Having grown up in the wide-open spaces of Montana, I understand the beauty of a pristine environment as well as the toll fossil fuel can take on the land and our lives. I have always been a conservation-minded, green-energy gal. I wouldn’t have considered myself anti-nuclear before working in the energy industry, but I certainly wasn’t well informed about nuclear energy’s potential.
Two years ago, I started working at the Idaho National Laboratory, which played a key role in the birth of nuclear energy America and remains one of our nation’s leading nuclear research and development complexes. During my time in eastern Idaho working in land conservation, I connected with several people who worked at INL and began to learn a bit more about the mission. When a job opportunity came up, I decided to give it a shot and I am glad I did.
Working at INL has given me the opportunity to learn more about nuclear energy. The more I’ve learned about nuclear energy and its potential for powering our earth in a clean way, the more excited I’ve gotten about it.
But people’s perceptions present a larger hurdle for nuclear energy than for other energy sources. Perhaps that comes from the way we have been talking about nuclear.
That’s why it’s exciting to work with so many brilliant people at INL, who are working to ensure we have clean, reliable power for our future, and to help them find compelling new ways to talk about their work with others.
Accessible and affordable nuclear energy will help impoverished communities around the world obtain power, which in turn gives them access to clean water, food, schools. In short, I have come to see nuclear energy as a source of power that will help save the planet.
As a mother of two young daughters, Ida Mae and Hazel, I look to the future with hope that we will slow global warming by using green energy sources including nuclear. By being thoughtful about the way we power our planet today, we will give the next generations opportunities to prosper.
As I raise my daughters amid the beautiful landscapes at the base of the Teton mountain range, I foresee a world where they can thrive in a less polluted environment and where people around the globe can prosper fueled by green energy solutions. That’s why I support nuclear energy.
Emily Nichols is mother to Ida Mae, 6.5 years, and Hazel, 4.5 years. She is a Communications Specialist at Idaho National Laboratory. This article represents her opinion alone and not that of her employer.