How much should nuclear power be part of New York’s clean energy future? A forum this Monday will hear arguments on both sides. Waste-water Engineer Ethan Bodnaruk has a degree in Nuclear Engineering... and would like people to keep an open mind.
“And so I’m just hoping to put out another side to the nuclear debate and show that nuclear energy is safe and can be safer and it also makes sense; both sense with an ‘s’ and sense like dollars and cents.”
Of course the opposition is well known.
Hobart and William Smith College Physics Professor Steven Penn doesn’t rule out major accidents.
“You never get around the problem that you could have a catastrophic event, such as we saw with Fukushima. Yes, the probability is low but, the damage that is done is very high.”
Penn adds there shouldn’t be any debate between Nuclear power and fossil fuels.
“Because we don’t want either of them in the equation going forward. You always have environmental degradation that happens when the fuel is mined. The mine tailings are left as a radioactive source.”
Bodnaruk knows emotions are high around the issue but, argues advances in safety and costs should help keep nuclear power in the green energy mix.
“Ten years ago people were critical of solar and wind because their prices were high and if we pursue similar avenues to make it more efficient and less expensive, we need nuclear to really meet our climate goals.”
He says support for nuclear power could even be a way to bring conservatives into the climate change movement. Bodnaruk, Penn and Jussica Azulay will take part in a forum about Nuclear Power moderated by WAER’s Chris Bolt Monday night at University Methodist Church starting at 7:00 PM.