During the period between April 12-14, Fortune Magazine sponsored a conference titled Brainstorm Green that brought together a wide range of opinion leaders, environmentalists and business groups. One of the sessions at the conference included a discussion about nuclear energy that featured two representatives from companies seeking loan guarantees, one engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor, one former anti-nuclear activist who is now a nuclear energy advocate and a lonely representative of the Sierra Club.
The host introduced it as the kicking, screaming and fighting panel on nuclear power. There really was not much of any of those actions happening, though David Crane, CEO of NRG, did get a bit irate when Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, asserted that nuclear plants were not producing power 15% of the time. He interrupted and told the man to quit wasting the audience time with statements that are simply not true. (I am less polite. I might have taken a page from someone who famously shouted “You lie.”) You can find a 5 part series of YouTube videos of the complete panel discussion at the NEI Network.
My favorite segment, however, is included in part 4 shown below. Right at the one minute point, Stewart Brand challenges the Sierra Club representative on his focus on cost. Stewart describes that argument as coming directly from Amory Lovins, but he also mentions that most environmentalists never worried very about how much their imposed requirements for additional studies and impact statements costs the corporations that they are fighting. The response is quite interesting.