The Climate Challengers

Mothers for Nuclear aren’t quitting until we stop emitting. On episode three of The Climate Challengers, host Andrea Bain talks with the co-founders of Mothers for Nuclear, Heather Hoff and Kristin Zaitz, about nuclear’s role in fighting climate change.

Show Notes

In 2016, Kristin Zaitz and Heather Hoff had a realization: nuclear power had a PR problem. Nuclear plants around the world were at risk of premature closure due to public misperceptions, but nuclear provides a large share of the emissions-free electricity we need to transition away from fossil fuels.

On episode 3 of The Climate Challengers, host Andrea Bain hears from Kristin and Heather about their journey from nuclear skeptics to becoming two of the industry’s biggest advocates (1:06 and 4:15), why they co-founded Mothers for Nuclear (7:48), what are the biggest obstacles to changing people’s minds about nuclear (9:46), being a woman in the male-dominated nuclear power industry (14:27), how we should think about accidents like Fukushima (19:21) and the exciting new nuclear technologies under development (25:56). 

Learn more about Mothers for Nuclear at

What is The Climate Challengers?

Meet the people from Ontario and beyond who have made it their mission to combat climate change. From energy production to emerging technologies, listen in on conversations about what the path to net-zero looks like here in Canada, and abroad.

The Climate Challengers Podcast | Mothers for Nuclear | Episode 3

[00:00:04] Andrea: Welcome to another episode of The Climate Challengers. I'm Andrea Bain. And in this episode we're discussing the topic of Nuclear and the skepticism that surrounds It. Today I'll be talking with the co-founders of Mothers For Nuclear, Kristin Zaitz and Heather Hoff. Two engineers who were initially skeptics, but got hands on experience with the industry by working at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. Armed with knowledge and a dedication to protecting nature for future generations, they started Mothers For Nuclear. Their goal was to connect with other moms who had the same concerns that they did and help them understand the positives of nuclear. These connections grew and grew. And now it is a global organization with chapters here in Canada and the UK, as well as Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Welcome, Kristin and Heather.

Before we get into all the great work that you're doing now, I want to take you back and talk about a time when you were very skeptical, like a lot of people are, about nuclear energy. What changed your mind?

[00:01:06] Kristin: Well, I grew up in Northern California and not near any nuclear facility, not knowing anything about nuclear and not really having a need to know anything about nuclear. So, I just grew up kind of appreciating our wild natural outdoor spaces, land conservation. I did a lot of hiking and backpacking. And by the time I went to college, I had a group of environmentally minded friends who were also into land conservation and climate. I had a relative who was into climate advocacy since I was really young. So, he was one of the first climate advocates. So, we'd been talking about carbon emissions around the dinner table for a long time. And so, going to college and having an environmentally minded group of friends, I don't know that I was really led to reexamine my beliefs on nuclear until later in college, when I realized that there was an operating nuclear power plant in our community. And so, I asked my friends what they thought of that and no one really supported it. So I thought, okay well this is my group of people who I identify with and so I should have an opinion that's similar to theirs. So, without doing any more research, I just thought I should be against nuclear. Really, the extent of my research at that time was like The Simpsons and knowing a little bit about the Cold War era, hiding under the desk and all that that my parents had gone through. So that was my background on nuclear.

But then when I got into a public speaking class in college and we had to give a talk on a controversial issue. I decided I was going to give a talk on nuclear since I knew it was controversial. I knew we had a nuclear power plant in our community. So, I researched it and that was the first time I really did research beyond the Simpsons. And I found it to be a lot different than what I had expected what my preconceived notions were. So, in my talk, I ended up giving actually a pretty fair examination of nuclear but talking more about the controversy of different energy sources. And so, I learned a little bit more about solar, wind, hydro, and all of our different options. And I just got to seeing that there wasn't one perfect solution, like I previously thought there was. So, I gave that talk but my professor gave me a really low grade. And I was crushed because I was a super overachiever at that point in my life. And I asked him why later and he said, Oh, well, your talk was great, but I just didn't agree with you on nuclear power. And so, at that point, I was like, Oh my gosh, so this is more emotional than I had ever realized before. And at the end of college, I got an internship at Diablo Canyon, that nuclear power plant that I'd researched. So, I went out to Diablo Canyon with a lot of questions, still very skeptical. And through the years of working there and asking a lot of questions, Heather will tell you more about questioning, she did a lot of that too. But through those years, I ended up changing my mind and finding Diablo Canyon and nuclear power in general to be a great thing for our climate and a great thing for land conservation. Two issues I really cared about. So that's the long story of how I changed my mind.

[00:03:44] Andrea: Wow, that's really interesting. Well, there's a common thread. I think a lot of people when they think about nuclear energy, think about the Simpsons, which is kind of funny. But you make some really good points about when you belong to a group of people, you tend to just agree with what they do or what they think. And I love that you went out on your own and did that research. And then you become more informed. It is a little disturbing that your professor gave you a low grade. But I guess that just goes to show there's a lot of misinformation about nuclear energy. So, Heather, I want to know what was your road to-- how did you begin? What was your skepticism about nuclear energy like?

[00:04:15] Heather: Like, Kristin, I heard that there was a nuclear power plant in our community and actually went on a tour of at once and I thought it was kind of cool, because I was an engineer and there's all this big equipment and also a little scary, you know, really noisy and loud and dark and just very foreign to me. But I didn't really think about it again until I was looking for a job after college. And I had a great degree in engineering, like I said, and I couldn't find a job locally. I was working in manufacturing rectal thermometers for cows for a while and then I worked at a winery shoveling grapes. And I worked at a clothing store making $7.50 an hour and finally I was like, I need to get a real career. This is ridiculous. And maybe I'll try Diablo Canyon. I'll just see what's going on out there. And I had heard a lot of things from local groups that didn't support Diablo. So, I thought maybe I'd go check it out and see what was really going on. And if there's anything nefarious, I could expose it and share it with the public.

And so, I kind of went in with an idea like, I'm gonna be a spy and I'm gonna figure out if there's anything going on at Diablo and my family was all really nervous. My uncle's a physics professor and he helped with some of the radiation monitoring in the early days of the plant. And he's just very skeptical about radiation. And my mom told me, I don't know if I'm comfortable with you working there. And it was all just a big step for me to go out there. But as soon as I did, I got curious. And the engineering side of me, I guess, got a little excited. And I started asking lots and lots of questions. And I started as an operator and we had a lot of training at the beginning. And by Friday afternoon at 4:30, all my coworkers were like, oh my gosh, Heather, please shut up, like, we were ready to go home. It's been a long week. And I'm still asking, what about this and what about that? Yeah, so I got lots of questions answered, and eventually came to realize that nuclear is very strongly aligned with my environmental values. So that was pretty cool.

[00:06:10] Andrea: I love that the turning point for the both of you is doing your own research and finding out the information for yourself and not going by what people say, and their misinformation. So, what led you to form mothers for nuclear? Kristin, I'll start with you.

[00:06:24] Kristin: Well, like I said, so Heather, and I both had our journeys in changing our minds about nuclear. And by the time we changed our minds, I think it made a connection with our values with what nuclear provided. I think that made us strong advocates. We weren't really doing anything about it. But we felt strongly that we were doing something positive with our lives. Like, just by going to work today I'm contributing to action on climate. There's not a lot of people who can say that. It feels pretty good. So, when we learned that Diablo Canyon and other existing nuclear power plants were at threat of premature closure around the country and around the world, then that's when we started really thinking, Okay, we need to do something about this. And it was kind of daunting. It's like, what can two women with full time jobs and kids do to move the tide on this. But because of our journeys of educating ourselves, of being curious, of asking questions or changing our minds. And because we felt so strongly about those environmental values, we decided that we have to do something because the narrative out there on nuclear is not the same as what we actually found it to be, when we did the research. And I think both Heather and I thought it shouldn't be that hard for people to understand what nuclear really is. And it shouldn't be that hard for people to get the information on what our options are to take action on climate. But somehow it is still difficult. So, we just wanted to share our voices, our opinions and our stories with others so that they could examine their beliefs, do their own research, and feel free to change their minds.

[00:07:48] Heather: As we mentioned, we both took quite a while in terms of changing our minds and asking a lot of questions. And I think I felt obligated at least to share that information with other moms who don't have time to go start a career at a nuclear power plant and ask a lot of questions and read articles or put together a speech or do whatever. Like moms are busy again, we have families and we have kids and we have lunches and all this stuff going on. And lots of people don't have the capacity really to go investigate nuclear energy and make a big kind of life changing decision about whether they support it or not. And so, I hope that by sharing our stories, we can help other moms and women change their minds more quickly.

[00:08:29] Andrea: Yeah. And you make such a valid point where people are busy with their own lives and thinking about how they're going to handle their kids and work and the balance and all of that. So how do you get your message out there and connect with mothers? Heather, I'll start with you with that one.

[00:08:43] Heather: Well, we spend a lot of time on social media in bed at night while our families are sleeping, because that's the time that we have to share the message. But in addition to that, yeah, we like to tell personal stories about how we changed our mind and also find other people who have stories about how they came to accept nuclear. Maybe they always were curious about nuclear and they weren't such skeptics to begin with. But everyone seems to have a unique story. And I think that's how other people can connect with nuclear energy is through the people that work in it and feel comfortable and have investigated and believe that their values align with it.

[00:09:20] Andrea: Okay, so you both have detailed your different paths on becoming advocates for nuclear energy. And now you're putting the message out there to inform other people about how great it is. But what are the biggest roadblocks to getting people to understand the positives of nuclear energy? Because I know the both of you are intelligent, you have great stories, but I'm sure there's still a little bit of like pulling people to even listen to what you have to say. So, Kristin, what are some of the biggest roadblocks?

[00:09:46] Kristin: One of the biggest roadblocks that I experienced early in my journey was people don't often have a reason to care about nuclear. It's like we're just bombarded with headlines, with news, with all these different things that we should care about. And like Heather was mentioning, we have a lot going on in our own lives. So, the things that I pay attention to, they really have to work hard to get in front of my eyes because I have so much going on. And I think that's the big struggle is that people don't know that they should care. And so, getting the message out of these like kind of echo chambers of energy wanks which is where I found a lot of the conversation going on and getting it out a little bit more to just moms, women, normal people to share the message about nuclear and why it matters to them, because it does align with so many values that people hold with climate action and land conservation, and action on air pollution. These are issues that people who care about those issues, they're reading those headlines, they're reading those stories. But sometimes they don't know what nuclear can do in that space. The nuclear is the largest source of clean energy in the United States right now. It's one of our largest sources of clean energy around the world, depending on the country that you're in. And in some countries, it's one of the only options for them to decarbonize because they don't have natural, like hydro resources that they can just build dams and get hydro or they don't have many hours of sun every day that they can rely heavily on solar. So, people who already care about those issues, I think those are the people we're trying to reach and reach them with the nuclear story.

[00:11:12] Andrea: You can have something that's fantastic. But if the PR around it is terrible, it doesn't even matter if it's the best thing for everybody. And I think that nuclear energy is one of those things where it's like the PR has not been good. So, talk to me about the PR and what they can do better and how you guys are part of that and moving that conversation forward.

[00:11:32] Heather: Yeah, the more we talked about nuclear, the more we kind of realized the messages that we had been hearing throughout our lives and throughout our careers after we started a nuclear and not only is there a lot of like scary sounding stuff in the media, and on television and newspapers and anytime something happens is a huge deal. And the nuclear aspect is always really emphasized and scary. And in addition to that, our own companies and our own industry, I think has learned to just keep operating and not attract attention. They don't want people asking questions really, they're just gonna fly under the radar and keep doing their job really well, because we do and we have to, otherwise it does attract attention. So, they're not really good at showcasing all the amazing things about nuclear. And so, we'd love to help do that more, because nuclear really is amazing. And all the professionals who work in nuclear power plants are very highly trained and very caring people that have similar values to us and realize that the technology is amazing and can help the future.

[00:12:38] Andrea: Yeah. And why do you think that the industry has been so comfortable to fly under the radar? Why is that?

[00:12:43] Kristin: Sometimes I say the number one rule about nuclear is don't talk about nuclear. And that seems to be what the industry has done. It's like, just fly under the radar, like Heather was saying, Do your job really, really well. Don't draw any attention to yourself. And that way, people will just kind of keep us in the back of their minds. And we won't need to do any PR. But Heather and I talked about that strategy when we first started mothers for nuclear and we're just like, well, that's obviously not working. People care and they're gonna form their own opinions with the information available to them. And unfortunately, the information available to them is headlines and sensational headlines about disasters that are taken way out of context. And it's not the facts and no one was really talking about the nuclear value message, what it can do for people. So that's where we thought we could help.

[00:13:29] Andrea: Well, in my research, I found out that women are traditionally more skeptical about nuclear power. Why is that? Do you guys have an answer for that?

[00:13:39] Kristin: I'm traditionally more skeptical about everything but that's me personally. But I think a lot of moms are that way. Like, we have children-- I remember driving home from the hospital with my firstborn and thinking just like, I want to put a bubble around this car right now. Wait, why are we in a car? I should be walking. Wait, but if I walk, then a car could hit us. You're just like, all of a sudden aware of all the dangers that could hurt your family. And so, you're just naturally more skeptical. I mean, I guess I have a lot of empathy for those who are skeptical of things because I know that it takes a lot of work to change your mind and I understand that initial skepticism.

[00:14:15] Andrea: Alright, so how does the industry attract more women whether it's skilled trades or STEM or corporate roles? And do you think that could make a difference to the broader public acceptance of nuclear power? Heather, I'll throw that question to you.

[00:14:27] Heather: Yeah, definitely. It's hard to go into working at a nuclear power plant as a female, I think. And I was just thinking, as Kristin was talking about public acceptance and why females are skeptical. And I think a large part of it is because mostly what they see in the nuclear industry is older men that are talking in a certain way and communicate in a certain way, and there's not as many women out there talking about why nuclear is important. And so, for women to start to accept nuclear, I think they need to see that more and you're right. So, see that more and we need more females in the industry talking about it. So yeah, it's kind of a big circle. And I think one of the best things that we can do to help other women and girls enter the industry besides starting in STEM early and education, including in curriculums, and elementary school and younger, that's not just how nuclear power works but why it's important. I think we need more classes on climate and the carbon cycle and energy poverty and these topics that we don't really talk about in association with nuclear. And I think that would help a lot more people become interested in the technology that if they see the lifesaving power of it. And also, we could do a better job, I think, of mentoring new people who come into a site and might be feeling kind of overwhelmed with all of the huge equipment and all of the scary sounds and everything else that goes on at a power plant. It's great to have someone else kind of show you the ropes.

[00:15:57] Andrea: And Kristin, did you want to add anything to that?

[00:15:59] Kristin: No, I just agree with Heather 100%. Like, guys in suits behind a microphone telling you that nuclear is safe. I know that message didn't resonate with me and that's what I saw in public meetings. But we need diverse messengers telling the story of nuclear. And that's where women and other groups can come in. It just can't be the status quo from the 1950s that nuclear stuck with in the past, it has to change. And in order to get more broad acceptance of nuclear, we need more people in more social groups telling the story.

[00:16:30] Andrea: Absolutely. And I've been having this conversation about getting more young women and women in STEM period. And I think the reality is, if you don't see yourself, meaning if you don't see someone who looks like you in a particular field, you tend to just unconsciously think you don't belong there. Because there's no one there. It's like, oh, that's a boy’s club so I'll stay away from that. So, I think just having the both of you there as a face for the Mothers for Nuclear is so important and is really going to open the eyes to a young lady who probably has never even thought about nuclear energy, nuclear power, and just your presence is really huge and instrumental in moving that conversation forward and getting more girls attracted to it. So that's fantastic.

It's time again to get an inside look at nuclear energy with one of our OPG climate challengers. We'll be right back.

[00:17:16] Osama: Hi friends my name is Osama Baig and I'm Innovation Lead at the Center for Canadian Nuclear sustainability at Ontario Power Generation, and this is my path to net zero. So, it all started with Eco Club in grades seven and eight where I grew up passionate about environmental sustainability. When choosing to study Nuclear Engineering at Ontario Tech, I wasn't fully aware of how closely a career in this industry can be tied to an important cost like fighting climate change. But my main goal getting into the field was to help advance humanity while protecting our environment. A career in the nuclear industry over time has become a bit of an outlet for me to further develop my passions, both environmental sustainability and advancing nuclear technologies. You may not expect this from a nuclear engineer, but in my free time I regularly create video content on my YouTube channel, Osama Baig, check it out, which focuses on breaking down complex technical topics about nuclear into simple five-minute videos. It's a great way to share an important message like first of all, the fact that nuclear energy is clean energy and secondly, all clean energy resources play an important role.

But despite what some believe renewable energy sources like wind and solar simply aren't enough to rely on due to their unpredictability. The sun doesn't always shine and the wind doesn't always blow. Nuclear provides carbon free electricity 24/7 and 365 days a year. Finally, let's talk nuclear waste. Every energy source produces some sort of waste or byproducts that must be managed. But nuclear is the only one that plants and accounts for the entire lifecycle. Nuclear is extremely efficient and produces very little waste. In fact, if all an individual's personal electricity was supplied by nuclear energy, their lifetime spent fuel waste would fit inside a single can of soda. Content creation has been a really fun way for me to develop informative resources for everyday people and the nuclear industry at large. Getting people to understand what exactly we're doing and how it's helping us all reach Net Zero is super important. And I'm glad it could be a part of it.

[00:19:21] Andrea: So, in a recent New Yorker article where you were featured, you talk about Fukushima and how it made your heart sink. But then you later said it was not as catastrophic as initially thought. So, can you expand on that?

[00:19:34] Heather: That was the article about Mothers for Nuclear a little bit and how we changed our minds and yeah, that we learned a lot about Fukushima because we're in the industry and it was really scary at first when we heard what was going on over there. And for me, I was a control room operator when the event happened, and that's like my worst nightmare. Super scary of imagining what the other people are going through just right across the ocean from us, like are their coworkers okay, what's going on the plant, they didn't have indications, they couldn't tell it was going on and just very, very scary. And all the stuff coming out of the media, all the information was very scary sounding, also rumors of stuff that later we found out to not be true. But after we saw the actual outcome of those events and realized that so much of it was overblown, it really made me think a lot more about how the media portrays events and nuclear energy and how it is scary. And it's, I think, alright, for us to admit that our industry has been scaring people and the media has been scaring people. And we need to think about how to talk about it differently. Because the things that were the real tragedies and those events were the tsunami that killed 18,000 people and we evacuated people from the surrounding area, and 1500 people died as a result of that. And that was possibly unnecessary and no one died from anything that actually happened at the plant. So, yeah, it caused me to think really differently about how we do nuclear and how we prepare for events and talk about emergency planning. And there's a lot we could improve on.

[00:21:16] Andrea: Yeah, and it must be so frustrating to actually have the real information about something but then watching. We're in a 24-hour news cycle, where people are just being inundated with all of this information. And if the information that they're getting is incorrect that must be so frustrating for you guys to deal with that. So how do you deal with that? And what should people know when they see these types of stories? How do you get them to open their minds?

[00:21:39] Heather: Yeah, it's tempting to just be like, No, that's not true, like, no one died and it wasn't that bad. And as a nuclear advocate, we have to kind of step back from that response and realize-- this was talking about it's alright, to admit that it's scary and maybe show a little empathy for those people. Because yeah, like, I was scared when I first saw that too and here's where my mind went. And it's important to empathize with that response first before you kind of deny that that's the right response.

[00:22:08] Kristin: Both Heather and I got a great opportunity to go visit the Fukushima site, which I mean, even after like Heather explained all of her emotions when the event actually happened, we had a whole different set of emotions when we actually saw the site many years later. We took a bus through the area that's currently closed to the general public. And the devastation that we saw there, I couldn't help but get that scared feeling back again. The same feeling that I had when I saw images on the news. But I'm looking at everything around me and my mind is telling me rationally what I'm seeing is earthquake and tsunami damage, like car dealerships smashed and glass everywhere and large structures toppled. And all of that was left in time because they evacuated the area later. So, they didn't clean up and repair and rebuild after the earthquake and tsunami in many regions. But when I looked at that area, I was thinking that the nuclear plant had caused that. And I think that's what happened in a lot of people's minds. Even though I intellectually know that an earthquake and tsunami caused that damage, it was really easy to conflate and so I don't blame people for doing it. But I think we as a society need to get a lot better about how we communicate events, that nuclear power plants and how we react to them. Because like Heather was explaining, it was our human reaction to the events in Fukushima, not the actual nuclear emergency itself that caused the most damage.

And that was very preventable. So, in following on to that, I think, one thing that scares me and scares a lot of people about radiation is that you can't see it. So, we kind of make it into a bigger monster than it is. But one great thing about it is that it's very measurable. So, when Heather and I are on the Fukushima site, we wore devices to measure what kind of radiation we were being exposed to. And the levels were so small that one of the other people that we were with on the tour, she was sharing that the background levels of radiation where she lives were higher. And so that's something that not a lot of people know. We live on a radioactive planet, there's radiation all around us every day, it's not something to be scared of. It's something we should measure at nuclear facilities and we should manage people's exposure, but it's not something to be afraid of in the way that I think we scared a lot of people after the Fukushima accident.

[00:24:22] Andrea: Yeah, I think media plays a huge role in that misinformation and that fear that people have and then once they-- whether it's even if it's fictional, once they see that movie, once they see that show or whatever that series, they really take that in is like that is real life. So, you're almost fighting against this false narrative that they have in their head which is quite interesting. But I want to switch gears a little bit and talk about the biggest developments in nuclear energy. So, Heather, I'll start with you.

[00:24:48] Heather: In terms of new developments, there's so much going on. It's hard to even keep track. There's a lot going on in terms of policy, there's some new federal regulations being proposed that helps support both existing and advanced nuclear. And there's lots of teaser articles in the media about fusion and that’s super exciting even though it's probably still-- a ways out. And Bill Gates announced that he's going to build an advanced reactor in Wyoming. And it's really exciting that people are talking about building new plants and constructing new technologies that haven't been done before. And that can help enhance the electric grid as it is being smaller and more flexible. There are some nuclear companies that are building micro reactors that could be deployed to remote locations and help replace dirty diesel generators and bring electricity to remote communities that have a really hard time getting it otherwise, that's really cool. And yeah, there's so much to talk about in terms of nuclear innovation. It's pretty exciting.

[00:25:48] Andrea: Yeah. Which is exciting stuff. So, Kristin, how will the technologies like small nuclear reactors impact our climate goals? Because that is really important right now.

[00:25:56] Kristin: I'm really excited about the future of nuclear. And if you look at what's coming in the options with small modular reactors and micro reactors, we as a global society have an opportunity to deeply decarbonize not just our electricity sector, but other sectors as well, who can use that electricity to pull carbon emissions from places that they currently have no other option, but to use carbon emitting methods. So, transportation is the most obvious example of that, right? If we can provide more clean electricity to societies, then we can take those carbon emissions out of the transportation sector and electrify more. There are great options in agriculture and industrial sectors as well to do that. So, in terms of our climate goals, the more tools we have in our toolbox to decarbonize the better, right? So, we have like this existing fleet of larger reactors that's providing this great backbone.

And now if we can add in small modular reactors and micro reactors to replace things that we currently don't have a clean replacement for, like Heather was mentioning diesel generators, there's entire remote communities that are powered by diesel. And not only is that very dirty, harmful for their health in those communities, it's also harmful to our climate. It's also very expensive for them and it's unreliable. Like there could be events where they don't get the fuel in time and that's happened. And when you don't have reliable electricity, that's a human health and quality of life issue. Then you're losing refrigeration for your foods, you're losing security systems, you're losing heat or cooling for people, and that can impact human lives. So, I'm just really excited about the option of getting clean generation in to fill those gaps where currently people are having to rely on fossil fuel-based options.

[00:27:40] Andrea: Now you talk about your passion for land conservation. Can you explain how nuclear aligns with this core value of yours? Heather, I'll start with you.

[00:27:48] Heather: Yeah, well, when I first started working at Diablo Canyon, I still remember the very first day that I drove out to the site and it was dark. And I drove up the coast of the ocean for about seven miles on this pristine land and eventually got to the plant site and all the lights and stuff and it looks kind of scary and magical at the same time. But after working there for a while and realizing how much electricity is produced on that tiny little land footprint of the power plants. It's like 10% of California's electricity is produced just on this one tiny little piece of land, and it's surrounded by all this amazing land around it with wildlife. I often see birds of prey on the way to work and coyotes. And it's amazing that we can make so much electricity and have such little impact on the environment and wildlife around it. It just seems like such a great way to do. If we built 10 more Diablo Canyons, we could power California and that'd be pretty amazing.

[00:28:47] Andrea: And it just sounds like it makes sense. Kristin, if there's anything that you want to add to what Heather was just saying.

[00:28:53] Kristin: Oh, yeah, just for context. I mean, Heather said on a tiny land footprint. Well, what is that? It's about the size of like a sports arena or sports stadium. And we produce 10%, almost 10% of California's electricity on a land footprint that size which you could have a shopping mall on more land than that, but it's not serving our society in quite the same way. So, I just think it's such a great use of land. And the less land we can use to produce electricity for people, the more wild space and beautiful open preserved areas we can have for future generations. It's something I really value as being able to go into preserve land, whether it's a national park or some other open space and just have views that are unfettered by human impact. And I know that wildlife appreciates that too. And we should be providing more of that for our future. Just having a small footprint and nuclear can do that.

[00:29:48] Andrea: And as a person who lives in a busy downtown noisy area. I've taken the time in the last couple of months just to go to those places that are more peaceful and it's beautiful and you appreciate it. And it's so sad, we almost forget that there's this beautiful planet, a beautiful country of ours that there's so much open beautiful space that we have to make sure that we preserve. So, it's a great point.

[00:30:10] Heather: Yeah, definitely. I grew up in the desert with a lot of land and spent a lot of time running around and climbing oak trees and building forts and chasing javalinas and various stuff outside. I just want to make sure that we evaluate all the impacts of what we're doing before we decide what kind of generation to put and where to put it.

[00:30:29] Andrea: Well, the both of you had a very interesting path to where you are today when it comes to nuclear energy. So, what are your hopes for the future for nuclear and clean energy overall? Heather, I'll start with you.

[00:30:40] Heather: Well, I guess, I kind of have a clean energy dream. Sometimes people ask me what I think is the biggest barrier for nuclear, like the best argument that I can't answer. A friend once was telling me like, even if we have a lot more nuclear energy, are we going to keep using fossil fuels, aren't we going to just like keep using more and more energy and build more and more, and just like the human impacts gonna keep going up? But, I guess, I have a dream that if we can shift to clean energy to nuclear and use more energy that we start shifting people away from having to argue over resources, food production gets easier or sheltering becomes easier. Like health care, all the things that make human life better are easier with clean, plentiful, reliable energy. And so, if we can do that then there's more time for more people to innovate processes and solve problems. And I can just like see a future of compounding, innovation and progress for humanity where we have less impact on the planet, and we make everyone's lives better. And so that's my hope for the future.

[00:31:50] Andrea: And Kristin, what's your hope for the future of nuclear?

[00:31:52] Kristin: Heather just nailed it. Abundant, clean electricity for humanity and for our planet. It's that beautiful dream that she just expressed that we're able to support the progress of people improving people's lives and then also saving our natural wild spaces, having clean air for people and having a stable climate. That's the future with nuclear and the clean energy mix. We can do that for people and that's just so exciting. I mean, I'd rather talk about a future where that's possible rather than a future where we all have fewer resources, conserve, fight over those resources and then only provide good qualities of life for only the wealthiest among us. I don't think that's the future we should want. I mean, we should want to bring people out of poverty. We should want to give them all great qualities of life and preserve our planet and nuclear can do that.

[00:32:39] Andrea: That is the best note ever to end on because I couldn't agree with you more. We want to make sure that when we move forward we take everybody with us and everybody has access to food and health care and a great environment. So that was a great point to end on. But I wanted one more question for you ladies, the name of our podcast is Climate Challengers and our goal is to talk to people are having a positive impact on our planet. So, what do you guys think of us referring to you both as climate challengers?

[00:33:12] Kristin: I'm only into that if we get capes or like some sort of vest.

[00:33:20] Andrea: I love the way you-- I was thinking t shirt but I'm down for a good cape. But I like the way you think. We should you know what, I think we can start a whole line. We can get the mugs, the T shirts, the hats, the capes, the whole kitten caboodle. That's a great idea.

[00:33:37] Heather: That's a great way to talk about it too. Because I feel like that's a large part of our job with Mothers For Nuclear is challenging people to question their own assumptions. It is what we're doing right now working, can we do better? How do we do better? What's out there already, and we need to challenge people to come up with better solutions.

[00:33:56] Andrea: Yeah. Well keep on doing what you're doing. It is going to help everybody. We have to change the conversation and the thinking and the skepticism and give people real facts and information so they know better. But Kristin, Heather, thank you so much for your time and joining us on the podcast today. It's been an absolute pleasure.

[00:34:14] Heather: You're welcome, Andrea. Thanks for having us.

[00:34:16] Kristin: Yeah, thank you.

[00:34:17] Andrea: Thanks again for joining us. As always, if you're looking for more information about today's episode and our guests, Mothers For Nuclear, you can visit and join the conversation on social with #climatechallengers. The Climate Challengers is a Podium Podcast Production [].