Open to Debate Presents: It’s Time to Expand Nuclear Power with Bill Nye

23 January 2020
Just Announced

On Thursday, January 23, Bill Nye takes the Open to Debate stage to kick off the veteran debate series’ spring season. Nye, a longtime fan who publicly changed his mind about GMOs after attending the 2014 Open to Debate on the subject, will offer a nuclear power explainer to introduce the nonprofit’s live debate on the motion “It’s Time to Expand Nuclear Power.”


Proponents claim that nuclear energy is the most effective way to combat climate change while still meeting the world’s growing demand for energy. But critics argue that expanding nuclear energy is dangerous, costly, and ill-advised. Should nuclear energy fuel our future? Arguing yes will be Daniel Poneman, Deputy Secretary of Energy under President Obama, and the co-founder of Energy for Humanity, Kirsty Gogan. Arguing against them will be former chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Gregory B. Jaczko, and the president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, Arjun Makhijani.


The “It’s Time to Expand Nuclear Power” debate will mark Open to Debate debut at their new NYC home, the Florence Gould Hall, then air soon after as part of the syndicated public radio show, podcast, and video series “Open to Debate”



* Bill Nye: Scientist and CEO of the Planetary Society
Bill Nye, scientist, engineer, comedian, author, and inventor, is a man with a mission: to help foster a scientifically literate society and to help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work. After Nye attended a 2014 Open to Debate formerly known as Intelligence Squared U.S. debate on GMOs, he spent time with panelist Dr. Robert Fraley and publicly changed his mind on the topic. He is CEO of the Planetary Society, a space-interest group, and hosts the “Science Rules!” podcast. Nye is best known for hosting the children’s science show “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” “Bill Nye Saves the World,” and is the author of multiple bestselling books.


For the Motion

* Kirsty Gogan: Co-founder and Executive Director of Energy for Humanity
Kirsty Gogan is the co-founder and executive director of Energy for Humanity (EFH), an NGO focused on decarbonization and energy access. EFH led a delegation of climate scientists to defend nuclear energy at the Paris Climate Conference. A founding director of CleanTech Catalyst, Gogan has advised the UK government on nuclear power and evaluated the national response to Fukushima.

* Daniel Poneman: President and CEO of Centrus Energy
Daniel Poneman is a former government official and nuclear energy executive. Under President Obama, he was the Deputy Secretary of Energy and also served as a COO of the Department of Energy. He is now the president and CEO of Centrus Energy, a global energy company that supplies low enriched uranium for commercial nuclear power plants. He is a senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and author of the recent book “Double Jeopardy: Combating Nuclear Terror and Climate Change.”


Arguing Against the Motion

* Gregory B. Jaczko: Former Chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Gregory B. Jaczko is the former chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), where he handled the American government’s response to the Fukushima meltdown. After leaving the NRC, he wrote “Confessions of A Nuclear Regulator” and founded the wind energy company Wind Future LLC.

* Arjun Makhijani: President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research
Arjun Makhijani is the president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research and the author of “Carbon-Free and Nuclear Free: A Roadmap for US Energy Policy.” He has spent decades studying nuclear disarmament and energy efficiency. Makhijani has a Ph.D. from University of California at Berkeley, where he specialized in nuclear fusion.