University of Vermont

University Communications

Nuclear Power the Subject of UVM Janus Forum Debate

Release Date: 01-27-2010

Author: Amanda Kenyon Waite
Phone: 802/656-8381 Fax: (802) 656-3203

The recent leak of radioactive tritium from Vermont Yankee, the state's nuclear power plant, has some legislators and citizens questioning whether relicensing of the facility should be granted. As that discussion plays out around the state, two experts will come to the University of Vermont campus to debate the larger issue: whether nuclear energy should be used at all.

The event, titled "Nuclear Power: Promise or Peril," will take place Monday, Feb 8 at 4 p.m. in the Davis Center's Grand Maple Ballroom.

Arguing in favor of increased use of nuclear power is William Tucker, author of Terrestrial Energy: How Nuclear Power Will Lead the Green Revolution and End America's Energy Odyssey. The book makes the case that nuclear power is the only technology that can head off global warming by cutting carbon emissions. A celebrated journalist, Tucker's work has appeared in Harper's, Atlantic Monthly, National Review, Reader's Digest, and the Wall Street Journal, among other publications. His articles have won the John Hancock Award, the Gerald Loeb Award, the Amos Tuck Award, and he was a finalist for the National Magazine Award.

Arguing against continued use of nuclear power is Tyson Theron Slocum. Tyson joined Public Citizen in 2000 and is currently director of the group's Energy Program. An expert on federal subsidies for the energy sector, Slocum has testified before the U.S. Congress, promoting the refocusing of such incentives away from nuclear, oil and coal industries towards efficient, renewable energy and mass transit. He was appointed to serve on the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission's newly created Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee and appears regularly in radio, print and television media, including several times as a guest on "The Colbert Report."

The event is the fourth Janus Forum, a debate series founded by James Gatti, a finance professor in UVM's School of Business Administration; Arthur Woolf, an economics professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Richard Vanden Bergh, also of the School of Business Administration.

"The goal of the debate series is to examine the important and controversial policy issues of the day and to challenge individuals to reexamine their views in the light of well articulated contrary positions," Gatti said. "People who have a strongly held position on an issue sometimes dismiss opposing points of view out of hand. We want to expose the audience to vigorous arguments on both sides of the debate."

The forum is free and open to the public, and a reception will immediately follow. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should call Conference and Events as soon as possible at (820) 656-5665. Parking is available at the Jeffords Hall lot to the east of the Davis Center circle or at the Gutterson Field House parking garage.

Information: (802) 656-3186.


Listen to an audio recording of the debate.