Talk of the Bay from KSQD
Talk of the Bay from KSQD
Nuclear Power and Our Clean Energy Future: Friend or Foe?

Does nuclear power have an important role to play in a clean energy future or is it a toxic demon to be avoided at all costs? On Talk of the Bay, Monday, November 29, Christine Barrington interviews both sides in a quest for clarity.  If you are concerned about climate disruption and ever felt confused about the role of nuclear power in meeting the climate challenge, join Christine and her guests.

Pro-Nuclear: The first half of our show features two citizen activists who are part of a growing movement called Save Clean Energy advocating to keep the Diablo Canyon nuclear facility outside San Luis Obisbo operational while California moves to meet its carbon reduction goals. PG&E has refused to extend operational licensing to the plant and it is set to close over 2024-2025.  Stephen Williams is the Co-Founder of Monterey Bay for Nuclear Power, and Jim Hopf is a retired Nuclear Engineer and and a member of the Citizen Climate Lobby. 

Viewpoint: “The state is headed toward failure in replacing Diablo Canyon’s output with renewable sources and California’s electric grid operator has warned of a serious reliability crisis once Diablo Canyon is closed. That means that California will inevitably turn to greenhouse gas emitting sources like natural gas to keep the lights on, taking us backwards in our fight against climate change. The state will have to boost its total renewable energy production by an enormous 20% in just over two years to replace the clean energy being produced at Diablo Canyon.”

There will be a rally in favor of keeping Diablo Canyon operating on December 4 at 11 am at the San Luis Obisbo County Government Center; 105o Monterey Stree, SLO, CA. For more info: Save Clean Energy Rally & Stanford Study on Keeping Diablo Canyon Open

Anti-Nuclear: While there is a growing population of citizens and scientists who understand nuclear power as necessary for building a new clean energy infrastructure, there are many who disagree. During the second half of the show we invite Kevin Bell, Co-Founder of The Sustainable Systems Research Foundation to add his voice to the conversation and offer his views as to why nuclear power generation is both unneeded and harmful.

Viewpoint: “It’s more expensive than it was the last time around, has a sixty-year history of failure, doesn’t replicate or scale well, would take far too long to replicate and scale enough to change the arc of climate change even if it worked, and would both lock in and vastly accelerate state and non-state nuclear proliferation in an increasingly unstable world (this last one is the Hard No deal breaker for many, which generally doesn’t get the attention that it deserves). It’s a solution still looking for a problem that it can be solved better with things we already know how to do faster, better, cheaper, and safer.”

If you have an opinion, question, or response to the show. Phone lines will be open and community members are invited to chime in.

Pro-Nuclear Resources: If you would like to read up to decide for yourself, our guests provide these links:

EU scientific commission report stating that nuclear should be classified as a green source:

Harvard: Reconsidering the Risks of Nuclear Power (Includes comparison of harms from all energy sources)

UN report stating that nuclear has lowest of all CO2 emissions, and low land use and mining impact:

IPCC analyses showing that increased nuclear is necessary to meet climate goals:

Anti-Nuclear Resources:

Top 10 Pro Nuclear Arguments Refuted

Yale Climate Connections: We’ve Been Having the Wrong Debate about Nuclear Power–What advocates on both sides may be overlooking.   (This is a lucid and well-reasoned article that ultimately gives thoughtful consideration to the challenges of nuclear power.)

Is Nuclear Power Safe or Affordable? Stanford Debate featuring Daniel Kamman and Ralph Cavanaugh


And if you really want to educate yourself as why nuclear energy is so expensive and what might solve it. This reading grounds some of the complicated issues around building a clean energy infrastructure. Nuclear Energy Is Too Expensive This article features the work of Jacopo Buongiorno, professor at the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT.