Nuclear energy’s role in addressing climate change

Economic Club Member Daniel Poneman, Author of Double Jeopardy: Combating Nuclear Terror and Climate Change and CEO of Centrus Energy, joined Economic Club Member Chris Caine, President and CEO of Mercator XXI, LLC, for a conversation over nuclear energy’s role in addressing climate change. Poneman discussed the industry’s future, stating that nuclear fission is critical to decarbonizing the energy sector. According to Poneman, without nuclear energy, tackling climate change is like “trying to climb Mount Everest with one arm tied behind your back.” On the economics of climate change, Poneman believes that pricing carbon and making sure the business community is involved and engaged with governments is critical to reducing carbon emissions. However, he noted that with the closure of nuclear energy plants, such as Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, the United States is losing ground in the production of carbon-free electricity. “With the amount of uranium that’s the size of your thumb, you get many multiples of carbon-free electricity compared to any alternative. If you want to max out on carbon-free, you want nuclear.”