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City Club of Eugene: Should Nuclear Be Part of The New Energy Future?

City Club of Eugene
A slide showing the history of nuclear power in Oregon is shown during the City Club of Eugene's Feb. 4, 2022 program.

Program date: Feb. 4, 2022
Air date: Feb. 7, 2022

From the City Club of Eugene:
As symptoms of climate change accelerate, providing Oregonians with carbon-free energy has become a priority for the Oregon Department of Energy. In parallel, Oregonians’ awareness of green energy options has been seeded with an increase in publicity about developments in nuclear energy, specifically small nuclear reactors. Does Oregon need nuclear energy’s promise of base load power? What would it look like if a nuclear generating station were built in Oregon? Is nuclear energy our only hope to decrease Oregon’s carbon footprint?

Join us for a discussion about Oregon’s current energy sources, the energy mix shared by the West coast, and the options available to us as we try to balance the promise of future technology with the realities of technologies available today.


Janine Benner is the Director of the Oregon Department of Energy, where she provides leadership and policy guidance to 70+ employees and oversees an $85 million budget. Janine joined ODOE in 2017 and was confirmed by the Oregon Senate as ODOE’s director in February 2018. Janine came to ODOE from the U.S. Department of Energy, where she served in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs. For 12 years she worked for Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), as Energy and Environmental Policy Advisor, Legislative Director, and Deputy Chief of Staff.

Maury Galbraith is the Executive Director of the Western Interstate Energy Board (WIEB). He manages the efforts of WIEB to facilitate cooperation among western U.S. states and Canadian provinces to improve the efficiency of the western electric power system. He also manages the work of the Western Interconnection Regional Advisory Body (WIRAB), which provides advice to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to improve the reliability of the western grid. Prior to joining WIEB, Mr. Galbraith was the Administrator of the Energy Division at the Oregon Public Utility Commission and a Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. Previously he worked as a Resource Analyst with the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.

Amory Lovins, physicist and former Oxford don, is Adjunct Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University and has taught at nine others. He cofounded Rocky Mountain Institute in 1982, later led and chaired it, and in 2019 shifted from Chief Scientist to an independent collaborator. He has advised major firms and governments in more than 70 countries for 45 years and written 31 books and 800 papers. An integrative designer of superefficient buildings, factories, and vehicles, he is an honorary US architect, a Swedish engineering academician, and recipient of12 honorary doctorates and many of the world’s top energy and environmental awards. He served for seven years on the U.S. National Petroleum Council, has advised more than 100 electric utilities, and has studied nuclear energy for 59 years, emphasizing economics and nonproliferation. His main recent efforts include supporting RMI’s collaborative synthesis of an ambitious efficiency-and-renewables trajectory that strongly informed China’s 13th Five Year Plan; helping the Government of India transform mobility to be shared, connected, and electric; and exploring how to make integrative design a core strategy in radically improving energy efficiency. Time named him one of the world’s 100 most influential people, and Foreign Policy, one of the 100 top global thinkers.

M.V. Ramana is the Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security and Director of the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of The Power of Promise: Examining Nuclear Energy in India (Penguin Books, 2012) and co-editor of Prisoners of the Nuclear Dream (Orient Longman, 2003). Ramana is a member of the International Panel on Fissile Materials, the Canadian Pugwash Group, the International Nuclear Risk Assessment Group, and the team that produces the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Leo Szilard Award from the American Physical Society.

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