Generation Atomic to Sierra Club: OK, boomer, time to rethink nuclear

October 1, 2021, 7:03AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Claiming 3.8 million members and supporters, the Sierra Club is one of the most influential grassroots environmental organizations in the United States. Yet, the Sierra Club says it remains “unequivocally opposed to nuclear energy,” despite the technology’s incredible ability to provide clean, safe, and reliable energy.

Sign the letter: Now another grassroots organization, Generation Atomic, is seeking to bring the Sierra Club out of the dark ages and is asking that nuclear advocates join scores of scientists and environmentalists in signing an open letter to the Sierra Club, calling on the club and its members to once again rethink their antinuclear position.

Advocating for nuclear energy as a key solution to climate change, Generation Atomic is working to change the culture and build a movement to support nuclear technology.

The letter: Already signed by such notables as James Hansen, Ken Caldeira, Richard Muller, Meredith Angwin, and James Hopf, the Generation Atomic letter notes that, in its early years, the Sierra Club supported nuclear technology.

“Early in the technology's history, the Sierra Club recognized nuclear energy’s power-dense and emission-free environmental benefits,” the letter states. “Many of the Sierra Club’s members at the time were strong advocates for the energy source. Among them were Will Siri, the club’s president at the time, and the photographer and Sierra Club board member Ansel Adams.”

Time to change: During the Cold War, as nuclear energy became conflated with nuclear war in the minds of club members, the Sierra Club reversed its pronuclear position.

“The world has changed a great deal since then,” notes the Generation Atomic letter. Posted to the group’s website in September, the letter goes on to state, “We ask now that the Sierra Club and its members embrace the possibility of change again, and reconsider your stated ‘unequivocal opposition to nuclear energy’ for the sake of humanity and the planet.”


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