On Thursday, May 19, the Department of Energy (DOE) hosted a four-hour, invitation-only summit in a meeting room in the Senate Office building. Billed as an action-oriented forum for a variety of stakeholders to discuss what they can do about the economic challenges facing nuclear power plants, it came remarkably close to living up to its promise.
This topic might seem esoteric to some, but the live webcast of the event so animated people interested in the fate of our fleet of nuclear power plants that the hashtag #ActforNuclear reached the top ten trending list by the time the session was adjourned. Nearly 2,000 tweets in the four hour period contained the hashtag.
The agenda was fast paced with talks by the Secretary of Energy, two Senators, two Congressmen, the CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the President of the Utility Workers of America, a representative from a new NGO focused on preventing the loss of clean power generation, and a Selectboard chair from a town whose local nuclear plant was shut down long before its license expired.
There were also three moderated panel discussions, one focused on actions that the industry is taking and can take in the future, one focused on actions that can be done by state and local governments, and one focused on actions that can be taken by Congress, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and independent system operators (ISO).
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