Power generation industry's adaptability is focus of 2011 Keynote Session

The theme of the 2011 Keynote Session, “Changing Course,” will address how the power generation industry is adapting to new and proposed federal regulations, financial uncertainty for new builds, changes within the nuclear industry after the disaster at the Fukushima plant in Japan, and the so-called golden age of gas. The session gets underway Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 9:30 a.m. in the Barron Room at the Las Vegas Hilton.

David M. Walsh, senior vice president, Service & Manufacturing with Mitsubishi Power Systems America, will lead the discussion on what issues are impacting the power generation industry as a whole, including pending federal emissions control regulations, concerns about reliability and the impact that unconventional gas will have on power generation.

Walsh is the senior executive responsible for management of Mitsubishi Power Systems power generation service and manufacturing business in the Western Hemisphere.  Walsh is an officer in Mitsubishi Power systems Inc. and has responsibility for the field service, plant service, parts manufacturing and marketing for services related to gas and steam turbines, electric generators and related equipment. Previously, Walsh held various executive positions with Westinghouse Electric Corp. in Pittsburgh, Chicago and Orlando.

Another change happening is the integration of renewables with other generating sources, such as gas and coal. In particular, many electric vehicle companies and charging station manufacturers are using renewables to help charge electric vehicles. Donald B. Karner, president and CEO of ECOtality North America, talks about how his company is using solar panels to power the company’s charging stations.

Karner provides strategic direction, conducts research and directs the development of products and services in the areas of energy, environment and advanced transportation. He has more than 25 years experience in the advanced transportation and energy areas, including 15 years of electric utility industry management experience. He earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and an M.S. in Nuclear Engineering. Karner held the position of Chief Nuclear Officer for Arizona Public Service Co. during the construction and commissioning of the 3,800 MWe Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station.

Discussing the issues within the nuclear industry will be Elmo Collins, regional administrator with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Collins was assigned to the Region IV Office of the NRC in September 2007. The office is responsible for overseeing inspection of 14 nuclear power plants in 22 states and the licensing of operators of the controls of nuclear power reactors.

Collins graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. in 1976.  He served six years in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear-trained submarine officer, serving on the USS Thomas Edison. After leaving the Navy, he worked in the commercial nuclear industry as a startup engineer with General Electric from 1983 to 1987, receiving certification as a Senior Reactor Operator.

Collins joined NRC Region I in 1987 as a resident inspector at Oyster Creek, where he later became the Senior Resident Inspector. In 1991, he transferred to NRC Region IV as a Senior Project Engineer. In Region IV, he subsequently held positions as Inspection Team Leader, Senior Reactor Analyst, Reactor Projects Branch Chief, and Nuclear Materials Branch Chief. He was appointed to Senior Executive Service in May 2000 as Deputy Director for the Division of Reactor Projects. In February 2003, he was assigned the position of Director, Division of Nuclear Materials Safety in Region IV. In July 2004, Mr. Collins was reassigned to NRC Headquarters Office of Nuclear Materials Safety and Safeguards in Rockville, MD as the Deputy Division Director for the licensing and inspection of the high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain. In October 2006, Mr. Collins was assigned to the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation as Director, Division of Inspection and Region Support.

Collins has participated with the International Atomic Energy Agency Teams evaluating the performance of nuclear regulatory programs and assessment of nuclear plant operational safety performance in other countries. Recently, Mr. Collins joined a team of experts sent by NRC to provide technical support and on-the-ground assistance to Japan after the earthquake and tsunami struck there on March 11.

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