Nuclear Power - Carbon-free Energy for the Future or Still Just a Bad Idea?

Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 12/07/2009

A couple months ago, Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein leaped at the opportunity to interview Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Catalog creator and innovative futurist. But Stewart has changed his views on some key things since the heady days of the late 1960s and early 70s, when his ideas and projects inspired a huge counter-cultural movement. His primary concern now is curbing climate change and he believes that to achieve the goal of drastically reducing our carbon emissions we must embrace technologies that he (and most of the environmental movement) once eschewed - like nuclear power. His most recent book is called Whole Earth Discipline, in which he champions geo-engineering, bio-engineering, urban shanty towns and nuclear power, as well as restoring the earth's natural systems, as the only ways to curb our carbon footprint.

On this episode of Locus Focus we hear the interview that Barbara conducted with Stewart Brand on October 27, 2009, followed by a live interview with Arjun Makhijani, President, Institute for Energy & Environmental Research, and an opponent of the "nuclear renaissance."

Arjun Makhijani is President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Takoma Park, Maryland. He earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley in 1972, specializing in nuclear fusion. A recognized authority on energy issues, Dr. Makhijani is the author and co-author of numerous reports and books on energy and environment related issues. He was the principal author of the first study of the energy efficiency potential of the US economy published in 1971. He is the author of Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy (2007).

In 1989 he received The John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism of the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, with Robert Alvarez; was awarded the Josephine Butler Nuclear Free Future Award in 2001 and the Jane Bagley Lehman Award of the Tides Foundation in 2008; and was named a Ploughshares Hero, by the Ploughshares Fund (2006). In 2007, he was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He has many published articles in journals such as The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and The Progressive, as well as in newspapers, including the Washington Post.

Stewart Brand is the president of The Long Now Foundation. Brand is well known for founding, editing and publishing the Whole Earth Catalog (1968-85), which received a National Book Award for the 1972 issue. In 1984, he founded The WELL (Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link), a computer teleconference system for the San Francisco Bay Area. It now has 11,000 active users worldwide and is considered a bellwether of the genre. He is a co-founder and managing director of Global Business Network, a scenario strategy consulting business and part of the Monitor Group, where he works with leading companies and public institutions on their futures.

Brand is the author of many pioneering books including The Clock Of The Long Now in 1999, How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built in 1994 and The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at MIT in 1987.


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