By Emily Woodhull Newton, IGEL Coordinator
Join the Wharton Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL) and Nuclear Matters for a conference on The Role of Nuclear Plants in a Clean Energy Future on Wednesday, February 3, 2016 in Jon M. Huntsman Hall. The conference is IGEL’s first event of the spring semester and will feature a discussion with Evan Bayh, the former Senator and Governor of Indiana and the Co-Chair of Nuclear Matters. Senator Bayh works with Nuclear Matters to inform the public on the benefits of nuclear energy, raise awareness of the economic challenges facing nuclear energy, and collaborate with stakeholders to develop potential policy solutions to address those challenges.
At the IGEL-Nuclear Matters conference, Senator Bayh will talk about the benefits of nuclear energy and how nuclear power plants are currently the largest source of carbon-free energy in the United States. Without the use of nuclear energy from existing nuclear power sources, it would become increasingly difficult for the United States to achieve the carbon-reduction targets proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Clean Power Plan.
Senator Bayh will also provide his insight on the risks posed by the closure of nuclear energy plants due to potential market and policy challenges. He will not only elaborate on what these risks mean for the United States but also for the state of Pennsylvania, which currently has nine nuclear reactors in five locations across the state. According to the Nuclear Matters website, Pennsylvania’s nuclear energy plants supply 35% of the state’s energy, contribute $4.5 billion in economic output and support approximately 20,900 jobs.
On a global scale, the decarbonization of the world’s economy will need to include the use of nuclear energy in the renewable energy portfolio, according to recent research by top climate scientists presented at the recent 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) held in Paris. Without the use of nuclear energy, it is unlikely the world will meet the goal of containing the increase in average global temperatures within 2°C and avert the worst effects of climate change. Considering the current state of all energy generation technology, nuclear energy will have to be a central part of the discussion when planning how to implement the goals agreed to at COP 21.
To learn more the current and future role of nuclear energy sources in the United States and its benefits, join IGEL and Senator Bayh at The Role of Nuclear Plants in a Clean Energy Future on Wednesday, February 3, from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm on the 8th Floor of John M. Huntsman Hall. More information on this event can be found on IGEL’s website. Pre-registration is required and can be found on IGEL’s Eventbrite page.
 Forbes.com. (2016). Forbes Welcome. Retrieved 24 January 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2015/12/15/paris-cop21-and-the-urgent-need-for-more-nuclear-energy/#50e7fb484952
 the Guardian,. (2015). Nuclear power paves the only viable path forward on climate change. Retrieved 24 January 2016, from http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/03/nuclear-power-paves-the-only-viable-path-forward-on-climate-change