Who gets it?

There’s this thing that happens when you engage properly and with honest commitment on the question of winning back a safe climate for our future. Eventually, you get it. You get that without nuclear power, we can’t do it. We just cannot get emissions down to where we need them for a halfway decent chance of avoiding a climate catastrophe.

Here are some people who get it, and are doing something about it. Some are house-hold names. Some are well-known environmentalists. Some are well-known and inspiring to me, and worth telling you about.

This list started as a list of environmental “switchers” who had changed their mind about nuclear. As my journey has progressed I have been influenced by more and more amazing people who are not so easily put in the switcher box. But they matter, because we need to see the whole picture of how nuclear power fits into a pathway for a much better world.

So please enjoy my updated and newly catergorised list. No doubt it will keep growing along with the understanding of the critical role of nuclear power in the 21st Century.

The Switchers

These environmentalists have moved from opposition to vocal supporter of nuclear power technology.

 George Monbiot

George Monbiot

George Monbiot

George Monbiot is a popular columnist with The Guardian newspaper in the UK, and author of Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning. He has been a tireless campaigner for effective action on climate change and one of the strongest voices against the farce of climate change denial. Since the Fukushima nuclear event Monbiot has become a strong and compelling voice for the essential contribution of nuclear power in avoiding climate catastrophe. He was and remains one of my strongest influences.

Gwyneth Cravens

Gwyneth Cravens

Gwyneth Cravens

Gwyneth Cravens is a novelist and journalist, and a former card-carrying nuclear protester. Her tale is one that is familiar to mr exploration of nuclear power, leading to revelation at just how wrong we have been, and just how much damage we have done by blocking it. She then wrote  Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy , which has become one of the seminal texts for caring people who are needing to explore nuclear power anew. You can read a detailed interview from 2007 with Gwyneth here.

Ted Nordhaus

Ted Nordhaus

Ted Nordhaus

Ted Nordhaus is the Chairman of the Breakthrough Institute, an author, researcher, and political strategist. With Michael Shellenberger, he published the seminal essay “The Death of Environmentalism” in 2004 and the controversial and critically acclaimed Break Through, Why We Can’t Leave Saving The Planet To Environmentalists in 2007. Time Magazine named Ted a “Hero of the Environment” in 2008, and dubbed his work “prescient.” He and his co-author Michael Shellenberger only “got it” on nuclear power post the publication of Break Through.

Michael Shellenberger

Michael Shellenberger

Michael Shellenberger

Michael is president and co-founder of Breakthrough Institute. He is co-author with Ted Nordhaus of Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility. The book received the 2007 Green Book Award and a starred review from Publishers’ Weekly, which called the book “Convincing, resonant, and hopeful.”   He’s a great guy, highly pragmatic, and he and Ted share an obvious determination to leave a positive legacy.

Mark Lynas

Mark Lynas

Mark Lynas

Mark Lynas is the author of The God Species: How the Planet Can Survive the Age of Humans, one of the best environmental books I have read. He has previously written two major books on climate change – High Tide: News from a warming world (2004) and Six Degrees: Our future on a hotter planet (2007),  which won Science Book of the Year from the Royal Society in the UK. He is a frequent speaker around the world on climate change science and policy. So yep, you could say Mark Lynas cares about climate change. Here is some of what he had to say in an October 2011 interview:

 The current deployment of nuclear power worldwide of 430 reactors reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 2 billion tons per year. And that really is the beginning and the end of the argument if you’re in the slightest bit concerned about global warming.

Tom Blees

Tom Blees

Tom Blees

Tom Blees has a lot to answer for… his book Prescription for the Planet has probably done more than any other to move thinking people to the cause of nuclear power. He has opened the eyes of many to some game-changing facts: the seemingly “intractable” problem of nuclear waste is nothing of the kind, and we have all the fuel we need for the next 1,000 sitting around right now!!! When I met Tom after a debate at Adelaide University, I said to him “I just can’t help but wonder about any book that talks about a painless remedy… surely this can’t be real”. Tom shrugged his shoulders and said to me “I know! I thought the same thing. But it’s real”.  Prescription for the Planet taught me that instead of avoiding future pain we are actually fighting for a future more incredible than we can imagine. Oh yeah, he also heads the Science Council for Global Initiatives, a group of people so freaking smart I thank my stars they are the good guys.

Fred Pearce

Fred Pearce

Fred Pearce

Fred Pearce is an environment writer with The Guardian Newspaper in the UK, and author of The Last Generation: How nature will take her revenge for climate change. Another nuclear opponent of long standing, in November 2011 Fred got it in a big way, joining the growing ranks of intellectually honest and caring environmentalists for the 21st century. He published this column where he said:

I never thought I’d say this – but the future is nuclear. Or it should be…We don’t have  to pay through the nose for a low-carbon future. All we have to do is to conquer our fear of nuclear power.

Stewart Brand

Stewart Brand

Stewart Brand

Stewart Brand shames the notion that nuclear power advocacy is exclusive from environmental concern. He edited “The Whole Earth Catalogue” back in the late sixties and early 70’s, and was involved in organising the first Earth Day. This talented thinker is now a prominent pro-nuclear environmentalist with a well-known (and simply outstanding) book Whole Earth Discipline: Why dense cities, nuclear power, transgenic crops, restored wildlands and geoengineering are necessary. To think I believed was rocking the boat…

Geoff Russell

Geoff Russell

Geoff Russell

Speaking of boat rockers, how about Geoff Russell? He is a longstanding member of Animal Liberation… not exactly a renowned hot bed of pro-nuclear activism. But Geoff does not let social norms get in the way of truth. A professional mathematician and decidedly independent thinker, Geoff’s appetite for fact above norm is precisely what moved him from his anti-nuclear position and now makes him such a persuasive nuclear advocate. Geoff is better researched, better prepared, better reasoned and more morally driven than the other side. Geoff keeps delivering great articles for the Australian web media.

Stephen Tindale

I’ll let Stephen speak for himself.

The Climate and Environmental Science Experts

It was despair regarding the inadequacy of our solutions in the face of climate change that led me to re-appraise nuclear power. The opinions of these scientists ought be compelling to those entertaining a re-think on nuclear for this reason.

Dr James Lovelock

James Lovelock

James Lovelock

James Lovelock is a celebrated scientist the modern father of the Gaia principle. He and his work were embraced by environmentalism… right up to the point where he pointed out the absolute necessity of nuclear power as a response to the deepening climate crisis. He said:

“I am a Green, and I entreat my friends in the movement to drop their wrongheaded objection to nuclear energy”.

 Dr James Hansen

James Hansen

James Hansen

James Hansen is perhaps the most globally recognisable climate change scientist. He has been hugely influential, and he was a loud and early voice sounding the alarm on climate change to the US Congress in the 1980s.  He is the author of Storms of My Grandchildren. I don’t know anyone who has done more to safeguard our future than James Hansen.  He is now continuing this work as climate activist and an advocate of nuclear power to aid the immediate cessation of coal burning.

Professor Barry W Brook 

Barry Brook

Barry Brook

Barry is a friend of mine and one of the most switched on, passionate people I have ever met. He is the Director of Climate Science at Adelaide University, and Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change. Originally a conservation biologist by training, he also runs the amazing blog Brave New Climate, is on the board of the Science Council for Global Initiatives and the International Awards Committee of the Global Energy Prize. One of the world’s true polymaths, Barry is a formidable voice for nuclear power and Australia’s most prominent voice on this issue.

Professor Tom Wigley

Tom Wigley

Tom Wigley

Tom is yet another scarily good climate scientist who gets it. He’s a senior scientist in the Climate and Global Dynamics Division of the University Corporation of Atmospheric Research. He is one of the most highly cited scientists in the climate science discipline. He has served as lead author in each of the six major scientific reviews of the greenhouse problem.

All of this makes Tom one of those people I really, really pay attention to when he says “we need nuclear power to solve this problem” and “people don’t realise just how bad climate change is”.

Professor Corey Bradshaw

Corey Bradshaw (he's the one with the glasses)

Corey Bradshaw (he’s the one with the glasses)

Corey is a conservation biologist at Adelaide University and author of the outstanding and well-read blog Conservation Bytes. Corey is the embodiment of eco-pragmatism. He has no illusions about the extent of the crises we face, and he proposes solutions and approaches that will secure us the best potential outcome. He has the courage to put words to this conviction in pieces like this.  Sitting comfortably in this mix is an entirely straightforward support for nuclear power. These days, I am lucky to call Corey a mate and I look forward to continuing to learn from him.

Dr Ken Caldiera

Ken CaldieraKen is Senior Scientist, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution and one of the world’s most highly regarded climate scientists. He has been active both as a leading scientist and a public voice on climate change. He recently co-authored an open letter to the environmental movement urging them to bring their support behind the development of new nuclear power.

With the planet warming and carbon dioxide emissions rising faster than ever, we cannot afford to turn away from any technology that has the potential to displace a large fraction of our carbon emissions.

Dr Kerry Emmanuel 

Kerry EmmanuelKerry is an Atmospheric Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is best-known for his work on attribution of climate change to hurricane events. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and co-author of an open letter to the environmental movement urging them to bring their support behind the development of new nuclear power.

We ask only that energy system decisions be based on facts, and not on emotions and biases that do not apply to 21st-century nuclear technology.

The Humanitarians

Sometimes the nuclear debate can get both heated and detailed, and context can be lost. When your work and passions take you face to face with some of humanity’s biggest challenges… well, it provides a little perspective. The humanitarians in this list understand full well the importance of clean energy for development, the importance of development for making the world a better place, and the risk climate change poses to all the good things we have already achieved. For them, nuclear power is an essential part of the plan for the 21st Century.

Bill Gates

Bill Gates

Bill Gates

So since Bill Gates made mega-bucks in computers, why should I listen to him on energy? Well, since 2006 he has been full time with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest charitable institution in the world. They focus on those boring things that kill loads of people, stuff like malaria, tuberculosis, lack of vaccinations, HIV, poor agricultural output in Africa, stuff like that. They are obviously going after those things that can make the big, fundamental differences in the lives of the world’s poorest, so my ears pricked up when I heard Bill Gates say this in a cracking TED talk:

Energy and climate are extremely important to these people (the world’s poorest two billion). In fact, if you could pick just one thing to lower the price of to reduce poverty, by far you would pick energy

Professor Jeffrey Sachs

Jeffrey Sachs

Jeffrey Sachs

The End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs remains one of the most influential books I have ever read. Sachs is Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and a professor of sustainable development. He is well attuned to the role of healthy and productive eco-systems in these challenges and the critical importance of responsible environmental stewardship.

So I really hope people will listen to him on nuclear power:

We won’t meet the carbon targets if nuclear is taken off the table…Emissions per unit of energy need to fall by a factor of six. That means electrifying everything that can be electrified and then making electricity largely carbon-free. It requires renewable energy, nuclear and carbon capture and storage – these are all very big challenges.

Rachel Priztker

RachelPritzker-20111124-045Rachel Pritzker is the founder and president of the Pritzker Innovation Fund whose mission is to support an innovative, problem-solving policy approach to a range of wicked problems. Rachel currently chairs the advisory board of the Breakthrough Institute. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting this intelligent and driven lady. Her commitment to brave and innovative thinking is obvious. It was great to see this excellent piece from her on nuclear power as a progressive option. 

The Credible Hulks

Have you ever been told not to believe someone about a nuclear matter because they “work in nuclear”? But of course, if someone is really, really knowledgeable on this topic, that’s where they are going to work.

Credible hulk

Instead of weighting their contribution upward, we are referred to other “experts” with some respectable background qualification or history, who have spent years or even decades working outside the nuclear industry, in active opposition to it.

Weighting the latter group over the former would be like listening to the advice of a violinist who packed it in after a couple of years and started professionally objecting to orchestras.

To the true experts, I am grateful. When I have needed to dig deeper and understand something better, it is the likes of these people I have to thank. They are not only great professionals, they are also proud of what they do and unafraid to bring their knowledge to a vital debate. Sitting on the sidelines is not how they see their responsibility.

Professor Gerry Thomas

Gerry Thomas

Gerry Thomas

Professor Gerry Thomas is of the Imperial College, London. You can read about her here, but I will sum her CV up as “qualified to her eyeballs on radiation health impacts”. What make Prof. Thomas especially interesting is that, in her own words:

I actually was a member of the UNSCEAR committee on the Health effects of the Chernobyl accident and wrote the section on the molecular biology of thyroid cancer. I can assure you that none of us are in the pay of the nuclear industry. I was anti-nuclear until I worked on the after effects of the Chernobyl accident – now I am very pro-nuclear as I realise that we have an unwarranted fear of radiation – probably due to all the rubbish about a nuclear winter we were fed during the cold war.

You can here more from Professor Thomas in this excellent video which examines the health impacts of Chernobyl.

Rod Adams

Rod Adams

Rod Adams

As Gwy Cravens recently remarked, when you are researching nuclear power, angle after angle and issue after issue, there is a site you seem to keep coming back to. That’s Atomic Insights, and it’s the product of one Rod Adams. Atomic Insights is one of the world’s best gathering places for nuclear advocates. Rod has done as much as anyone (and more than most) to build a global nuclear community. A former Engineer Officer on a nuclear submarine, then worked for Babcock and Wilcox, furthering their development of Small Modular Reactors. He is now an independent publisher, writer, and Podcaster. He’s a big fan of professional transparency, and his updated CV is here.

 

Professor Doug Boreham

Doug Boreham

Doug Boreham

I first came across Doug Boreham as a guest speaker in Adelaide in 2011. Doug teaches at McMaster University, where he is an Associate Professor of Medical Physics and Applied Radiation. He worked for ten years as a radiation biologist at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. Doug’s specialist expertise is in the study of the biological effects of low dose radiation exposures in humans and other creatures.  Doug is an excellent speaker, a great guy and an invaluable expert voice.

Professor Wade Allison

Wade Allison

Wade Allison

When I needed to move my understanding of radiation up a few levels, the text I turned to was Radiation and Reason, by Professor Wade Allison. Wade’s book is an excellent manual for the non-specialist in understanding radiation: what it is, how it occurs, how it is perceived, how it is used, how it is measured, where and how it has caused harm. The information is clear, concise and impeccably referenced.  It is absolutely recommended reading on nuclear.Wade is a nuclear and medical physicist at the University of Oxford.

The Communicators

If we really want things to change in this space, where would be without our communicators?

Robert Stone

Robert Stone

Robert Stone

Robert is a lauded documentary film-maker with a long history in nuclear issues and environmentalism. His film “Radio Bikini” (1987) documented the nuclear testing program around Bikini Atoll and was nominated for an Academy Award. Twenty-five years later, Robert’s  soon-to-be released film, Pandora’s Promise, will be hitting screens mid-year. When I had the pleasure of meeting Robert we bonded on a key point: planning energy strategy on the assumption that we cannot change minds on nuclear power is a complete mistake. We can, and we will. In Robert’s own words:

Pandora’s Promise is without question the most personal and important film of my career.  I’ve learned that just about everything I thought I knew about energy turned out to be wrong.  And most of what I thought I knew about nuclear energy and its historical events has turned out to be precisely the opposite of what really happened.

 Read more from Robert.

Suzanne Hobbs-Baker

Suzanne-Hobbs Baker

Suzanne-Hobbs Baker

Suzanne is the brain behind Pop Atomic Studios, an organisation which uses “the power of visual and liberal arts to enrich the public discussion on atomic energy”. Suzy’s work has a fantastic pop aesthetic that helps to impart the positive truth about nuclear while retaining a fantastically independent quality. Suzy is also one of the driving forces of the Nuclear Literacy Project, “an independent resource to help the public learn more about nuclear technologies and to understand how they affect our daily lives”. The goal of NLP is to “to provide a basic context so that a non-technical person can determine fact from fiction regarding the operation of nuclear plants and enlarge his or her perspective”. Another committed  person, doing amazing things because she knows there is a better world out there for the winning. Enjoy this fantastic TEDX clip of Suzy.

 

 

47 thoughts on “Who gets it?

  1. Marion Brook

    Two more vocal supporters to think about are Bill Gates and Bob Carr. Gates needs no introduction but Bob Carr may not be so well known in SA. Carr was the NSW Labor Premier from 1988 to 2005. He obviously also gets climate change, for example, the ‘about’ page on his blog says:

    As Premier he introduced the world’s first carbon trading scheme and curbed the clearing of native vegetation as anti-greenhouse measures. He was a member of the International Task Force on Climate Change convened by Tony Blair, and was made a life member of the Wilderness Society in 2003. He has also received the World Conservation Union International Parks Merit Award for creating 350 new national parks.

    Reply
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  4. Tom Keen

    I certainly get it, but… something that really jumped out at me about this list is that it is a list full of white males. While you could argue that it shouldn’t matter, the reality is that it probably does. There is a lot of mistrust of this portion of society out there (and for some valid reasons too, in my opinion). And if I noticed this (as a white male), I’d assume a lot of other readers would have/will too.

    I don’t mean to belittle the message behind this post, because it’s important – we need nuclear power for a whole host of reasons. And obviously the list wasn’t intentionally selected in this manner. But how do we broaden the demographic?

    Reply
    1. Decarbonise SA Post author

      Tom, SO, SO TRUE!!! Help me mate, this point is far from lost on me. Studies keep showing nuclear acceptance is typically greater among men that women, but I would dearly love to add some women to this list and they must be there. Karl Lenz has also directed me to a prominent Indian gentleman, which I will follow up to internationalise it a bit. But seriously, I am all ears and need contributions one this.

      Reply
  5. Tom Keen

    Let me try again…

    I may have raised a problem Ben, but unfortunately have no real answer to it.

    Marion Brook already mentioned the two people who first came to my mind.

    Another timely article is this (the Dalai Lama!): http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2011/11/07/dalai-lama-a-role-for-nuclear-power-in-development-process/

    It’s awkward because it feels a bit like tokenising minoritised groups by selectively picking people from different demographics. Tricky all round really.

    Reply
  6. Tom Keen

    And speaking of Warren Mundine, I recommend watching this half hour event hosted by the Lowy Institute, on nuclear power (post-Fukushima): http://www.lowyinstitute.org/Publication.asp?pid=1619

    Professor Daniela Stehlik’s report on Australian attitudes towards nuclear power (referred to in this talk) is also relevant, though I don’t think WordPress is letting me post the link (hence the lost two posts of mine).

    Reply
    1. Decarbonise SA Post author

      Cheers. I am not inclined to go hugely out of my way on a full range of nationalities here given that my main target audience is (South) Australia. It’s quite typical that commentators of note in Australia are either local, or from the UK or North America, that’s really not an issue for me. The gender thing certainly jumped out at me though.

      Reply
    2. Marion Brook

      @ Tom Keen, thanks for the Lowy Institute link.

      I don’t think we need worry about tokenism with regard to Mundine and Cravens, their credentials are as good as others on this list.

      It’s interesting that, like many others in the above list, they both moved from being “emotional” nuclear power opponents (Cravens’ opposition came from her identification with the environmental movement and Mundine’s from within the land rights movement) to that of evidence based proponents. They were both seeking solutions to climate change and have both come to understand it is essential we include nuclear power in our mitigation strategy.

      Reply
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  11. Rod Adams

    Ben – I was taught that it is unseemly to blow your own horn, but one of my heros also reminds me of an ancient saying “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?” (Hillel the Elder)

    I would love to make it to your list of “credible hulks” for my work on Atomic Insights and The Atomic Show Podcast.

    I also believe that the hero who introduced me to the Hillel the Elder saying – Ted Rockwell – deserves to be at or near the top of your list. He has been sharing the truth about nuclear energy for more than 60 years. He still writes a blog, testifies to Congress and gives interviews even though he is now nearing his 90th birthday.

    Rod Adams

    Reply
    1. Decarbonise SA Post author

      Funny you ask Rod, for a couple of reasons.

      Firstly, you are the second person of seriously high calibre who has made such a request recently (as in the last couple of days). I’m deeply flattered that the list is seen as useful and worthy of this attention.

      Secondly, you have been on the list I keep in my head for sometime, but I’m playing catch up. Sachs, for example, I have followed for nearly ten years. I have also been broadening the list beyond those like me who have changed their mind (perhaps 4/5ths of the current list) to those who have been on the money all along. This has opened up a much larger field of brilliant types. Atomic Insights and now the Nuclear Literacy Project are superb efforts, more than worthy of recognition.

      As the saying goes, watch this space.

      Reply
      1. jmdesp

        Maybe you should have two sections, the switchers, and amongst those who have been on the money all along, those who have most been a significant part in the advocacy effort. And Rod really deserves being part of that second list.

        Reply
        1. Decarbonise SA Post author

          Bit like that isn’t it? But as you can read, I try to write this up to describe the unique contribution and point of view of each and yes, Rod gets the nod for “got it all along thanks very much!!!” Project for this weekend.

          Reply
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  13. PetrHolsson

    Producing a list of ‘slightly famous people who agree with me’ really doesn’t strengthen your argument. That’s another tactic employed by climate science deniers.

    Reply
    1. jmdesp

      What makes the climate science denier’s lists weak is not the fact of writing such a list, but that the people on the list are not actual climate science specialists, instead specialists in other scientific fields who are convinced their expertise in their own field allows them to understand everything about climate with only a superficial analysis.
      And also that those lists include extremely few “switchers”.

      But that’s a useful point. Someone who has preconceptions can be a great expert on field A but have a blind spot on field B because of those preconceptions. So the list is more interesting when it’s made either of switchers, who can therefore not be accused of holding the position just because of preconception, or of people whose specific expertise is exactly relevant (and is used about the specific point where it’s relevant).

      Maybe the page should be clearer about why someone appears here.
      Currently I understand the selection criteria to be :
      – Switchers, people who were against nuclear, but at some point accepted to look at the facts
      – Environmentalists who are pro nuclear, to dismiss the claim that you can’t be an environmentalist and pro-nuclear. IMO if the person is not on record for having switched, then he should be here only because he’s a really major significant figure of environmentalism. I think those here clearly pass the mark.
      – Experts who have a specific qualification to really know about the points where nuclear is frequently accused of being bad. I’ll do 2 sub-categories :
      — Independent experts. They have a indisputable high level expertise about one relevant point about nuclear, but they absolutely cannot be accused of being financially supported by it.
      Poverty experts above (Sachs, Gates) are an slightly unusual but probably nice addition in this category. They show that a number of real poverty experts think that nuclear is a very valid, probably needed tool to solve it, whilst the anti make frequent the claim that nuclear is not economically viable, and survives only through subsidies.
      — Teaching experts, who can not claim to be independent from the nuclear industry, but have made an exceptional effort of making it clear what the advantage of nuclear are, and of demonstrating very precisely, with very good documentation, why the claims against it are false.

      Then of course it becomes very tempting to do the list of those who don’t get it in the same way.

      Reply
      1. Decarbonise SA Post author

        That’s a pretty sound taxonomy of what I trying to cover actually, though I have never made an attempt to formalise it.

        The switchers are important, and they are the likes of me. Some of them listed here I beat to it, others carved a path to me and showed me someone I could respect and admire who held a different view. Most of the environmentalists listed are switchers, some (like Bradshaw to the best of my knowledge) have never been troubled by nuclear and regard it as total common sense. The switchers speak the language of the unconverted very well.

        The likes of Gates and Sachs are, I think, very important. Indisputably very clever and compassionate people, whose focus areas are about achieving great good for great numbers of people. That’s something most people respect, and to have nuclear such a straightforward component of their visions is powerful. I hope they remind some of the great privilege and benefit of reliable energy, and the fact that we need to extend this to those who do not have it. Ill-defined fears of radiation are a really rubbish excuse to stand in the way of this.

        The experts embody the adage that those who know most about climate change fear it the most, and those who know most about nuclear fear it the least. Gerry Thomas is fantastic for being so very, very expert and also being a switcher because of it! The list started with a focus on the switchers, it’s now moving through to capture experts. That matches my progression a bit, from a switched greenie to now being really, really grateful for the experts who choose to speak up and lead on this issue. Not least because they have helped me so much. Rod Adams and Wade Allison probably exemplify this for me at present. Having some relationship with the people on the list, either directly or having followed their work, obviously helps. I don’t want to be faking it to my audience when I add people here, and going for numbers instead of a good narrative.

        Thanks for the comment!

        Reply
  14. Margaret Harding

    great list, It’s been interesting to watch and learn the stories from each “Switcher.” I had one of my students ask if anyone had switched the other way. I could only name one or two. Almost always the more you know the more you understand the nuclear power is an amazing opportunity to both help the environment and to help humanity.

    Reply
  15. nuke roadie

    This is a great article full of amazing pro nuclear advocates. But let’s give a small shout out to the hand full of the minor players in this nuclear opera. There are many less funded or less known but just as passionate voices on twitter and facebook that fight the good fight everyday. A small mention amongst the bigger talents would be spectacular. Thanks. And as always GO NUCLEAR.

    Reply
  16. Marion Brook

    Do you think we can add documentary maker Michael Moore (“Bowling for Columbine” and “Sicko”) as a Switcher? I’ve been waiting for him to come around to nuclear power and the You Tube clip you posted on facebook suggests it’s happened. One to watch I’d say…

    Reply
  17. Joris van Dorp

    Great list, and I really like your writing style Ben.

    I’d like to suggest adding two more names, for what it’s worth:

    The Dalai Lama supports nuclear energy as a means to reduce poverty. Fukushima did not change his opinion on nuclear power:

    “He said that he is in support of nuclear energy for peaceful means as a way to bridge the socioeconomic gap in developing nations and in the absence of more efficient alternative energy sources.

    “There are still many developing countries with a huge gap between rich and poor … millions of people’s live remain under the poverty level.”
    He added that energy sources like wind and solar are too inefficient to put into realistic practice to meet the needs of developing nations.”

    http://theenergycollective.com/dan-yurman/68783/dalai-lama-and-nuclear-energy

    And the Holy See supports nuclear energy as well:
    “The Holy See, fully approving the goals of this Organization [The IAEA], is a member of it since its founding and continues to support its activity. The epochal changes that have occurred in the last 50 years demonstrate how, in the difficult crossroads in which humanity finds itself, the commitment to encourage non-proliferation of nuclear arms, to promote a progressive and agreed upon nuclear disarmament and to support the use of peaceful and safe nuclear technology for authentic development, respecting the environment and ever mindful of the most disadvantaged populations, is always more present and urgent. I therefore hope that the efforts of those who work with determination to bring about these three objectives may be achieved, with the goal that “[t]he resources which would be saved could then be employed in projects of development capable of benefiting all their people, especially the poor”

    http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/statements/misc/2007/benedict29072007.html

    Reply
    1. Joris van Dorp

      I’ve also checked more recent Holy See statements to the IAEA since Fukushima, and while the Holy See predictably notes the need for continued great(er) focus on safety since Fukshima, its support for peaceful nuclear power remains intact.

      Reply
  18. Dr. John Miller

    None of these people is an expert at nuclear power. None has ever qualified to operate a nuke plant. None has the standing to say that nuclear is safe. I qualified to lead the operating teams on two different nuclear power plants on US Navy submarines. The preponderance of the evidence says nuclear plants are fatally unsafe, unclean and too expensive.

    Reply
  19. Decarbonise SA Post author

    “I qualified to lead the operating teams on two different nuclear power plants on US Navy submarines. The preponderance of the evidence says nuclear plants are fatally unsafe, unclean ”

    Good grief doctor, however did you make it out alive???

    Are you seriously making a contention that if I featured comments from qualified, working operators of nuclear power plants that I would find myself building a case AGAINST nuclear power?

    Somehow, I doubt it.

    Thanks for mentioning your exciting career in the US Navy. To recap:
    – B.A in Social Relations from Harvard 1968
    – 2 years service as a junior officer on a nuclear sub with the minimum required qualification of Engineering Officer of the Watch 1970-1972
    – PhD in Social Psychology University of Michigan 1981.

    I wonder… how many of the 70+ reactors currently under construction will be operated by career social psychologists who spent a few years in the Navy? I’m thinking none.

    Yet you have the temerity to disparage the points of view of those listed on this page.

    If you had any pride left, you would be ashamed of yourself.

    http://atomicinsights.com/john-dudley-miller-nuclear-engineering-officer-us-navy/

    Reply
  20. Rod Adams (@Atomicrod)

    @Dr. John Miller

    You wrote: “None has ever qualified to operate a nuke plant.”

    That is a bold and incorrect statement. While I never operated a commercial nuclear plant, I will put my Navy experience and qualifications up against yours any day. Tell us again how you did on your Engineer’s exam? How long did you serve in the Engineering Department? How many EOOWs did you train and qualify?

    Rod Adams
    Publisher, Atomic Insights
    CDR, USN (ret) former Engineer Officer, USS Von Steuben SSBN 632 (GOLD) Oct 1987-Dec 1990.

    Reply
  21. Jan

    Some well known supporters in Germany (yes, they do exist): Helmut Schmidt (former Chancellor), Carl Christian von Weizsäcker (economist) and Hans Werner Sinn (economist).

    Reply
  22. Jon Symons

    Fascinating list Ben. I’m not sure whether she fits here, but I thought I’d mention the name of Christine Loh, Hong Kong’s current Undersecretary for the Environment. Before she accepted an appointment under the current administration, Loh was famous for winning the right for women to inherit land in HK’s new territories, and for establishing HK’s leading environmental think-tank “Civic Exchange.” Although she’s never been a loud public advocate of nuclear energy, her deep commitment to cleaning Hong Kong’s air and reducing GHG emissions means that she is skillfully steering electricity sector reforms that will probably result in HK purchasing 50% of its electricity from Chinese nuclear power stations, and supplying another 40% from gas (domestically). Her campaign to clean Hong Kong’s air rightfully wins much more attention, but she has long been a strong campaigner for environmental pragmatism. In debates with HK’s vociferously anti-nuclear environmental NGOs (WWF) she has always argued that the choice is not whether there are nuclear power stations near Hong Kong, but whether Hong Kong companies play a role in their management.

    The role that CLP is playing in China’s nuclear roll-out, and in educating the public (and school children) about the benefits of nuclear energy is also fascinating. Their nuclear resources centre has a more than a dash of 1950s optimism for a nuclear future

    http://fortune.com/2013/04/08/why-china-is-doubling-down-on-nuclear-power/

    https://www.clp.com.hk/ourvalues/social/community/visittoclp/understandingnuclear/Pages/nuclearresourcescentre.aspx

    Reply

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