Keynote Conversation (10:41)
Scientist and CEO of the Planetary Society Bill Nye recalls attending a previous Intelligence Squared debate and further investigating GMOs. He discusses the emotional process of changing his perspective, judging the quality of an argument, and his career.
Keynote Conversation: Nuclear Energy (11:12)
Nye explains how nuclear power works and the dangers of nuclear waste. He discusses meeting Glenn Seaborg, plutonium, and sieverts.
Debate "Housekeeping" (03:24)
Moderator John Donvan frames the debate on expanding nuclear power and introduces panel members.
For the Motion: Daniel Poneman (05:23)
Former Deputy Secretary of Energy, Poneman cites efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Electricity consumption will increase 100% by 2050; expanding nuclear power will significantly reduce carbon emissions. Commercial nuclear power does not spread nuclear weapons.
Against the Motion: Arjun Makhijani (05:34)
Institute for Energy and Environmental Research President, Makhijani states there is no shortage of low CO2 energy sources. Time and cost makes nuclear energy a nonviable option; renewable energy sources are cheaper.
For the Motion: Kirsty Gogan (05:58)
Energy for Humanity Co-founder & Executive Director, Gogan states that half of carbon emissions currently in the atmosphere have been emitted in the last 30 years. Half of the world's population does not have access to modern electricity and nuclear energy is the safest form of generation.
Against the Motion: Gregory Jaczko (05:52)
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Former Chairman, Jaczko states that significant carbon footprint reductions must occur by 2030; building a nuclear power plant takes 10-20 years and is expensive. Renewables are the fastest and safest source of clean energy.
Impracticality of Nuclear Power Plants (09:01)
Donvan summarizes opening statements. The proponents argue that nuclear energy is the fastest way to produce clean electricity. The opponents counter with arguments of mismanagement and Wall Street reluctance to finance.
Low Carbon Technology Costs (02:59)
Gogan considers driving down costs and increasing rates of deployment; Jaczko argues that attempts have not worked. Korea, Russia, and China are building reactors.
Nuclear Safety (02:22)
Jaczko states that choice is not necessary; the nuclear industry uses climate change as a tool for revival. Poneman counters that renewables require compensation after 30%m production.
Backup Energy System (06:56)
Makhijani cites renewable statistics and the need for a smart grid. Gogan argues that a large amount of fossil fuel remains on the system and discusses high risk. The market does not support nuclear power.
QA: Nuclear Power and Healthcare (02:22)
Makhijani states that nuclear power reactors do not produce the nuclear isotopes for medicine.
QA: Target Date 2050 (07:00)
Poneman discusses the cost of low carbon energy production. Makhijani states that solar, wind, smart grids, and storage provide resilience. Climate mitigation strategies cannot be based on behavioral changes.
QA: Nuclear Industry Fallibility (06:19)
Poneman argues that the industry absorbs all costs and contains waste. Makhijani counters claims of containment. Jaczko states that increasing nuclear reactors will increase accident frequency.
QA: Cheap Nuclear Energy (01:47)
The new generation will build standardized reactors. Jaczko argues that those claims have been made for 20 years.
Closing Statement For: Poneman (02:35)
Poneman questions ignoring the most prodigious source of clean energy during a time of existential threat. We must try everything to address climate change.
Closing Statement Against: Makhijani (02:18)
Nuclear energy is not an efficient source of clean energy. Makhijani explains how the idea that it could be cheaply produced was generated.
Closing Statement For: Gogan (02:19)
The majority of nuclear power plants under construction today are cost competitive. The increase of renewables is not effectively reducing carbon emissions.
Closing Statement Against: Jaczko (02:39)
Renewables are the solution to solving the climate crisis; nuclear energy cannot provide what we need.
Time to Vote (04:45)
Donvan instructs the audience to vote and thanks panelists for their participation. Panelists reflect on the other side's argument and their personal perspectives.
Audience Vote Results (00:53)
Pre-debate For: 49% - Against: 21% - Undecided: 30% Post-debate For: 47% - Against: 42% - Undecided: 11%
Credits: It’s Time to Expand Nuclear Power: A Debate (00:05)
Credits: It’s Time to Expand Nuclear Power: A Debate
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