Gwyneth Cravens initially had an anti-nuclear posture, but then investigated the views of scientists.
In the early 1980s Gwyneth Cravens was one of the protesters against the Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant on Long Island, and also participated in ban-the-bomb rallies. After 15 years of deepening familiarity with nuclear power, she says she still would ban the bomb, but she now regrets that the Shoreham reactor was shut down.
Who changed her mind was a nuclear expert at Sandia Labs in Albuquerque, D. Richard Anderson, known as “Rip.” “Here was someone who thinks in thousands of years, about climate, about nuclear waste storage,” she said. “He applies to nuclear issues the same probabilistic risk assessment that helps us understand what we’re facing with climate change.”
One concept that altered Cravens’ perspective was realizing what “baseload” requires. Rip Anderson, on the stage with her, explained that baseload is the fundamental currency of grid power. It is massive power constantly available 24/7. It comes from only three sources— fossil fuels, hydro-electric dams, and nuclear. Hydro is maxed out. Fossil fuels have to be cut back to slow global warming. That leaves only nuclear growth to handle the expected doubling of energy demand in the world by 2030.