Thursday, May 18, 2006

"Unsung Heros of the Environment" in SF Today

The Nuclear Energy Institute sponsored their "Assembly" meeting in San Francisco this week, and I was fortunate enough to visit for a day. As I strolled around, the most noticeable thing was how friendly people were. The nuclear business has not been very popular for many years, so the people in it must by definition like what they are doing, and they tend to treat each other with great courtesy and cheer.

This meeting had an amazing attendance...several governors, ex-governors, CEOs of major firms, and US government officials. President Bush made a speech, by video. Environmentalists Patrick Moore and Steward Brand were there, as always speaking the unassailable logic of nuclear power as the best hope for planet earth.

Then, among all these big players, there were a number young college students and new hires. They had a seperate meeting the day before and some stayed around to watch. What was so impressive was that, mingling among the VIPs, the college students were accepted, welcomed, and encouraged. Where else is there a multi-billion dollar heavy industry in which high-level meetings are so open to new faces?

An optimistic day. These are people who have been steadily working, day in, day out, under adverse conditions, delivering gigawatts of ultra-clean electricity to their neighbors. Now those neighbors are just beginning to recognize the effort, and be thankful.

People in the nuclear industry are the unsung heros of the environment. While others have talked (and talked) about saving the earth, the people of the nuclear industry have been doing it, in a big, practical way, which is a lot more useful than just talking.


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