Asking Powerful Public Scientists Hard Questions

On Wednesday, April 9, 2014, The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists hosted a symposium titled Speaking Knowledge to Power in Princeton University’s Robertson Hall. The speakers included John Holdren, Allison Macfarlane, Frank von Hippel and Christopher Chyba.

Three out of the four (Holdren, von Hippel, and Macfarlane) have long been influential skeptics about the use of nuclear energy, even though they are well-educated scientists with solid reputations in their particular fields of study. Two of the four currently wield considerable power from their politically appointed positions, with Macfarlane serving as the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Holdren serving as the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Von Hippel is proud of his chosen role of being an outsider. He described his conscious realization that he is more effective at influencing policy from his academic perch than from being in a responsible position inside the government.

As a independent citizen armed with personal knowledge about the value and capabilities of nuclear energy in addressing some of the most pressing challenges facing human society, I thought it would be a good idea to make the trip to Princeton so I could ask the powerful public scientists some hard questions.
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Designated law-breaker at DOE still wants budget approved

This interaction between Congressman Shimkus and Secretary Moniz took place during a the Energy and Commerce Committee FY2015 DOE budget hearing on April 3, 2014. It’s too bad that hearings like this have strict time limits imposed on the questioners. There is a good reason why I would be exceedingly reluctant to accept any kind […]

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John Tjostem – GMOs & Atomic Fission Enable a Sustainable Future

During a discussion on Atomic Insights, I encountered a man whose recipes for a sustainable future need greater distribution. John Tjostem is an advocate of technologies that enable disruptive abundance and a more rewarding life for a growing portion of the world’s population. After growing up on South Dakota farm in the 1930s and 1940s, […]

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Atomic Energy Position – Democratic Party 1956

There have been numerous discussions on Atomic Insights about the partisan nature of support for — or opposition to — the commercial use of atomic energy. I happened across the text of Adalai Stevenson’s 1956 commentary on the Republican Party platform, as published in the New York Times on August 26, 1956. It’s worth sharing […]

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Smoking gun – Antinuclear talking points coined by coal interests

Some of the earliest documented instances of opposition to the development of commercial nuclear power in the United States originated from designated representatives of the coal industry. They were the first people to mount sustained opposition to the use of taxpayer money to support the development of nuclear power stations. They testified against the implied […]

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Future of energy must include nuclear

On Monday, Feb 24, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) unveiled its Future of Energy advertising campaign with a press conference at the National Press Club. The campaign will stress four major aspects of nuclear energy that are not as well understood as they should be. It will talk about the importance of nuclear energy in […]

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Westinghouse CEO: Decommissioning is part of the nuclear life cycle

Editor’s note: This guest post is in response to Westinghouse’s Roderick shifts resources from SMR to AP1000. By Danny Roderick I enjoy your blog and overall you get it right so I wanted to provide a little comment about growing our Westinghouse decommissioning business. Our fundamental business is growth in new units and servicing/fueling the […]

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Taking the bloom off of the nuclear rose

Yesterday I came across a New York Times front page article from July 7, 1971 titled Nation’s Energy Crisis: Nuclear Future Looms. It is the second article in a three part article on the energy crisis that was capturing America’s attention in 1971 – two years before the Arab Oil Embargo. The discovery knocked me […]

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Energy versus Power – Energy delivered rapidly equals power

A BusinessWeek article titled Putin $14 Billion Nuclear Deal Wins Over Russia Critic Orban recognizes the importance of recent Russian power deals to supply gas, oil, and nuclear energy facilities. There is widespread confusion about energy versus power. Conversations about the business of selling hydrocarbons or electricity are described as being about energy, but the […]

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Russia using oil wealth to finance nuclear exports

Russia has announced plans to lend Hungary $14 billion at below market rates to finance the construction of additional nuclear energy production units at the existing Paks nuclear power station. The announcement is one more piece of evidence showing that Russia continues to diversify its income by exporting nuclear power stations to as large a […]

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Why is the Green Schools Alliance censoring discussion about nuclear energy

I have learned through my grapevine that the leaders of an organization called the Green Schools Alliance (GSA) have decided to reject the suggestions of parents who wanted to include a showing and discussion of Pandora’s Promise in the program of a planned conference on Green Business. According to my sources those leaders told the […]

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Nuclear energy advocate in a nuclear nonproliferation crowd

On December 11, 2013, Henry Sokolski, the Executive Director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC), hosted a event titled Avoiding Future Irans: A New Course for US Nonproliferation Policy. The papers offered as background material before the event started, the prepared remarks from Sokolski’s invited speakers, and the post meeting engagements I had with […]

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