The Canadian Academy of Engineering / What’s New

Net-Zero Webinar – Nuclear Fission and Fusion: Widening the Path to Net-Zero

On Tuesday, June 15, 2021 the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE), in Collaboration with Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), and Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC) will be hosting its third Net-Zero webinar, titled Nuclear Fission and Fusion: Widening the Path to Net-Zero.

The webinar will be held from 10:00 a.m. MT to 12:00 p.m. MT. The two-hour long webinar will begin with presentations by speakers Ali Siddiqui, Axel Meisen, and Philip Hildebrandt.

Axel will discuss the challenges and opportunities towards commercialization of fusion technologies, and applications in meeting the net-zero target by 2050. Philip will present his views on the application of existing and emerging nuclear technologies in meeting the net-zero target by 2050. Given the fact the SMR will have a higher per unit energy cost than the large nuclear reactors, Ali will discuss the application of SMR in meeting the net-zero target.

After all presentations, there will be a panel session moderated by Soheil Asgarpour to answer questions from the audience. The focus of this webinar is to discuss the potential of nuclear fission and fusion technologies in providing, safe, secure, clean, economic, and modern solutions to be part of the path in meeting the net-zero target by 2050.

Register here.

The presenters:

Axel Meisen, C.M., Ph.D., P.Eng, EurIng., FCAE, FCIC, FIEI

Axel advises boards and senior management in Canada and abroad on strategy development and implementation of major initiatives with long-term time horizons.  Examples are projects on Bitumen Beyond Combustion (a recent project focused on making non-combustion products from oilsands bitumen), Solid Waste Management in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia, and Environmental Technology and Management in Saudi Arabia.

Axel held the inaugural Chair in Foresight at the Alberta Research Council, after serving as president of Memorial University of Newfoundland, president of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, and dean of Applied Science and professor of Chemical Engineering at The University of British Columbia.  He chairs the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Research, Innovation and Technology (GRRIT) Advisory Council in Edmonton and recently became the Interim President of the Fusion Energy Council of Canada.  He is a Member of the Order of Canada, past President of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and a CAE Fellow.

Axel has Bachelor, Master, and doctorate degrees in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College London, California Institute of Technology, and McGill University, respectively.

Philip Hildebrandt

Philip Hildebrandt is Special Assistant to the Laboratory Director, Idaho National Laboratory for Major Projects, Industry and Regulatory Strategy. He has over 50 years of experience in the nuclear and power generating industries. His experience has been gained through a wide range of engineering and management assignments in the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program and in commercial nuclear power plants. This experience has included senior management roles and consultation to commercial power generating companies and utilities, and government and government contractors in the recovery/restart, performance improvement, project management and engineering management of reactor facilities and other nuclear/chemical facilities. Mr. Hildebrandt has worked closely with senior and executive management within power generating companies and utilities, as well as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Commerce. As a consultant to the Laboratory Director of the Idaho National Laboratory, Mr. Hildebrandt provides assistance in the development of major projects, industry liaison and regulatory strategy. He is participating in development of a multi-decade strategy for the future of nuclear energy that includes recommendations for rebuilding the U.S. nuclear industrial infrastructure and positioning U.S. industry to continue to be a leader in the global nuclear energy marketplace. He is a graduate of Auburn University with a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering, a graduate of the Bettis Reactor Engineering School in the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program and has completed graduate studies in electrical engineering at George Washington University. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia and Ohio.

Ali Siddiqui

Mr. Ali Siddiqui is the Head of Directorate (acting) for the Advanced Reactors Directorate at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories.

Mr. Siddiqui has a range of management and leadership experienced gained though roles including leading CNL’s thermalhydraulics experiments and analysis group, corporate manager supporting the executive team in the office of the CEO over the period spanning AECL-CNL restructuring and in program management roles with oversight over a diverse range of research including the nuclear fuel and small modular reactors (SMRs).  His current accountabilities as the acting Head of Directorate for the Advanced Reactors Directorate includes leadership of over 150 scientists and technologists, management and oversight of a diverse set of advanced reactors related federal and commercial research projects, strategic planning, development of new S&T opportunities and support for the SMR siting project at CNL.  He currently represents CNL and Canada on a number of domestic and international working groups and committees.  Mr. Siddiqui has over a decade of experience in a range of roles in the nuclear industry, holds a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from Carleton University, is a Professional Engineer in Ontario and is an alumni of the World Nuclear University.


Soheil Asgarpour, Ph.D, FCAE, FCIM, FCSSE, P.Eng.

A Fellow of both the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE) and the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum (CIM), Dr. Asgarpour has over 35 years of diversified technical, business, and operations experience in the oil and gas industry, marked by providing strong leadership to several profit and not-for-profit organizations. Soheil has served Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC) as president since 2007. Prior to joining PTAC, Soheil successfully led the overall management of the Crown’s oil sands interests in his position as Business Leader of Oil Sands for the Alberta Department of Energy (ADOE). Prior to working for the Department of Energy, he held executive positions with mid- and large-size oil and gas companies. Soheil earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Rice University in Houston, Texas. He completed the Western Executive Program at the Western Business School of the University of Western Ontario and the Leadership Program at Yale University.

He has served the Petroleum Recovery Institute (PRI) as First Vice Chairman, CIM as President, the Petroleum Society of CIM (PSC) as Chairman, CAE as President-Elect, and the Canadian Institute for Photonic Innovations, Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN), CIM, PRI, PSC, CAE, and the Council of Canadian Academies as a Director. He is a life member of Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), and a member of the CIM, Canadian Society of Senior Engineers (CSSE), CAE, APEGA, and the Institute of Corporate Directors.

To view presentations and videos of the first two webinars dedicated to net-zero emissions, please click here.

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