Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Frank Lee "Skip" Bowman, SM '73

Championing a future for nuclear energy

Admiral Skip Bowman places two priorities squarely at the top in his life: spending time with his family and promoting nuclear power as a solution to both global warming and the nation’s energy needs.

Bowman stepped into his current role as president and CEO of the nuclear industry’s policy organization, the Nuclear Energy Institute, in 2005 after a successful 38-year career in the U.S. Navy. During that career, he served as director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program for nearly a decade. At the same time, he was the deputy administrator of naval reactors in the National Nuclear Security Administration at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In these dual positions, Bowman headed operations of 103 reactors aboard aircraft carriers and submarines, as well as four training sites and two DOE laboratories. When he was a ship commander, Bowman’s crews won many awards, including five “E” Ribbon awards for battle efficiency.

Bowman acknowledges widespread concerns about civilian nuclear power plants, such as the potential for nuclear proliferation and the problem of storing used fuel rods. But he believes that recycling methods now being tested could solve those problems. He says the new techniques would harvest up to 90 percent of the rods’ energy while binding the plutonium waste product to elements that render the plutonium unusable in nuclear weapons.

He is as ardent an advocate for safety as any devoted family man. He married his high-school sweetheart, Linda, in 1966, and they now live in Arlington, VA; their two grown children each have three children. “The family plays a huge role in my life,” says Bowman, who especially likes to swim with his grandkids.

Family life was more stressful when Bowman attended MIT. “I found myself on a rapidly spinning treadmill with two babies at home who cried all night, but only when I had a test the next day,” he recalls. Today he maintains close ties with MIT, serving on the Nuclear Engineering Visiting Committee and counting among his friends several faculty members in nuclear science and engineering.

Bowman is optimistic that the 31 new U.S. nuclear plants now being planned by utility companies will be as safe as the submarine fleets he once commanded. He says, “I feel that what I’m doing now is an extension of what I’ve done for 38 years: helping to ensure the security of the country for my children and their children.”

Become an MIT Technology Review Insider for in-depth analysis and unparalleled perspective.

Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look: exclusive early access to important stories, before they’re available to anyone else

    Insider Conversations: listen in on in-depth calls between our editors and today’s thought leaders

  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus ad-free web experience, select discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning magazine and daily delivery of The Download, our newsletter of what’s important in technology and innovation.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.