“Charles Komanoff was for decades an expert witness for groups working against nuclear plants, delivering blistering critiques so effective that he earned a spot at the podium when tens of thousands of protesters descended on Washington in 1979 over the Three Mile Island meltdown.
“Komanoff would go on to become an unrelenting adversary of Diablo Canyon, the hulking 37-year-old nuclear facility perched on a pristine stretch of California’s Central Coast that had been the focal point of anti-nuclear activism in America. But his last letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, in February, was one Komanoff never expected to write. He implored Newsom to scrap state plans to close the coastal plant.
“‘We’re going to have to give up some of our long-held beliefs if we are going to deal with climate,’ Komanoff said in an interview. ‘I am still a solar and wind optimist. But I am a climate pessimist. The climate is losing.’
Biden administration launches $6 billion nuclear plant bailout
“Komanoff’s conversion is emblematic of the rapidly shifting politics of nuclear energy. The long controversial power source is gaining backers amid worries that shutting U.S. plants, which emit almost no emissions, makes little sense as governments race to end their dependence on fossil fuels and the war in Ukraine heightens worries about energy security and costs. The momentum is driven in large part by longtime nuclear skeptics who remain unsettled by the technology but are now pushing to keep existing reactors running as they face increasingly alarming news about the climate.”