Skip to main content

ASU Insight: Can you be an Environmentalist without embracing nuclear energy?

Can you be an Environmentalist without embracing nuclear energy?

New America, environmentalist panel discussion, Arizona State University

Panel discussion "Embracing nuclear energy" at New America

February 22, 2016

Thirty-nine years after the meltdown at Three Mile Island and almost five years post-Fukushima, nuclear power seems to be emerging from its long funk as a promising alternative to the carbon economy. Innovative new designs are changing the landscape of nuclear power and have the potential to redefine affordable, emission-free, and carbon-free clean energy. So why, is it still a hotly contested issue?

The need for “urgent and concrete action” to cut greenhouse-gas emissions is fresh in our minds post-Paris and there will never be a better time to employ new and old sustainable solutions to the threat of climate change.

Will proliferation of nuclear energy be among the solutions the world seeks or will our long memory of the fallout from first and second generation reactors prevent us from embracing the promise of clean energy that new models provide?


Steve LeVine
Washington Correspondent, Quartz
Future Tense Fellow, New America
Adjunct Professor, Center for Security Studies, Georgetown University

Aaron VanDevender
Chief Scientist and Principal, Founders Fund

Jennifer Richter
Assistant Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society and School of Social Transformation, Arizona State University

Robert Hill
Technical Director, Nuclear Energy R&D, Argonne National Laboratory

Joseph Romm  
Founding Editor,
Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
Author, Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know