“Facts are stubborn things,” said Jacques Besnainou, CEO of AREVA North America. Invoking John Adams’ quote, he was not referring to just any facts, but to facts about nuclear power, particularly as it applies to the U.S., at the Tuck Speaker Series of the French-American Foundation, held in New York on June 8th. And the stubbornness of his facts is likely problematic to nuclear power opponents. How do they argue against reliable, proven, non-CO2-emitting power, jobs and the long-term regional economic development that Besnainou maintains nuclear power promises the U.S.?
Proliferation? Waste? These are emotional issues rather than insurmountable technical hurdles, Besnainou believes, but he’s certainly open to engaging in the debate. Cost? A solvable political problem that he’s optimistic will be addressed by Congress.
The night’s discussion between Besnainou and Dr. Charles Ferguson, a physicist and senior fellow for science and technology at the Council on Foreign Relations, mostly centered on Besnainou’s “stubborn things,” including his conclusion: “Nuclear power,” he said, “is not the solution (to our energy challenges), but there is no solution without nuclear power.”