There was optimism in the '90s that the end of the Cold War also meant the end of the threat of nuclear war and the fear of threats to America like the Cuban Missile Crisis. However, North Korea's nuclear ambitions of late bring back to mind just how dangerous a nuclear war could be, and makes the lessons of the Cuban Missile Crisis relevant even today. We'll be joined by a physicist and nuclear policy expert who will talk about our nuclear dangers today, how they compare with those from past decades and how we can protect ourselves, when Charlotte Talks.

Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Energy, Inc.

Nuclear power continues to be a hot topic when it comes to America's energy future but a new invention could change the entire landscape for nuclear power, or so they the supports of the SMR or Small Modular Reactor. These mini power plants could soon be installed all over the country fueling skyscrapers, neighborhoods and manufacturing plants. Supporters say they are safe, scalable and can be built quickly but those who watch the nuclear industry says that much more research needs to be done before small reactors dot our cities and states. A company on the forefront of this new technology is right in our backyard and we'll hear from them and others on this new plan to power America when Charlotte Talks.

Julie Rose

Nuclear company Areva is moving its North American headquarters to the University area in Charlotte, where it already has more than 500 employees. The company plans to add another 130 jobs – mostly in engineering.

Areva CEO Michael Rencheck says Charlotte won out over Bethesda, Maryland and Lynchburg, Virginia.

Ben Bradford/WFAE

The U.S. government and the nuclear industry are betting on new, much smaller nuclear reactors that can be mass produced in factories, and shipped around the world. 

"We are trying to jumpstart a new U.S. industry," says Assistant Secretary of Energy Pete Lyons. "That’s my goal: A U.S. industry, U.S. jobs, clean energy."

Last month the Department of Energy partnered with Charlotte-based nuclear company Babcock & Wilcox to finish development, in a deal that could total over $400 million. But critics worry that the model for the new reactor is flawed at its core.