Elise Zoli: In Defense of Nuclear Power

Elise Zoli: In Defense of Nuclear Power

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

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Elise Zoli, a partner with Goodwin Procter, is a specialist in energy  and clean tech law; and teaches at MIT. I caught up with her at a Fountain Blue Green Transport Event where we discussed two hot areas in clean tech: energy storage and nuclear power. Elise explains the important role of energy storage in making solar and wind energy more reliable; and why she’d like to redefine energy storage to make it sexy. She’s coining a new phrase: “dispatchable renewable power.”

On making energy storage sexy

“Energy storage sounds like something that you don’t want to talk about, something that belongs in the closet. But the idea is to enable renewables (solar and wind) to have a greater chunk of the American demand…integrated storage flattens out the intermittency issues.”

On nuclear power

“The N word is difficult in the context of renewable …but most experts who look at climate change and energy security believe there is a significant role for nuclear. “

On nuclear waste and other impacts

“Nuclear has a favorable balance of environmental impacts. Every technology, even solar and wind, have their externalities. On balance, does it advance our climate change goals? The technology deserves to be considered.”

On the traveling wave reactor or TWR

“For the traveling wave reactor they actually consume waste as fuel. The promise of the technology is to reduce waste…The material will be managed in place as opposed to having a long term waste repository.”

This is Part Two of the interview.

To check out Part One, where Elise explores the government’s role in clean tech and the stimulus package, click here.

The interview was recorded at the FountainBlue Clean Green Transport Conference in Santa Clara on July 6, 2009.