had facilitated and appropriate access to DOE national laboratory capability. In these capacities, John has worked closely with the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy and the nuclear industry to ensure that DOE facilities are used effectively to maintain the current reactor fleet and to enable innovation.



Presentation Title:Finance Perspectives on ESG

Presenter: Jonathan Hackett, Managing Director, Co-head Energy Transition and Head of Sustainable Finance, BMO Capital Markets

Abstract: The landscape of ESG investors today is a patchwork of investors with differing objectives and theses for how to expand on traditional investing criteria. Looking at these categories, we’ll distinguish between ESG as risk and ESG as opportunity.

About Jonathan Hackett:Jonathan Hackett is the managing director and co-head of BMO’s Energy Transition Group and Head of BMO’s Sustainable Finance team. In these roles he advises clients on opportunities as they navigate the transition to a low carbon economy, supports clients in navigating the impact of ESG on their access to capital, and advises on sustainable financing structures. Jonathan’s team also includes BMO’s $250MM impact investment fund which has a mandate to invest in companies that are producing solutions in the sustainability and energy transition space. Prior to joining BMO in 2017, Jonathan was a principal with the Boston Consulting Group and also a researcher in residence at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics where he completed his doctoral research in Quantum Gravity and Topology.

Presentation Title: Newmont’s Approach to ESG

Presenter: Briana Gunn, PE, Group Executive of Environment, Sustainability and External Relations, Newmont Mining

Abstract:Overview of Newmont’s approach to ESG and how this is integrated into our governance from the site to the corporate levels, targets and incentives.

About Brianna Gunn: Briana Gunn is the Group Executive of Environment in the corporate headquarters for Newmont Mining Company in Denver, Colorado. This role includes understanding and managing environmental performance and risk establishing standards, guidelines and targets to support objectives working toward a goal of reducing impact and supporting mitigation.

Presentation Title: Raising Awareness of Carbon-Free Nuclear Energy For Mining Applications

Presenter: Scott Melbye, Executive Vice President – Uranium Energy Corp, CEO – Uranium Royalty Corp., and President – Uranium Producers of America

Abstract: Global climate change concerns are hurtling society towards a low/no carbon future at a pace which is straining mankind’s scientific abilities to meet those goals. Nowhere is this challenge more evident than in the global mining industry whose companies are embracing aggressive carbon reduction goals as part of their overall Environment and Social Governance (ESG) commitments to investors and local stakeholders. Mining, especially conventional open pit and underground operations, and
associated metallurgical milling processes, are, by their very nature, energy intensive. The challenges are both substantial and costly. As someone who has spent the past 37 years in both nuclear energy and uranium mining, I not only see the immense challenges presented, but also a very key and viable solution in the form of small modular and micro nuclear reactors which produce reliable (24/7) electricity without carbon emissions. The dramatic changes in public and political perceptions toward
nuclear energy in a lower carbon world, and advances in small modular and advanced reactors, present new options in the tool box for global miners and developers compared to even just a few years ago. My goal is to see these two worlds come together and gain a mutual appreciation of the challenges and opportunities that may foster, and promote, future cooperation.

About Scott Melbye: Scott Melbye is Executive Vice President of Texas-based miner and developer, Uranium Energy Corp, and is currently President of the Uranium Producers of America. He is also CEO and co-founder of Uranium Royalty Corp, which is the only pure-play royalty and streaming company in the uranium industry. Scott is a 37 year veteran of the uranium/nuclear energy industry, having held senior executive positions in three of the world’s four largest uranium mining companies (Canada’s Cameco Corporation, Kazakhstan’s Kazatomprom, and Russia’s Uranium One). His career has also seen professional roles in the trading and brokerage of uranium commodities, nuclear fuel procurement for nuclear reactors, and managing uranium investments for a publicly-traded commodity fund. He has testified on uranium matters before the International Trade Commission, and U.S. Senate Energy and House Oversight Committees, and is a frequent speaker on nuclear energy, and the uranium fuel cycle, in international forums. He currently serves as an advisor to the nuclear engineering graduate program at the Colorado School of Mines.

Presentation Title: Copper Mountain Mining Corporation’s Focus on Fighting Climate Change

Presenter: Don Strickland, Executive Vice President Sustainability, Copper Mountain Mining Corporation

Abstract: An overview of Copper Mountain’s focus on fighting climate change, and objective of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2035. The presentation will cover Copper Mountain’s actions to reduce diesel consumption, increase electrification, and advance low carbon electrification options.

About Don Strickland: Mr. Strickland has over 25 years of Canadian and international mining experience, specifically in mineral processing, project development, mine management and sustainability programs. Mr. Strickland is currently responsible for leading the Company’s sustainability initiatives. Prior to becoming the EVP of Sustainability, Mr. Strickland was the Chief Operating Officer at Copper Mountain. Previous to joining the Company, Mr. Strickland held various senior operating positions at Placer Dome, Barrick Gold Corp and Yukon Zinc. Mr. Strickland is a Professional Engineer and graduated from Queens University with a Bachelor of Science degree (Hons) in Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering.

Presentation Title: Decarbonizing Mines: Making Off-Grid Small Modular Reactors a Reality in the 2020s

Presenters: Ken Darlington, a. Vice-President, Corporate Development, and Dr. Cristian Rabiti, Director, Technical Strategy, Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation

Abstract: Ultra-Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) has developed the Micro Modular Reactor (MMR®) technology to address the need for reliable, carbon-free energy in remote, off-grid locations such as mining operations and communities. A brief overview of the technology and how it fits the energy needs of the mining industry will be presented. The presentation will also cover the expected commercial deployment timeline and how it relates to the ongoing MMR commercial demonstration project in Canada in collaboration with Ontario Power and Generation, and the campus MMR project at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.

About Ken Darlington and Dr. Cristian Rabiti: Ken Darlington is a resources industry professional with 25 years of experience in project development in the mining sector. As Vice-President, Corporate Development at USNC Power, Ken leverages his strong ties in the resources sector to develop clean energy solutions for clients across North America and elsewhere. Ken holds a degree in chemical engineering from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

Dr. Cristian Rabiti has 20 years of experience in the nuclear field. Dr. Rabiti’s background is nuclear reactor systems, reactor physics, optimization, and financial management. After several years dedicated to developing software for the nuclear reactor design, Dr. Rabiti has focused his efforts on the techno-economic analysis of energy systems. Currently is the Director of Technology Strategy at Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation. Dr. Cristian Rabiti holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical engineering from the University of Stuttgart in Germany and an Executive MBA from IE Business School in Spain.

Presenter: Alice Wong, Senior Vice President and Chief Corporate Officer, Cameco Corporation

About Alice Wong: Alice Wong, senior vice-president, chief corporate officer at Cameco Corporation, provides executive oversight for HR, safety, health, environment, quality, regulatory relations, IT, supply chain management, internal audit and corporate ethics.  Over her 30-plus year career, she has made exceptional contributions in regulatory and stakeholder relations and inclusion/diversity efforts. She is executive sponsor for enhancing the company’s sustainability approach to meet evolving ESG requirements and advancing Cameco’s digital transformation journey.



December 15, 2021
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm UTC-7
Event Category:


Payne Institute
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