The Atomic Show Podcast includes interviews, roundtable discussions and atomic geeks all centered around the idea that nuclear energy is an amazing boon for human society.

Atomic Show #217 – Michael Mariotte, President NIRS

At the suggestion of a long time Atomic Insights contributor and Atomic Show listener, I invited Michael Mariotte for a guest appearance on the Atomic Show. In the small world made up of active nuclear advocates and people adamantly opposed to nuclear energy, Mariotte and his organization are famous — or infamous, depending on one’s perspective.

The specific impetus for this show was a conversation on NIRS’s Greenworld blog titled Poll: Anti-nuclear presence at September 20 NYC climate march/rally?. Mariotte and his organization are planning to hold a nuclear free rally as part of a planned march in New York City to draw attention to the challenge of climate change. That seems quite illogical and counter productive to me.

Michael served as the Executive Director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) from October 1986 through December 2013. He is currently the president of the organization.

NIRS is not a fan of nuclear energy. In fact, their staff page includes the following subtitle “Working for a Nuclear-Free World.”

Michael reminded me that we have engaged — on opposite sides — in discussions about nuclear energy on the web since the early 1990s when we both had accounts in the walled garden called America Online.

In spite of our polar opposite positions on nuclear energy, Mariotte and I agree in several areas. We are both concerned about the effects of CO2 released from our massive fossil fuel industry. We are both worried about many other aspects of a continued dependence on hydrocarbons, including the political instability and income inequality that dependence is producing.

During this show, Michael explains his belief that it is possible to achieve a “Carbon Free, Nuclear Free” energy system and that the intentions and future plans of people like Elon Musk, companies like Google and NRG, and countries like Denmark and Germany are showing the viability of that goal.

Not surprisingly I disagreed with his belief; there are real limitations that make the vision closer to a mirage than an attainable goal. However, we kept the conversation civil. Unlike my talk with Arjun Makhijani, the author of Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free, Mariotte did not hang up. In fact, we left the conversation open as something that might be continued on another day.

I hope you enjoy the show.

Thank you, James Greenidge, for suggesting this discussion.


Atomic Show #216 – Just the Fracks, Ma’am

Greg Kozera is the President of the Virginia Oil and Gas Association and the author of a recently-released book titled Just the Fracks, Ma’am: The Truth About Hydrofracking and the Next Great American Boom. I heard about the book from his publicist, News & Experts. Here is an excerpt from the communication I received. Hi […]

Read more »

Atomic Show #215 – Armond Cohen, CATF, describes need for nuclear

Armond Cohen is the Executive Director of the Clean Air Task Force. We spoke in January 2008 on episode #78 of the Atomic Show. At that time, Armond and his organization did not take a position on nuclear energy. On March 28 of this year, I heard Armond give a talk at the commemoration of […]

Read more »

Atomic Show #214 – Age of Radiance Author Craig Nelson

The Age of Radiance is good read that adds personality and details to a story I know pretty well – the history of the Atomic Age from the discovery of radiation, to the discovery of fission, to the Manhattan Project to apply the newfound power to the task of creating a war-ending super weapon, and […]

Read more »

Atomic Show #212 – What Can We Learn From Fukushima?

On March 9, 2014, a small group of nuclear professionals gathered to talk about the events at Fukushima on March 11, 2011 and the continuing situation during the subsequent three years. The conversation included: Cal Abel – PhD candidate in Nuclear Engineering at Ga Tech who also blogs at Statistical Economics Meredith Angwin, who publishes […]

Read more »

Atomic Show #211 – Happy Nuke Year 2014

On January 1, 2014, I asked several nuclear communicators to join me for a discussion about highlights of 2013 and predictions for 2013. We had a lively discussion about the change in the conversation about nuclear energy stimulated by the release of Pandora’s Promise, the impact of the court decision telling the NRC to restart […]

Read more »

Atomic Show #210 – Leadership by Navy nukes

This show was inspired by a post on Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Healthiness titled Why I’m Not Afraid of Fukushima. That post was written by a guest blogger named Jeremiah Scott; he is an electrical engineering student who is attending college in the Pacific Northwest with the help of the GI bill. He […]

Read more »

Atomic Show #209 – Nuclear energy conference reports

The month of November is chock full of nuclear energy related conferences. I was fortunate enough to attend four informative and professionally engaging events. Unfortunately that left little time for gathering friends together to produce a new Atomic Show podcast. This is a downpayment on remedying that situation; during the show preps I realized it […]

Read more »

Atomic Show #208 – Communicating about nuclear energy

On the evening of September 22, 2013, I gathered a group of friends who are also pronuclear communicators. We spoke for nearly 90 minutes about some of the challenges that we face in helping people to understand the enormous benefits provided by atomic energy and the vast array of good things we are giving up […]

Read more »

Atomic Show #207- Stomping scare stories

There has been a whole spate of scary stories published in the past couple of weeks about various aspects of nuclear energy. While the reason for the flood is not entirely clear, some atomic advocates — including me — believe that people who have invested their careers in working to halt nuclear energy are worried […]

Read more »

Atomic Show #206 – Energy Education

We spent a lot of time on this show talking about energy-related education. It is important for people to have a better understanding of how they get energy, how humans use energy to enable better living, and how difficult life can be when there is no reliable, convenient source of delivered energy. We tipped our […]

Read more »