Before starting a PhD in Astrophysics at the University of Colorado Boulder, Jessica lived and worked in Alaska helping fight wildfires. Spending her free time backpacking around Alaska and Western Canada, she was struck for the first time by the tangible impacts of climate change: record summer heat, melting permafrost, retreating glaciers. Realizing her passion lay in solving problems down here on earth, Jessica switched into a graduate program focused on environmental policy, with a focus on energy. Although her coursework focused broadly on renewable energy, Jessica was struck by the lack of coverage of nuclear power considering it made up such a large share of global clean energy. To remedy this curriculum gap, Jessica developed and co-taught a graduate seminar looking at nuclear power from an interdisciplinary lens.
Around this time, the Breakthrough Institute was looking to expand their expertise in nuclear energy and hired Jessica when she graduated to focus on nuclear policy as part of their Energy & Climate program. From 2012–2019, Jessica developed expertise in advanced nuclear technologies and nuclear economics. She also developed policies to accelerate nuclear innovation and commercialization of new designs. In 2015 she became Director of Breakthrough’s energy program, and expanded her scope to look at decarbonization and energy policy more broadly.
Wanting to deepen her understanding of nuclear policy, Jessica returned to graduate school in 2017 to complete a PhD at Carnegie Mellon University in Engineering and Public Policy. Her research focuses on how commercial nuclear trade affects international security standards and how very small nuclear reactors could be deployed at the community level. She is also a Fellow with the Energy for Growth Hub, looking at how advanced nuclear can be deployed in emerging economies.
As Congress nears a peak in negotiations over a federal Clean Energy Standard, lawmakers should make sure to include nuclear energy
To align the nuclear sector with the broader Justice40 initiative, federal policies should center communities and address past injustices
The former Michigan Governor supports advanced nuclear tech, environmental justice and cross-agency collaboration
Lovering's Keynote Speech from the 2020 American Nuclear Society Annual Meeting
Why nuclear technology might finally be a match for community-scale energy systems
Recommendations for advanced nuclear technologies as part of the U.S. climate change response
Jessica Lovering explains how advanced nuclear technologies can be well-suited to repower former coal sites, whose surrounding communities are familiar with operating energy infrastructure.
Jessica Lovering co-authors an article on her research into how the U.S. can best strengthen global nuclear security—and what role microreactors could play.
The environmental movement has expanded its focus to addressing issues of equity and justice. Jessica Lovering & Suzanne Hobbs Baker wonder if nuclear power can become part of the egalitarian future they envision?
Los Angeles Times reports on California's energy future and speaks with Jessica Lovering about GEC's nuclear justice policy memo and nuclear legacy issues.
NPR takes stock of what happened at Fukushima and speaks with Jessica Lovering about nuclear energy in the context of climate change.
In the face of climate change, some environmentalists are fighting not to close power plants but to save them
Storage and Distributed Energy Technologies Key to a Clean Electricity System’s Resilience
The founders of Good Energy Collective tell their story and share their plans to modernize nuclear energy products, projects and perceptions.
Advances in technology have politicians on both sides of the aisle rethinking nuclear power.
Jessica Lovering of the Good Energy Collective talks about the advantages of small modular reactors and why she is working to engage young climate activists.
Research and development is underway on new designs for nuclear reactors that seek to completely change the paradigm for nuclear energy.