Today, we’re celebrating our second birthday! We’ve come a long way, and it wouldn’t have been possible without our amazing Collective members. Over the past year, we increased our staff by 100%. And since our founding, we have added six full-time Collective members with expertise in policy analysis, strategic communications, environmental science, energy justice, and Indigenous people’s law.
Refresher on Our Origin Story
We were founded around the idea that nuclear energy is an indispensable tool to help our country and global community reach ambitious climate goals. Our founders, Suzy Baker, Rachel Slaybaugh, and Jessica Lovering, identified a need to build political power on the left in support of nuclear power. There had been impressive innovation for nuclear technologies, but there was an equal need for innovations on the process side—particularly around community engagement. They believed that a comprehensive social science agenda could accelerate the inclusive and equitable commercialization and adoption of advanced nuclear.
So on August 11, 2020, we embarked on a mission to make the progressive case for nuclear energy as part of a broader climate agenda. We have endeavored to achieve this through the cultivation of community support, collaboration with clean energy researchers, meaningful discourse and bridge-building with environmental justice organizations, and outreach and advocacy throughout the government. This is a tall order, and we’ve only just begun, so let’s take a look at what we’ve accomplished this past year.
Outlook for the Future & The Inflation Reduction Act
With the likely passage of the Inflation Reduction Act this week, policymakers are rightly making sure that both existing and new nuclear energy will contribute toward reducing emissions and powering communities with low-carbon energy. We’ve seen a lot of exciting developments in advanced nuclear since our founding, from the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program getting up and running to agreements between small modular reactor developer NuScale, the U.S. government, Romania, and Poland to cooperate on joint nuclear construction projects.
Then in 2021, reactor developer TerraPower selected a community with an imminent coal plant retirement in Wyoming for the site for its demonstration reactor—potentially the first U.S. reactor project that could truly reflect a just transition for a frontline community. This project underlines the importance of our work in showing how these projects can proceed justly with community interests centered.
We’re two years in, and we’re only just beginning to make the progressive case for nuclear energy.
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