When my children were young, I worked against nuclear power. I used to go to schools and show films about the horrors of nuclear weapons. In the 1980s, nuclear energy was wrapped up together with nuclear weapons. If you were against one, you had to be against the other.
At that time, my husband was installing solar panels. Solar was the great hope for the future. But even then some wondered whether solar power could scale up fast enough to make a difference. Here we are in 2016 and solar power is still about 1 percent of electricity generation.
But after seeing a lecture by Tom Blees, a leading thinker on nuclear energy and president of the Science Council for Global Initiatives, it sparked my interest. After doing some research, I discovered that nuclear energy is the only scale-able clean energy source we have.
So I decided to work at the Science Council. We support several kinds of new nuclear power including the Integral Fast Reactor and Thorcon’s molten salt reactor. My current fantasy is to see development of a nuclear-powered desalination project to keep Lake Shasta full so we can keep California’s Central Valley Water Project running year round even in the worst drought.
My research and experience has shown me that today’s technologies are more economical, clean, safe and reliable. They are not your parent’s nuclear power. Although our current plants quietly supply 20 percent of our electricity, they look like dated technologies compared with nuclear “Teslas” under development today.
It’s not just mothers and grandmothers, trusted humanitarians such as Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, leading climate scientist James Hansen, and Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) work hard to promote nuclear energy.
But the main reason I support nuclear energy is for the sake of my grandchildren. As a lifelong lover of the natural world with a degree in zoology, I seek to protect it for my grandchildren and theirs. Solar and wind have a place in meeting our clean energy needs, but the numbers don't lie. Nuclear energy is necessary.