Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Show Up for Nuclear in Chattanooga

ANS members at MOX hearing
Tennessee Activism

In two recent blog posts, I wrote about the students and ANS members who Showed Up for Nuclear at the recent NRC meeting about MOX fuel in Chattanooga.  My posts were:

MOX and Hearings in Chattanooga
Meeting Success Story in Chattanooga

However, there was one thing wrong with my posts. I wasn't there. I was following the action from Vermont.

The view from Chattanooga

Steve Skutnik was in Chattanooga, and he was one of the people who organized some of the ANS student attendance.  He has a great blog post about it at Neutron Economy  Mixing it up over MOX--A wrapup from Chattanooga. 

Showing up worked in Tennessee.

Let's start with what didn't happen: the "nuclear zombies" didn't show up.  These zombies are people who come to meetings in Tennessee in costumes doused with fake blood.  They weren't there, and the meeting wasn't filled with street theater.

What did happen: people at the meeting got a chance to talk, and people were polite to each other.  Some productive conversations even  took place afterwards in a local restaurant. The whole thing sounded quite civilized. I have to admit, however, that Steve noted: A particularly interesting facet of the meeting was in how one could readily identify MOX opponents before they even got to their arguments - solely by their tone of voice. In nearly every case, opponents would grow progressively louder as they spoke.

What worked: I think that the reason things went so well is that so many pro-nuclear people showed up.  In many meetings around here, the opponents completely outnumber the supporters, and the opponents are emboldened by their numbers.  Loud voices and street theater often dominate a meeting when nuclear opponents hold a strong majority.

IMHO, when representation is more even, meetings are more polite.

In other words, Just Show Up for nuclear.

The Skutnik Post

I like Skutnik's post for three reasons:

  1. It's the story of a successful event, and it is vivid enough so I feel as if I had been there.
  2. I learned a lot about MOX in his post.
  3. Skutnik calls me and Howard Shaffer the patron saints of nuclear activism. Nobody has ever called me a saint before... 

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