Daniel Aldrich, Northeastern University

Professor Daniel Aldrich is Professor of Political Science, Public Policy and Urban Affairs and Co-Director of the Masters Program in Security and Resilience at Northeastern University. He has published four books, single-authoring Site Fights (Cornell University Press, 2008) and Building Resilience (University of Chicago Press, 2012) which won  the Japan NPO Research Association Award for Outstanding Book; both were translated into Japanese and the latter into Chinese as well.  He co-authored and co-edited the books Resilience and Recovery in Asian Disasters: Community Ties, Market Mechanisms, and Governance (Springer Publishers, 2014) and Healthy, Resilient and Sustainable Communities after Disasters (Institute of Medicine / National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming).  He has also published thirty peer reviewed articles in journals such as Social Science and Medicine, Public Administration Review, British Journal of Political Science, Natural Hazards and the Journal of Asian Studies along with 20 book chapters and OpEds in the New York Times, CNN, the Washington Post, and the Asahi Shinbun.

The Carrot or the Stick? How Do Governments Push Nuclear Power?

How do advanced industrial democracies like France, Japan, and the United States site nuclear power plants? One of the most vexing problems for governments and developers is building controversial facilities that serve the needs of many citizens but have adverse consequences for host communities. Policymakers must decide not only where to locate often unwanted projects but also what methods to use when interacting with opposition groups. In this talk Aldrich shows how planners select sites for nuclear power plants and then the tools that they use to overcome or sway local opposition to those facilities.

Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Energy Education

Arnie Gundersen is Chief Engineer for Burlington-based Fairwinds Associates and advises the nonprofit nuclear safety advocate, Fairwinds Energy Education, founded by his wife, Maggie, also a former industry insider. Gundersen has almost 45-years of nuclear power engineering experience. He holds a nuclear safety patent, was a licensed reactor operator who taught reactor physics, and served as a senior vice president for the nuclear industry. After the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown, he provided analysis for CNN, Democracy Now, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Japanese universities, the National Press Club, and members of the Diet. He has authored the Japanese best selling book, Fukushima Daiichi: Truth And The Way Forward by Shueisha Publishing.

Vermont Yankee and an Insider’s View of the Nuclear Industry

Gundersen will discuss the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station shutdown and his work for the State of Vermont in evaluating whether or not Vermont Yankee should be allowed to continue operating in the state past its 40-year designed lifespan. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin called Gundersen “the only person in the State of Vermont who’s been right on every single prediction of what might happen at Vermont Yankee.” He has consulted on nuclear energy cost and safety for the State of Vermont, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Sierra Club, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. Gundersen testified for investigations into the Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown and the San Onofre and Vermont Yankee nuclear plants. He has testified to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, state regulatory agencies, and U.S. federal court on nuclear power engineering design defects, safety flaws, decommissioning, and dismantlement.

Noriko Manabe, Temple University

Noriko Manabe is Associate Professor of Music Studies in the Boyer School of Music and Dance at Temple University, with interests in music and social movements, global popular music, and the music business. She is the author of the monograph, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Protest Music After Fukushima (Oxford University Press, 2015) and the monograph, Revolution Remixed: Intertextuality in Protest Songs (Oxford, under contract). Her publications on Japanese rap and language, hip-hop DJs, ringtones, online radio, Japanese wartime children’s songs, and Cuban music appear in Ethnomusicology, Popular Music, Asian Music, Latin American Music Review, Oxford Handbook of Children’s Musical Cultures, Oxford Handbook of Mobile Music Studies, the Cambridge Companion to Hip-Hop, and other publications. She is co-editing The Oxford Handbook of Protest Music (with Eric Drott) and Sonic Contestations of Nuclear Power (with Jessica Schwartz), and she is working on establishing a 33-1/3 Japan series for Bloomsbury Press. Her research has been funded through fellowships from NEH, Japan Foundation, SSRC/JSPS, and the Kluge Center. 

Music and the Japanese Antinuclear Movement

Although nuclear power has been a contentious issue in Japan since the 1950s, open dialogue on the issue has been difficult, even in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. Government agencies and the nuclear industry continue to push a nuclear agenda, while mainstream media, which benefits from nuclear-industry advertising, adheres to the official line that Japan needs nuclear power.

Japanese musicians face strong disincentives from participating in the antinuclear movement. While Western entertainers attract media coverage to their causes, the Japanese media has ignored, censored, attacked, and blacklisted politically engaged entertainers. Musicians invested in antinuclear activism often are parents, were outsiders as children, or come from towns affected by the nuclear industry. They also need to be able to risk taking a political stance, either by not being affiliated with a major label, or by having sufficient stature or longevity to market themselves despite lost media exposure. They fashion their performances as appropriate for cyberspace, demonstrations, festivals, and recordings. In addition to performing, musicians take on the roles of educators, publishing papers (Gotō Masafumi) and educational websites (Shing02), and mobilizers who organize antinuclear events (Sakamoto Ryūichi), run charities (Likkle Mai, Ko, and Anamizu Masahiko), and keep the movement going through hard times.

Jessica Varnum, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Jessica C. Varnum is a Senior Research Associate and Project Manager at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), and an Adjunct Professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS). She manages several projects, including all of CNS’s work for the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the extensive nonproliferation resource collections on its website. Varnum is an expert on Turkey, and she regularly lectures, writes, and contributes to both research and dialogue projects focusing on Turkish foreign policy and U.S.-NATO-Turkey relations. Varnum also specializes in the nonproliferation challenges associated with the spread of nuclear energy and other civil nuclear technologies, and her teaching at MIIS is focused on these subjects.

Exporting Nuclear Power to the Middle East

If news headlines are to be believed, the Middle East is about to transition from a region virtually devoid of civil nuclear power to one crowded with dozens of new reactors spread across more than a dozen newcomer countries. Some of this interest in nuclear power is attributable to countries’ desperate need to diversify their energy supplies beyond oil and natural gas. Other countries may only be interested in nuclear power for its perceived prestige, or as a strategic response to Iran’s extensive nuclear capabilities—a big concern for experts worried that the spread of nuclear power could lead to new countries acquiring nuclear weapons. But wanting nuclear power reactors is not the same as being able to get them. Few Middle East countries who have expressed a desire for nuclear power are capable in the near-term of seeing their ambitions through. More importantly, all will have to rely heavily on nuclear suppliers outside of the region to finance, build, regulate, and operate the completed plants (e.g., Russia, China, and South Korea). All will also rely heavily on international organizations, and countries such as the United States for help developing domestic expertise in nuclear safety, nuclear security, safeguards, and nonproliferation.

Richard Wolfson, Middlebury College

Richard Wolfson is the Benjamin F. Wissler Professor of Physics at Middlebury College, where he also teaches in the Environmental Studies Program. He is the author of a half dozen books, including Nuclear Choices: A Citizen’s Guide to Nuclear Technology and Energy, Environment, and Climate. Wolfson lectures and writes widely on energy issues. He is also known for his video courses in the Teaching Company’s Great Courses series. He was recently named a fellow of the American Physical Society for his work in educating both science students and nonscientists about energy issues.

Nuclear Power: A Future after COP 21?

For many environmentalists, nuclear energy is anathema. Yet nuclear fission is one of only two non-fossil energy sources that today is widely established for large-scale electric power generation. With a carbon footprint that’s close to zero, nuclear energy could help power a future world where carbon emissions are low enough to keep global warming below the 2°C goal affirmed at the 2015 Paris climate conference. And there are good arguments for claiming that nuclear fission is safer than burning fossil fuels. However, the severity of rare but serious nuclear accidents and with the potential for nuclear weapons proliferation give pause. So what’s the future for nuclear energy in the context of a changing climate? In this talk I argue that—whatever your views on nuclear energy—practical realities are likely to limit nuclear fission’s role in alleviating climate change.

Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs
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