Skip to main content

What to Say and Who to Say It: A Lesson for Nuclear Advocates in Ohio

akronbj If you want to see where nuclear advocacy can get you, check out this editorial in the Akron (Ohio) Beacon-Journal:

Nuclear power accounts for 14 percent of the electricity used in the state. Lose, say, Davis-Besse, and the task of curbing carbon emissions becomes much harder. The situation differs little for the country, with carbon-free nuclear supplying 20 percent of electricity.

Ideally, the country would be adding further to its nuclear capacity, something that would become more financially feasible under a carbon tax. Yet even if nuclear is relatively expensive its use promises to be less costly than accelerating climate change. A carbon tax would enhance the competitiveness of wind, solar and other alternative energy sources, too. What distinguishes nuclear power is its capacity, running all day and night. It proved key when the polar vortex arrived last winter and other power sources faltered.

Less costly, polar vortex, carbon-free – why, did I write this editorial?

Well, no, but the editorial board is quite upfront as to how it came to these conclusions:

The country needs a strong fleet of nuclear power plants —for reliability and to address the carbon emissions fueling climate change. Thus, it was encouraging to see Carol Browner and Judd Gregg visiting Ohio last week, making the case for keeping open the 10 or so nuclear power plants in the country viewed as most vulnerable to closing.

The former EPA director under President Clinton and former U.S. senator from New Hampshire were part of a forum at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant near Toledo. They represent Nuclear Matters, an organization that argues, in effect: Let the nuclear industry shrink, and Americans will come to regret it. This isn’t just some nuclear “front group,” as critics contend. Browner, especially, shouldn’t have to prove that she is “green” enough.

“Let the nuclear industry shrink, and Americans will come to regret it.” - the U.S. without nuclear, as Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)talked about last week (see posts below for more on that excitement).

Nuclear Matters is obviously very much in favor of nuclear energy, but there are lots of groups that tout one thing or another and a fair few of them should be, at best, shown the door if they try to cross the threshold. Why does this group carry credibility?

Because of the people involved in it. Browner is frank that she came around on nuclear energy as an energy source after being (more-or-less) opposed to its use. Others represent a cross-section of political views – notably the co-chairs, former Senators Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and Evan Bayh (D-Ind.). The membership represents interests not specifically nuclear-oriented: Edwin  Hill, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Sean McGarvey, president of the North America's Building Trades Unions cover the unions (read: workforce); and Spencer Abraham, former Energy Secretary  (under President George W. Bush), and Bill Daley, former Commerce Secretary (under Bill Clinton, to keep the bipartisan theme going), have the federal executive branch experience. If you had a judge in there, you’d have the three branches of government represented.

The bottom line is: if you have a compelling message and if you have highly credible messengers, then you run the risk of getting listened to. It’s a lesson a lot of advocacy groups could learn.

Read the whole editorial – it’s a pip and very germane to Ohio’s specific situation.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…

Nuclear Is a Long-Term Investment for Ohio that Will Pay Big

With 50 different state legislative calendars, more than half of them adjourn by June, and those still in session throughout the year usually take a recess in the summer. So springtime is prime time for state legislative activity. In the next few weeks, legislatures are hosting hearings and calling for votes on bills that have been battered back and forth in the capital halls.

On Tuesday, The Ohio Public Utilities Committee hosted its third round of hearings on the Zero Emissions Nuclear Resources Program, House Bill 178, and NEI’s Maria Korsnick testified before a jam-packed room of legislators.


Washingtonians parachuting into state debates can be a tricky platform, but in this case, Maria’s remarks provided national perspective that put the Ohio conundrum into context. At the heart of this debate is the impact nuclear plants have on local jobs and the local economy, and that nuclear assets should be viewed as “long-term investments” for the state. Of course, clean air and electrons …