Skip to main content

UNC Clean Tech Speaker

Nicholas Smith

Nicholas Smith
Principal Engineer
Southern Company


Nicholas Smith is a Principal Engineer in R&D at Southern Company Services. He currently works in the Advanced Energy Systems (AES) group where he is responsible for advanced nuclear power systems R&D. Nicholas is the technical lead on a $40 million DOE Advanced Reactor Concept (ARC) collaboration with TerraPower, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, the Electric Power Research Institute, and Vanderbilt University.

He is also the chairman of the Molten Salt Reactor Technology Working Group (MSR TWG). The MSR TWG is a group of 7 nuclear reactor vendors that provide input and feedback to DOE as it relates to fundamental nuclear R&D in the liquid fueled MSR space.

Additionally, Nicholas is an elected member of the Executive Committee for the American Nuclear Society (ANS) Fuel Cycle & Waste Management Division. Nicholas holds an Economics Degree from San Diego State University, an Electrical Engineering Degree from University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a Master of Nuclear Engineering from North Carolina State University.

Nicholas began his career with Southern Company in 2010 working in R&D on wind and solar data analytics. While in this role he designed and installed data acquisition systems and produced technical evaluations of renewable energy resources. In 2011 Nicholas became the technical lead on Power Quality R&D within Southern Company. In this capacity he managed a $400,000 Voltage Reliability research program where he designed systems to collect ultra-high fidelity geotagged voltage and current measurements and consolidate them via cellular networks into a user friendly dashboard. This system has since become the standard for all power quality groups within Southern Company. In 2013 Nicholas took a job in the Finance department at Southern Power.

While working at Southern Power he led a multi-phase project designed to model wholesale power plant economics based on system load, fuel prices, atmospheric conditions, and voltage regulation constraints. This system, developed in Microsoft’s .NET framework, is used to produce Monte Carlo style risk analysis of potential wholesale energy deals. This Dispatch Run and Performance Engine Reporter (DRAPER) software package is directly integrated into Southern Power’s Pro Forma. Although Nicholas moved back to R&D in 2015, the DRAPER software package remains the default tool for wholesale energy deal analysis within Southern Power.