On Thursday of last week, I debated Arnie Gundersen about the future of Vermont Yankee. The debate took place at the Janus Forum at University of Vermont. Here's a link to the Vermont Public Radio segment about the debate, and another link to the audio version of the debate itself, also courtesy of VPR.
I didn't expect to debate Arnie Gundersen. I expected Howard Shaffer to debate Arnie. That was the plan.
On Monday of last week, a couple of us got together in Burlington to hear Howard Shaffer run through his initial presentation for the Janus Forum debate on Thursday. We met in Burlington because Howard and I were due to be on a TV show on WCAX that evening. Also, Burlington was more convenient for some of the people.
We critiqued Howard's viewgraphs and then we asked him hostile questions. I learned a lot as we critiqued Howard. I was also very glad that Howard was going to be in the hot seat Thursday, not me.
I was wrong.
I was scheduled to give a talk at a Rotary in Burlington Thursday morning. While I was at the Rotary, my cell phone rang. Howard's wife told me that Howard was on his way to the emergency room in an ambulance, and they weren't sure what was wrong but he was in a lot of pain. Howard had asked her to call me and say that he couldn't do the debate in the afternoon, but he was sure I could take over and do a fine job.
(This is not a place for keeping my readers in suspense. Howard had emergency surgery for a life-threatening condition, and the surgery was successful. He is recovering at home at this point.)
When I heard this, I did what any self-respecting wife would do. I called my husband. George reminded and reassured me that Howard was being taken care of by great people at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. Everything that could be done would be done for him. George also said that I couldn't help Howard, but I had my own decision to make. Was I going to take Howard's part in the debate?
Okay. A couple of deep breaths here.
I decided to take part in the debate. I had my laptop with the Rotary presentation on it, and the laptop also had an early draft of Howard's slides on it (from the Monday meeting). I could spend an hour or so merging the presentations before I had to show up at the University of Vermont (UVM). Otherwise, the debate would be cancelled, and UVM people had spent a lot of time on preparation and publicity. Heck, I had done a lot of preparation, if you count half-a-day on Monday reviewing slides with Howard. So I decided to take part in the debate.
Thank You All Around
There's a lot to discuss about the debate, and I will do some of this in the days ahead. Meanwhile, I want to thank the people at the Janus Forum. They managed to hand out programs including my name and background--with only a few hours notice. I have images of those programs on this post. (As usual, double-clicking on the images will bring you to a bigger image.) I also want to thank the moderator, Emerson Lynn, for doing a fine job, and Arnie Gundersen for his well-organized presentation.
Some Links About the Debate
Once again, a link to the audio of the debate.
On Monday, Howard and I appeared on WCAX TV to talk about the debate. You can also see the video on my most recent post.
On Wednesday, Arnie Gundersen appeared on WCAX to talk about the debate.
Rod Adams of Atomic Insights blog noted that Arnie Gundersen was introduced as a person with "almost four decades of experience in the nuclear industry." (I noticed this also, and was puzzled because I knew Arnie had taught school for quite a few years. "How old is Arnie?" I wondered.) Rod did some investigation into Gundersen's resume, and discovered resume-inflation. Rod describes Gundersen's background in his blog post: Arnie Gundersen has inflated his resume, yet frequently claims that Entergy cannot be trusted.
More about the debate itself, in future posts.