How often do we pause to consider the intricate, behind-the-scenes balance of technology and strategy that powers our everyday lives? In this episode of the Innovation Storytellers Show, I have an enlightening conversation with Heather Feldman, Director of Learning & Development at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). 

Heather shares insights from her unique vantage point on defining global collaboration in the nuclear age. From balancing the operational demands of current nuclear power plants to envisioning future advancements with technologies like artificial intelligence, Heather describes EPRI’s role in fostering an environment where experimentation is encouraged, and even failures are seen as steps towards success. She discusses the inception of the Global Forum for Nuclear Innovation, highlighting its aim to drive transformative change across the industry with leaders from around the world, including the International Energy Agency.

But what does all this innovation mean for the average person? Heather ties these technological advancements back to everyday life, underscoring how crucial nuclear energy is to providing a substantial portion of America’s carbon-free electricity. Amidst the backdrop of recent cultural phenomena like the Oppenheimer films, Heather helps demystify the often misunderstood role of nuclear power in our energy landscape and its critical contribution to combating climate change.

As we reflect on the importance of sustainable and safe energy solutions, what are your thoughts on the role of nuclear power and innovation in our future? How should we balance the technological advancements with the ethical considerations they bring? Join the conversation and share your insights on how we can collectively enhance our understanding and implementation of nuclear technology.

Name: Heather Feldman
Title: Director, Learning & Development
Company: Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
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Heather Feldman is Director, Training and Development at EPRI.  In this role, Feldman leads EPRI’s efforts to apply the science of learning to develop and deliver modern training programs that meet the needs of the energy workforce and the public.   

At EPRI, Feldman previously led teams that conducted applied R&D to overcome barriers for modernizing and maximizing the utilization of nuclear power plants; to develop new and enhanced technologies and processes for inspection and repair and aging management of nuclear power plants; and to deploy advanced nuclear technologies. She led EPRI’s initiative on Artificial Intelligence, managed the Engineering Programs area, and worked in the Steam Generator Management Program as well as the Office of Innovation.

Before joining EPRI, Feldman worked for United Space Alliance, where she coordinated systems engineering and integration work in the thermal area of the Space Shuttle Program. Her work contributed to the successful Return-to-Flight mission after the Columbia accident.

Feldman holds bachelor of science, master of science, and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from Clemson University, and a master’s degree in business administration from Wake Forest University.