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"Moving Beyond Nuclear Energy" presentation at Great Falls Public Library

Anti Nuclear
Posted at 10:11 AM, Mar 05, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-05 12:37:29-05

GREAT FALLS — Many people believe that nuclear energy is the key to clean, renewable energy for the future. However, there are some organizations who think otherwise. The Great Falls Public Library hosted members of the Montana environmental information center for their “Moving Beyond Nuclear Energy” series they have put on around the state.

“Today, we’re seeing a resurgence in the public perception of nuclear, and there’s a lot of momentum around that,” Nicholas Fitzmaurice, Energy Transition Engineer for the MEIC said, “But there’s still these underlying economic challenges.”

In the past, legal statutes have kept nuclear power out of Montana. However, these recently have been overturned. Fitzmaurice says that there could potentially be a place for nuclear energy in the future, but with the current technology and eminent climate crisis, it is not a feasible option.

“We don’t want to rule out what could be possible in the future, because there’s a lot of unknowns about the clean energy future that we just have to wait and see,” Fitzmaurice said, “But definitely not investing our time and energies into seeking that out because we see the urgency of the climate crisis and we need carbon free energy that’s not gonna impact the environment.”

Instead, the MEIC advocates for energy markets, specifically the Western Energy Imbalance Market.

“We’re able to tap into the variability of weather across a region, and trade energy where it’s available to where it can be consumed,” Fitzmaurice said, “And how that’s gonna be a really big part of having clean energy without these centralized nuclear plants.”

The idea is that different areas receive energy from wind and other clean energy sources at different rates. If the energy could be transferred wherever needed, the entire grid would be operating more efficiently in harmony.

“You can create reliability out of a variable energy resource if you know how to properly manage it,” Fitzmaurice said, “And have the ability to move that energy around to where it is and where it’s needed.”

The MEIC believes that this would be a safer and more reliable way to protect and improve Montana for future generations.