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Old Nuclear, New Ideas

Bret Kugelmass

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Bret Kugelmass  0:00  

Okay, so who is introducing who? Which podcasts? Are we on Chris?


Chris Keefer  0:04  

Oh, boy. Oh boy. I mean, I guess we're gonna do a cross release here. Is that the plan?


Bret Kugelmass  0:08  

I think between the three of us we've got like, you know, five podcasts, YouTube channels, so it'll it'll merge.


Chris Keefer  0:15  

Welcome to the titans of decoupling


Bret Kugelmass  0:19  

yes or no? Yeah. Energy decoupling impact Titans.


Chris Keefer  0:26  

Some combination some combination.


Bret Kugelmass  0:29  

Okay, well, no, I'm, I'm super excited to get chance to to. I mean, we chat all the time. But it's great. Great to record something again, especially with all your progress. I mean, I've just been watching in amazement. I mean, I always like I just had so much admiration for what you've done with your first your podcast and your Decouple studios. But now just to see this, like political action that you've taken all so I'm just like, sitting back watching in awe. So yeah, can we to hear can't wait to hear all about it.


Chris Keefer  0:55  

Yeah, I mean, likewise, I've been dying to get you back on your Anthropology of, of nuclear was a very popular episode. And you definitely have the heterodox ideas that I think are needed to break through some of the how do we put it, I mean, there's just there's so much conservatism in the nuclear world, the communications I find are just so tightly cloistered the idea of having an open debate and sharing some exciting ideas, I think feels like the equivalent of a reactor meltdown to people within this sector. So I think it's great having you know, I pretty much consider myself an outsider, I know that you're also like a developer now. So but we've definitely kind of come to this from from an outsider perspective, and, and both run these podcasts and talk to, you know, just it's hard to keep track of everybody, but they've all sort of left their their little imprint on us and influenced our thinking. And that's been I think, really good because coming as outsiders, we've been able to incorporate a lot of a lot of different ideas, rather than being sort of sub specialized in a certain field or with a lens of you know, we'll only be able to see things in one light. So for sure,


Bret Kugelmass  1:59  

no, it's actually funny hearing you call me heterodox when, like my main ideas, let's just build what we've always dealt with. Let's just build the normal reactors by me. Pretty, pretty. Cool. Well, yeah. So let's, um, take me back to now it's all blending together, you know, what has been going over publicly versus, you know, what you and I just chatted about, but kind of take me back to some of the, like, recent political action that has occurred. I mean, actually, I'm going to make you tell a little bit of the story, even though I've heard you speak about it publicly. But tell me a little bit the story when you approach that person at the German guy at COP, did that kind of kick off a little bit of your like, political antagonism?


Chris Keefer  2:44  

No, no, we have to go like way further back into the past for that. You know, I think, you know, I cop probably the the Big Bang moment was this interview bit of a ambush interview with our famously Anti-nuclear, Environment Minister, Mr. Steven guilbeault, who spent 10 years I think, working within Greenpeace tenures within a Canadian Environmental Group that he started, he repelled off of the CN Tower, which is once the tallest tower in the world, to bring attention to climate change. I think he got released on $50,000 bail, like, he's like a legit, legit green activists. And he was brought in to our current government to signal that they were serious about climate change. And anyway, we had this this moment. And it's just a product of, you know, so much of you know, you mentioned the growth of the podcast, a couple studios, being able to bring people on board on this journey has been absolutely incredible. And so, you know, this great friend of mine, Jesse Freeston, who's a very talented filmmaker, videographer, video journalist, was that cop, and we kept caught this moment. And and I think it's probably a little bit generous to say it wouldn't have went viral. But we got, you know, I think over 10,000 views of this interaction with this minister, I just said, you know,


is your Anti-nuclear past going to cloud your judgment as minister? You know, is that going to mean that you will ignore really the scientific consensus where the IPCC is saying that nuclear needs to increase in all four of our illustrative Decarbonization pathways? And he dodged the question, you know, and it's not up to the market. So it's not just the government markets will decide. And then five months later, he releases this green bond framework, saying that nuclear is essentially a sin stock, it's, it's gambling, it's tobacco, it's firearms. Okay. How is that still possible? I remember that being like, nuclear being clustered with, you know, tobacco firearms, like 10 years ago, and the, you know, however, they categorize these things, or maybe even more, I don't know, I wasn't around but like, looking at it like, okay, it was like, stuck in the UN or classification or some you classification is this. How is this still going on today? This is crazy. Yeah, it's starting to change. It's starting to change. And that's what I've sort of been giving the government how long the ruling party is, you know, their justification for this exclusion and the lumping into the sense


Preaching their version of the gospel, just talk to anybody. And then yeah, three years later, in the West blank in the house of parliament, talking with cabinet ministers, senators, making presentations to the caucuses of the two, the two national parties of government, we have four parties in Canada, but two are the ones that all is foreign government and it's just been a dizzying ride. Yes. And I can't I can't quite explain it. Yeah, I mean, you just yada yada yada it over some a lot of stuff that happened there. So So what was the moment that you start be treated as an authority amongst these, these these political, these political, I don't even call the leads, but like, just these political people, like the government, people? When did they start coming to you and saying, Hey, Chris, you clearly know what you're talking about.


It's, it's, yeah, I'm trying to put a pin in that spot. You know, it's been very interesting doing the podcast, you know, which I speak to philosophers, I speak to engineers, I speak to activists and advocates a whole whole range of for.


Ultimately, I'm gold driven, it just happens to be that nuclear ticks, the most boxes that I'm after, in terms of, you know, climate concern, biodiversity, you know, maintaining industrial capacity in the West, just transition, it just coincides with ticking a lot of boxes. But, you know, I try and I try and maintain a sort of, you know, challenge my cognitive dissonance be open. But, you know, I am also a player, I'm an advocate, I, I feel like, I need to put my convictions into action.


And so that process again, began with these these kind of standard for nuclear events.


But we have some very interesting tools available to us. And I talk about this sometimes, right this this idea of a David and Goliath on a battle of ideas right? There, there, there is a an ideological battle of ideas happening. And right now, unfortunately, it's kind of between big green NGOs. The kind of what I call the Eco romantics.


And you know, the people who subscribe to that pseudo religious narrative of you know, we've sinned against Mother Earth play industrializing it to go back to the Garden of Eden. And then we have, for lack of a better term, maybe Team Ecomodern Team innovation, which says, No, I mean, we are problem solvers. Humans are incredible. We're constantly solving problems and creating new ones for ourselves. We do not have the luxury of hitting the rewind button, we need to continue to innovate and you know, whether that's with on the energy front with with nuclear, you know, moving up the energy density ladder, moving up the energy return on energy invested ladder, whether it's with agricultural tools across the board, I mean, we face some of the greatest challenges of our time. And we have one set of ideas, which is saying we should just abandon what we do best, which is think innovate, you know, invent, but but in terms of that David and Goliath setting, I don't have the numbers. You know, for Canada, I think I have a better sense of the US you have about a billion dollars of annual operating revenue for groups like the Sierra Club, Natural Resource Defense Council, Friends of the Earth, and others. And in terms of that, sort of Team Ecomodern, whatever that is, you know, in terms of think tanks that are actually advocating on that file, I'd be surprised if it's more than 10 million. Yeah, you know, so you have a several orders of magnitude difference and, and sort of selling force on onto that battleground is an interesting thing. And so for me, I'm always looking at, you know, what's the How can I get sort of greatest return on, on energy on sort of my activist energy invested, and a lot of it is, well don't reinvent the wheel like, see, see what the antis are up to right. And so, that led me a couple of years ago to looking at what Sierra Club Canada was up to. And they had this mechanism, it's a House of Commons petition, it's I think it's a Commonwealth thing. So all the sorts of countries colonized by by England. If you get a sufficient number of signatures and a sponsoring MP, your petition is read on the floor of the House of Commons. And it mandates a written response from government. Wow. And that's cool. That's a very neat, democratic democracy. Nice. It really is. It really is. And so I just been sort of seeing okay, what are the antis up to Oh, what's this? Oh, there's this petition? Oh, I didn't know about that. These are groups that have, you know, a historical legacy. They have an institutional memory they've been exploring what are the best advocacy tools? What are these little one in video games, these little cheats? What do you call it level up secrets? Cheat Codes? Yeah. And so that was probably the way that I sort of got introduced into the political process, I got to my local MP, again, sponsored that petition. And that went somewhere. And then, the thing is, I moved into another another writing not too long ago. And it was actually a Decouple listener, who was involved a lot in local politics started talking my MPs ear off about what she was hearing about on Decouple, yeah. So apparently, that led to him saying, Hey, I gotta reach out to him. And we started talking. And, you know, this is not a nuclear writing, if anything, this is more of an environmental NGO type writing, so I have to give this MP Ferrania a lot of credit, because I think he's really acting in a principled manner and, you know, listening, studying the issue, and maybe even risking his political skin slightly in this in terms of his writing, but I think he he's someone who believes in, in in science and following the best evidence and listening to expertise. Pretty amazing. I'm giving away too long of an answer here. But


Bret Kugelmass  12:20  

no, no, I'm enjoying listening to it. No, it's like a masterclass kind of, you know, because like, you know, like, I say, what we do is advocacy. But really, what you know, I focus most of our attention on is, is really just Israel just trying to learn and just trying to like, see what needs to be done. And then as a byproduct, you know, we do advocacy. We haven't really ever tried to optimize, I haven't like thought about it like you like what are the tools at our disposal? So no, so it's pretty amazing to watch what you're doing. And also, you know, a lot of our friends, you know, like, Mark Nelson and the others like to just kind of watch how everyone is, is really doing advocacy, I almost think like what I'm doing is like fake advocacy. Like, I'm trying to learn, I'm trying to make a difference. And I'm trying to end in like, I like giving away my journey, you know, to everybody off right, but it's like a different thing.


Chris Keefer  13:15  

Yeah, yeah. I mean, definitely your podcast was up before mine. I remember, you're one of the one of the inspirations for me jumping into the host seat. So awesome.


Bret Kugelmass  13:26  

Cool. Okay, so yeah, so tell me more. Tell me more about the the political discourse in Canada and what you've seen change over the last year? And where maybe you've changed your own mind on how to approach things over the last year as well.


Chris Keefer  13:42  

Right, right. I mean, in terms of this whole new grad, because you think I've been thinking a lot about, you know, how to how to build a base. Because I think within politics, you know, there's voting blocks, which politicians will respect. There's, you know, the number of signatures you can mobilize on a petition, the number of letters you can get sent to a parliamentarian, for instance. But also just in terms of, again, of a battle of ideas. If you are able to build a critical mass of people who really believe in something that becomes it develops a sort of magnetism, and it's able to draw on others, it's able to normalize, it's able to send signals I think a lot about you know, why we hold the beliefs that we do. And especially early on in Decouple, we've engaged a lot with these ideas around sort of tribalism, we see a lot with COVID. Now, right, in terms of people hold beliefs that they really haven't investigated deeply out of out of a tribal identity. And I think, you know, tools like Twitter tend to really, hyper hyperpolarizing us and put us even more in those camps


Bret Kugelmass  14:43  

or ossify, some of these body of sound,


Chris Keefer  14:46  

right, but how do we change? How do we change, you know, beliefs that just kind of emerge from our context or political context or class context, etc. You know, a lot of it is I think, just paleo psychology right? It's, it's, you know, how did we in the old days in our evolutionary history, how did we develop ideas and change positions and a lot of it has to do with, you know, this kind of culture of influencers right now and, you know, maximum respect to folks like Isabelle Boemeke II and others who are signaling, you know, and I think she's having huge impacts in terms of bringing along. God, what's Elon ex's name again? blanking on the name right now. But yes, yeah, the singer. She's making it safe. For Grimes she's making it safe for Grimes and others to sort of come forward and normalize it. But in terms of, you know, political advocacy, and really mobilizing a movement, I was looking around and I was like, Well, who, who? Who do I talk to? Right? Because I think, within within nuclear advocacy, there's a tendency to want to just argue with the people who are yelling at you the loudest. And that's, that's a, almost always a massive mistake. I mean, there's


Bret Kugelmass  15:54  

very early sometimes they're people that actually have beliefs that are pretty close to yours. Also, is that interesting, kind of like in religion, sometimes, too. It's like, when you see like, slight variations on Christianity and Islam, and they're the ones attacking each other, they'll kill each other over it not even in like the like, environmental advocacy space. You okay, you see environmentalists going after each other, even within the nuclear advocacies they see something. So it's like, let's call it on that. That's important. natural human psychology too, right?


Chris Keefer  16:23  

Oh, definitely. Definitely. Yeah, no, I mean, don't get me started on. I think one of my episodes was with Michael Shellenberger, I revealed this kind of taxonomy of of, of nuclear, which, which he quite liked, but I want to stick my toes in the factional waters again. But I think I lost my train of thought there, in terms of in terms of


Bret Kugelmass  16:47  

new voices are coming out making it safe for


Chris Keefer  16:49  

Yeah, and like, and how to how to build how to build a movement in needing that critical mass. And so certainly, we're lucky within Canada, and I've talked to allies in Australia, for instance, and they're just starting, you know, nuclear is illegal. They're, you know, they make some isotopes where they don't they don't have like a sector and industry or people involved in it. And so from day one, I've really been assessing Oh, who are the actors at play here? Is it is it you know, my fellow environmentalist? Is it the Green Party? You know, and I engaged for a while there and I should certainly like, it's like a whetstone kind of sharpening the edge of your blade, you have to they keep you on your toes, because you have to look up absolutely every bizarre myth or dogma that they have and to spell it, but but, but are they are they sort of that block that you are going to be able to mobilize and create a movement with? No, I mean, they bark loudly. So there's a tendency, especially with the social media thing, just to like, well, let's, let's just argue that but they become kind of like a vampire that can really eat up a lot of your time, which can be used much more productively to make change in the world. Yeah. And so for me, it was, you know, I need to there's, there's 76,000 People working within the sector. And there are people who I consider to be, you know, clean air, climate, medical isotope heroes. So let's figure out a way to meet them where they're at, interact with them, and see if see if we can mobilize them, get them politically active, get them signing petitions, getting them writing letters, getting them coming to rallies. And that's been the secret sauce here in terms of, you know, you're asking sort of when the rubber hits the road. It was really this the second petition that we did on the green bond, which, you know, in that interim year, I'd spent just relationship building right across the sector, but mostly with, with unions and workers. And so, you know, when we develop this petition, we were able to send it out to a number of email listeners that hit probably 70,000 people in total. And so we got 10,000 signatures, you know, some of those are coming certainly from outside the sector, but a lot of those are just everyday working men and women in the nuclear sector who are saying, Yeah, I'm not, I'm not, you're calling me the moral equivalent of working in gambling, like I make the medical isotopes that enable modern healthcare that sterilized 40% of the world's single use medical devices, and you're saying I'm the equivalent of a tobacco manufacturer.


Bret Kugelmass  19:00  

Yeah. And you know, I remember that pretty quickly. So I'm just gonna like slow that down for a second for the audience. That whole part of making the sterilized in the medical equipment because yeah, it is a pretty powerful argument the thing that people are so people that are thing that people are so worried about radiation, which you know, that maybe they don't understand, but okay, they're concerned and probably rightfully concerned, just because, like, it's not their fault that just because this is how society is like characterize this thing, but either way, this thing radiation is used so effectively for health, you know, across a variety of, of, of tools of medicine, but the one you were just talking about is sterilizing medical equipment. And once again set pretty fast so I want to like just slow down around that one that you're saying it's like one facility in Canada does most of the world's sterilization or what was it back?


Chris Keefer  19:52  

Yeah, I mean, it's it's this wonderful feature of pressurized heavy reactor waters extreme pressures heavy water reactor system like the candy We have. So between Bruce and Pickering, we produce the majority of the world's cobalt 60, which is a absolutely vital gamma source for sterilizing, you know, a whole number of things. But, you know, 40% of the world's single use medical devices are sterilized with cobalt 60, from our our facilities in Ontario. And you know, there are there are, you know, other means of making isotopes, but different isotopes require different environments and to produce at scale. There's nothing better than it can do for that. Yeah. And you know, and you know, I work in health care, right, this is my bread and butter. And I was talking with someone from the medical isotopes buddy here in Canada, and it just really hit home for me, you know, like that that IV cannula that I'm putting in that patient that that endotracheal breathing tube that's going in that patient, that artificial hip joint that's going in that patient, these things are all made possible by medical isotopes, and you know, there's you can autoclave you can use high temperature, steam and things like that. But a lot of things will melt if you try and do that to them. Yeah, we use a lot of plastics in medicine. And that's kind of what's made medicine. So accessible, and so kind of mass mass producible. You know, and then on an even more personal note, my dad is currently getting a cancer treatment lutetium 177. Which they're scaling up at Bruce right now. So there's just like, it things got really personal for me pretty fast with these things that you've heard studies like Dr. James Hansen, did a study looking at, you know, making an estimate based on air pollution, statistics, you know, how many people have been saved as a result of nuclear energy and the estimated 1.8 million lives. But if you were to think about, you know, the consequences of a lack of sterility in healthcare environments. Yeah. And then also, if you want to think about cancer treatments with with radiation, I mean, it's


Bret Kugelmass  21:48  

really belly billions, billions, billions. So I just don't understand why we can't Well, I mean, this is just going to be talent complaining, but I'll, I'll take my privilege. Like, I find it pretty disturbing the way that the nuclear industry historically has, has handled communication. There's such an amazing story to tell there about Yeah, to clean air, the medical tools and, and rebranding nuclear, like keep the word nuclear, but just like, you know, surrounded with, with all the with all this positivity, the habit that we fought so often fall back onto, and I almost got, I'll call you out, you know, I almost almost caught you doing a little bit times in Meteor, by the way, I'm calling myself, I've also fallen back into like, the defensive, defensive rhythm, where it's like, okay, so here's this myth, let me dispel this myth. But then, if we don't do it, right, I know, we're like work collaborating on trying to figure out how to do that a little bit better. But it's a weakness of mine to falling, falling into, like the defensive nature. And I just feel like it doesn't send the right because like, people aren't going to be. I don't actually think people are ever convinced by facts. I think people are convinced by emotional arguments. Or, like, if someone wants to be convinced by backs, there'll be few hints by facts. But if someone comes from like, a totally different place, they're going to be convinced by emotional arguments more than


Chris Keefer  23:16  

emotional arguments. And also, and also, you know, again, we look to leadership, right? We look to thought leaders like within medicine, I mean, I can't study, I look at, you know, critically appraise all of the emerging epidemiologic evidence about the various treatments that are out there. Right, I'm trained to do so. And I can do that for you know, a small area of practice, that's, that's within my scope, emergency medicine. But I very much rely on on thought leaders, people who I know have excellent values, integrity, morality, who are better at it or spend a greater percent of their professional life doing it. And I have to, you know, I'll read what they write their summaries of the literature, and I'll say, Yeah, that makes sense to me, you know, I don't have the time to digest all of the primary literature to arrive at every conclusion I have. So we do you know, with this fact thing, a lot of it is, you know, is this a, is this a, is this an influence? Or is this the leader who has the kind of ethics and integrity? And am I going to base a little bit of my comfort with this in, in what I see them embracing or thinking


Bret Kugelmass  24:13  

about? Okay, such a good point. But this has been a huge weakness of the nuclear industry, because if you look around at the thought leaders, the the experts scientific minds, like especially when it comes to a topic waste, like what do they do? They say, We need to spend billions of dollars storing a deep underground, you're devoting our national labs attention to solving the issue, and therefore they reinforce this underlying the falsehood that nuclear waste is like a hazard like It's like this dangerous hazard that we have to deal with. Right? It's unbelievable. These are the experts. The experts are the experts in the nuclear industry, many of which I know by the way, and are good people and I like them but they like they'll fall into these political positions or the form things like National opposition's This is how they're gonna get grant money. And so they go around You know, reinforcing this lie that nuclear waste is a hazard. So what are we gonna do about that?


Chris Keefer  25:08  

I mean, I, I talked to someone recently about this. And I was asking it was a Canadian focused episode, we haven't published it yet, we might have to re record it because of a sound quality issue. You know, one of the, one of the great tragedies of podcasting is occasionally having an issue like that. But, you know, based upon the post diva study of the Finnish repository, right, where they're looking at, okay, worst case scenario, all of the engineered barriers break down in 1000 years, which is, you know, way before they could ever probably do so. You know, what, what's the worst case scenario is someone living in the most contaminated spot, quote, unquote, contaminated eating food grown only in the most contaminated spot drinking water from most contaminated spot, and it was an excess dose equivalent to two extra bananas per year. So Crazy, right. And so the question, the question, I mean, that's even a whole hypothetical scenario, right? of, you know, things breaking down in 1000 years, but, you know, I was like, Well, what's, what could you do for for banana dose per year at 1000 years and have the worst case scenario? What What's the added cost to getting it down to two bananas? Yeah, like, even in this ridiculous scenario, that's not realistic, where everything fails, you know, and it's like, we're building a Fort Knox out of gold bricks itself to put this stuff. And you know, it is there is a hazard. But we know how to manage that hazard. We know how to shield and that's why there's not been any deaths associated with with store civilian nuclear waste. And so my question for him was, okay, so you want to spend $26 billion on this deep Geologic Repository? To me, that seems like a huge misallocation of societal resources? If you can do it for 2 billion, right, then what can you send every I know high school aged kid in Canada who wants to go to university to school to get a higher education? Yeah, like, what can you think we are bearing? We're just


Bret Kugelmass  26:46  

there for like kids, like, can we just gets kids some health care? Yeah,


Chris Keefer  26:49  

right. Right. But instead, it's Yeah, and for me, again, it all comes back to this key point, and James Conca hit on this a lot around nuclear waste, which is that if you find the best geology, and the Geology is the barrier, and you know, we've got the whip, which is, which has got even crazier stats, but but in Ontario, the rock we're looking at, it takes a million years for water to move a meter, the water has to get through all those engineered barriers, dissolve a ceramic fuel pellet and an anoxic environment, that water needs to dissolve those all carry those radio isotopes. And if that water takes a million years to move a meter, you're done. Yeah, you know, we're thinking about waste on a on a civilizational timescale, which can be scary. But we're not keeping on the surface in canisters, we're putting it in a geological mission. And we're looking at geological timescales. And we like we've made a mountain out of a mole, but I'll


Bret Kugelmass  27:35  

still push back. And I know I've diverted the conversation a little bit, but it is something I want to talk to you about anyway, I think it's fun. Yeah, for sure. I'm still gonna push back on this idea that it's a hazard. I'm willing to admit it's toxic, but like, so like the kitchen table in front of me right now, like I like I treated those shelves up there, like the chemicals that I treated them with are toxic, and we feel comfortable throwing them in the landfill, because we're not worried about people like going on to a landfill and like, like shoving the chemicals into their mouth. And that's also what you want in your nuclear waste to like, like you would need to eat it. Like you would need to walk up to a pile of nuclear waste somewhere and eat it. I don't even care if that's what geology it is. If you just throw it in any landfill, and just pile some dirt on top of it, it is not going to be a hazard Period, end of story, just like we do with like all of the toxic the toxic chemicals that don't have a half life that lasts infinity long. Like we just wrote them in a landfill and we assume people aren't going to walk up to it and shove it in their mouths. And that's good enough.


Chris Keefer  28:46  

I can always trust you to kind of push it a little further down the road.


Bret Kugelmass  28:50  

My middle name is shift the Overton window.


Chris Keefer  28:53  

Yeah, no, I feel Yeah, I feel you. You said something that struck me earlier, which is, you know, just the the failure of imagination within within the sort of nuclear sectors communications. And, you know, this was something that I came up with for most recent petition. Because we're talking again, about this whole sector, being left out of out of the green blonde framework. And, you know, part of this, this podcast, the beauty of this journey is, you know, I'm not an economist, I have a very, very poor understanding of economics, but I'm able to have cultivated some relationships now. And I basically have a special economics adviser that I can send a text to at two in the morning, and usually he gets back to me and can explain complex stuff to me. And you know, because economics is a weakness of mine, I've had him on about eight times now. But, you know, understanding the way in which we've built our civilizational infrastructure like that, which makes us a modern advanced society, is that infrastructure and we've talked about that on the podcast with this, this whole kind of getting very, very back to basics or first principles of you know, these are stored energy energy conversions, you know, the bridges, the sewers, the roads, the water systems, the power plants, etc. But They were really financed and built with bonds. And so that's the idea of leaving nuclear out of a bond at a time when you're, if you're taking climate change seriously, you're going to need to do a generational undertaking, a war mobilization type of undertaking to build new infrastructure, cutting it cutting the most effective tool for for that action out of out of your bond financing is a big problem. So I was generating some arguments around this, and I was, you know, in Canada, we have the oil sands, which are sort of our climate that nor, you know, it's it's a bitumen that we have to inject high temperature steam to loosen up, we have to just dig up the sand. And it's, it's not a great er, O ei source. And it's only viable when oils at, I think 7070 bucks a barrel or something like that. But all that to say, that's kind of the dark, sort of side of our climate impact in Canada. And that's why as an OECD country, our emissions have really not done much, you know, the oil sands went up, or nuclear powered coal phase and Ontario brought, brought emissions down in one side of the country as oil sands went up. And so we've sort of held it level, thanks to nuclear, largely, but I wanted to look at, you know, what's, what's kind of the opposite of the oil sands in terms of a resource extraction program that is displacing emissions or reducing emissions? And I was like, well, let's, let's look at the Canadian uranium sector, ya know, and so globally, the nuclear fleet offsets two Giga tons of co2 per year, you know, for reference, all of humanity puts out 50 Giga tons per year 50 is a really good number to know. So two is offset by nuclear. With the paltry amount that we do, we should do so much more by Canada's contribution to that the most recent numbers I could find from 2013 are about 13%. And so we offset domestically and internationally 260 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions. And that happens to be 1/3 of our annual national emissions as a as a, you know, a pretty heavy polluter from a carbon position relative to our population, Canada or smallest country. So why don't we offset 1/3 of our annual national emissions with our uranium sector yet, so much of this sort of financial game of carbon offsets is, well, I won't cut down this forest. So I'm going to offer you some some carbon trading credits, oh shit, climate change, and it burned down because we didn't manage the forests Well, or whatever, because because of the forest fires that there goes the carbon right, but we have a physical asset that's like, you know, that has a demonstrated ongoing track record of of decarbonisation, and we don't recognize it as a country. And and and a sector that does it didn't do that math, it was some random doctor who's become a podcast has become obsessed with energy and climate change. Who's Who's doing these numbers on the back of an envelope writing a petition, like it's, we live in a strange world? Yeah, I want


Bret Kugelmass  32:41  

to come back to the bonds for a second, understand would distinguish between the one that was successful, and the one that's not being categorized properly by the government. But before we get there, I just wanted to just hone in on a little bit of that math. So that's, like 25 times, all you need to do is produce 25 times as much as nuclear to totally negate everything else, right. And so to me, I'm thinking, okay, so everywhere that you see nuclear plant, and this is for all of energy, not just electricity, if you just build 25 buildings there, and by the way, there's only 450 Such places, you know, to build 25 buildings, which does not seem like an astronomical number of buildings. Like if anyone goes to any city that's doing some construction, like even just like DC I can see 25 cranes on Skyline easily. I you know, I'm sure in cities and candidates the same way. 25 buildings, you see a nuclear plant, they'll 25 buildings, boom, we've totally eliminated all carbon emissions on planet Earth. Now, granted, I'm simplifying, but like, that's a good way to like visualize that it actually doesn't take that much stuff. When you're using nuclear to displace all emissions.


Chris Keefer  33:53  

It's bonkers. Yeah, I mean, and some emissions of course, they're not. It's not displaceable. And electricity, but yeah, I mean, conceptually, that's, that's a very interesting thought exercise. I hadn't done it myself.


Bret Kugelmass  34:03  

So let's come back to that bond framework. Again, just help me understand. So if there was this one green bond that was that was made by a public, not public, private entity or pseudo public private entity. And it was five times oversubscribed. I'm playing a little devil's advocate here. Why do we need government to create a green brand framework that includes nuclear Why can't just companies just do it?


Chris Keefer  34:27  

I mean, companies can and Bruce Power did they consulted with a a sustainable finance consulting firm or a bank that approved them? That kind of said, Yes, you are virtuous enough, but they didn't get the deep green. They got a light green rating. Well, I didn't. Yeah, which meant a higher a higher interest rate on the capital that was borrowed wind and solar is is is you know, the maybe I'm forgetting which kind of greens but when and solar is the ultimate green right and so they qualify for the lowest. This is like smallest cost capital.


Bret Kugelmass  34:57  

This is like softcore porn for the environmentalists, like 50 shades of green.


Chris Keefer  35:01  

Yes, exactly, exactly. So I mean, there is a route there, which is exciting for sure. Within within the private side. I mean, governments are, have a reputation earned or not for being, you know, reliable in terms of paying back their debts, being able to finance those debts. And so they're able to able to offer in a triple A rated bond, which gets you basically the lowest interest rate. And for me, it's really relevant because you look at what can the private sector just do this? Well, I mean, EDF, which is a government associated company, obviously, and owns the US, the UK nuclear fleet. I mean, Hinkley Point apparently two thirds, the cost of that project is the cost of capital, which I believe is nine or 10%. Interest rates, but yeah, if they if they could be doing it for two 2.2 2.5. What does that do to the cost of that nuclear plant? Right? You know, and with costs being such a concern in this day and age, for me, and especially learning like, Well, again, bonds built our country, they built our infrastructure. Yeah, and we're on a, we're on this, you know, this in Canada, that numbers are really staggering. You know, in order to just double the size of our electricity grid, which wouldn't get us all the way there, but would do, you know, put a dent into transportation and buildings, you know, heating that sort of stuff, we need to double it. And it's the equivalent of building 96 new large candy reactors. We built 24 in the history of the country, we built 20 in Ontario in 20 years. And that wasn't with the imperative of like, shit we need to build for climate, I was a more practical reason shit we need to build. So we don't have blackouts because of a lack of generating capacity. But it was it was bonds that finance those sorts of things. So I didn't have an appreciation for the importance of bonds. And I mean, this this green bond that the government is issuing is only for $5 billion. It's their first offering. It was oversubscribed, two times, not, not the six times that Bruce was. But, you know, they're saying that it's going to be 10 billion, you know, year after year after year, probably going forward. And so just vital that that nuclear is on there. Yeah. And yeah, I'm happy to you know, Yak a bit more about, you know, how that that sort of advocacy went, but you know, it just it brought home to me, you know, when you're talking about, okay, let's build 25 More of those buildings and every site? Well, how the hell do we pay for it? How do we mobilize the capital to do that? I mean, if I'm not well versed in this, if you have stuff to add here, more from the sort of private side, I'm very interested. There's certainly political, political parties that say, Hey, we're no new spending candidate here. Tell us how to do this without without spending any public money? I don't have an answer for that. But if you do, I'd love to hear


Bret Kugelmass  37:31  

it. No, listen, I think bonds are a great mechanism, I think that they, you know, properly align incentives, a lot of these government bonds, you know, are crafted with like long term investment thinking in mind. And that's something that nuclear happens really well until you put a lot of money upfront, but then it pays back really well over a very long period. I mean, these are assets that last a long time, and the steady, steady pay paybacks streaming over that period of time. So yeah, no, but I think yeah, private, private capital, public capital. Yeah, I think we can put it all to work. For them all, for nuclear it only, it only makes sense. If we can get the construction period down, if we can get the costs per plant down. I think that I think that market forces will take over and make it the dominant energy source. But, you know, a cheaper cost of capital is one way to create that that cycle of, you know, ever reducing costs as you build more and more the same thing.


Chris Keefer  38:36  

Absolutely, absolutely. So, yeah, I mean, the petition really took off as I was saying, this whole concept of building a block, building a critical mass of using the metaphor, it's too much. Yeah, it's it happens accidentally now. And usually, when I say no pun intended, I ever really have to think through a plan and it is always intended, so when they have an accent when it's great. But anyway, um, yeah, we got we got a lot of signatures on this petition. And, you know, again, I think there's just been a sea change in attitudes towards nuclear that I've seen since I became interested in and started reading into it about probably 2017 2018. And, you know, it's it's practicalities that I think make make nuclear really thrive and things like energy crises, skyrocketing fossil fuel prices, you know, geopolitical, local start thunderstorms. OPEC OPEC crisis, right. I mean, obviously, there's nuclear going before the opioid crisis, but that was a serious Okay, let's let's put the pedal to the metal here, particularly for net importers of fossil fuels, like France or island nations, etc. So it's only natural and I mean, I do find this quite ironic that you know, when fossil fuel prices or when energy prices are high, all of a sudden there's big trouble and renewables land. And there's a renaissance Renaissance for nuclear and when fossil fuel prices are rock bottom as they've been since the sort of fracking revolution. It was You know, it was renewables time. So it's, it's interesting,


Bret Kugelmass  40:03  

it's so true, it almost makes me question like, is this what we do it? Like, are we actually creating change? Or are we actually a product of change that was already occurring? Like, yeah, and there have been an opportunity for us to find the voice in the nuclear industry, because the tides were already turning there was already like instability in the power markets over these last few years, that drove us to the sector where the drove interest sector, including us, we didn't even realize that we were all just like, part of this thing that was gonna happen anyway. And then, like, things just keep on culminating, you know, it's like, you know, the increase of renewables leads to energy instability leads to higher prices, maybe even leads to, you know, Putin, you know, seeing an opportunity, and then, you know, like, all like, maybe it's all, maybe it's all faded


Chris Keefer  40:52  

along for the ride. In a lot of ways, that's true. I mean, you know, this sort of, like, great man theory of history is, you know, I think pretty patently easy to poke holes in, especially when you're, like, become an energy determinist, like you and I do. You know, there's, but there's certainly a role for, you know, the personalities that come along, it's kind of accidents of history to rise up, and I wouldn't,


Bret Kugelmass  41:15  

I wouldn't give it up for the world. I mean, this has been, I don't know, but yeah, it's just been such a fun, it's, you know, can be stressful times, but I


Chris Keefer  41:21  

totally he, but there's, there's, I think it's Milton Friedman, if I'm getting it, right. And I think that's actually where I'm borrowing this battle of ideas, framing from but, you know, I think he talks a lot about when a crisis presents itself, all of a sudden, it's like, there's a bunch of sheets of paper on the ground, and policymakers are running around with their, you know, their tails up and just grabbing it, what's there and picking up ideas. And so it's been vital, you know, when when times were hard that there were folks like yourself, are like myself that are that are putting these ideas out there making them available. So that people go shit crisis, what are some good ideas? What can we do? And that's what's been really, really exciting. For for my organization, Canadian for nuclear energy, you know, are a group of all there's no paid staff are all volunteers. And, and what's so amazing about that is I mean, talking to some of my, like, venture capital, people, when they talk about this, like startup phase, where things are super lean, and super efficient. And they're comparing that to kind of government bloat, like, you know, and I come from more of this kind of lefty progressive thing, but like, within our organization, because we're so, you know, we have like, not much money in the bank, shall we say, and it's mostly mostly coming from our members. You know, there's a lot of passion there. There's the beautiful thing about this new graphic design world is there's just such smart, intelligent people with such a diverse array of backgrounds and, you know, economics and running. And we have a we have a former systems operator, like control room supervisor, you know, the guy who was like, turning up this power plant, dialing down that one keeping the whole system going well, you know, we have, obviously, doctors engineers, we've got, we've got a lot of great expertise. And we've developed a lot of really, really bold, strong talking points that the sector the industry would never make. And so being able to turn those into memos and briefs, and present those to, you know, the to, I mean, I'd love to get to all the political parties. Because, you know, as we say, Canadians for nuclear energy, the best climate solutions belong in every party. But it's great being able to kind of seed these ideas in from the back benches, and then all of a sudden find myself speaking to the Minister of Defense for my country, and saying, Yeah, I'll get you a memo next week on how this is relevant


Bret Kugelmass  43:32  

to me. It's you're really interacting at the absolute highest levels of government at this point. It's unbelievable. You can tell us just a little bit story, but at recently, have they reached out to you or they got a hold of you for this?


Chris Keefer  43:47  

Yeah, I mean, it's interesting. I didn't know this. But you know, we are a tier one nuclear country. So it doesn't make sense. The the two main political parties, the liberals and conservatives, I hate making kind of Canada and US comparisons is the Democrat Republican comparison doesn't really do it justice at all. But you know, they're party of the sort of center and a party of the center. Right, I'd say not not as extreme as their neighbors to the south, but both of them have nuclear caucuses. You know, when? Yeah, okay. Actually, I


Bret Kugelmass  44:17  

don't know if that's true. But I know that there's pro nuclear people on both sides.


Chris Keefer  44:21  

But are they organized as a caucus that meets every month to talk about nuclear issues?


Bret Kugelmass  44:24  

Or not? I don't actually. Yeah, sorry. Yeah, I'm in DC, but I'm actually not that well versed.


Chris Keefer  44:30  

I mean, I was I was impressed by this. And I think they've gone they've sort of gotten more abundant for a while and had a burst of energy where they've been meeting more regularly. But certainly, there's there's piqued interest. And so there's a group of, you know, ranges between about, you know, 15 and 25. I believe in each party, that that are part of these caucuses and interested in meet on a regular basis to discuss these issues. And we'll be doing you know, plant tours and things like that soon, which I'm really excited about.


Bret Kugelmass  44:56  

That you're gonna be leading those or you're gonna be like,


Chris Keefer  44:59  

I definitely I want to be I want to I want to be part of it. I want to visit I'm not I'm not leading them. I don't have those kinds of connections. But you know, I did do a, the tour of the Bruce Power that I did was even if


Bret Kugelmass  45:09  

you're not leading them in some way you you're going to be considered, I gave I gave it, I gave it to you even interest assets outside person who's like not working for the power plant like, Hey, Chris wish I think about this,


Chris Keefer  45:19  

like, yeah, yeah, no, I went I the first tour that I that I did, the first nuclear plant uttered was, you know, start big right start with the world's largest operating nuclear facility. Ontario boy here, but it was with it was with labor unions. And in our left political party, the social democrat, like New New Democratic Party, who tend to be pretty skeptical of nuclear, because being a party of the left with a lot of roots in sort of anti war activism in that Boomer generation, became sort of de facto anti nuclear energy. And so it was the nuclear power Workers Union. So I've been really reaching out to and building relationships with, again, speaking about that, developing that critical mass, and mobilizing that that sector of 76,000 people, they were very interested in bringing in these, you know, politicians who have roots, you know, their political parties have roots in trade unionism and saying, Hey, come have a look at the last bastion of, of healthy union culture of these jobs that were an aesthetic for, you know, the kind of manufacturing jobs of like the 50s 60s 70s, where, you know, you may you can support a single family, or you can support a family on one, one wage, you can have a car or a house, you can send your kids to school, or if your kids wanted to come work at your work. From, from my experience, from what I would have been able to research, it is kind of the last bastion of those kind of jobs, that kind of employment in those kinds of vibrant healthy communities with a substantial tax base, where there's jobs for everybody, because it's not just, you know, operators, it's, it's, you know, all the trades people, it's, you know, the paramedics, the fire, the fire department on the site, they bill all sorts of stuff, right. And so, you know, being at that tour, I gave as sort of a keynote to, to those those, you know, left wing political party members, but also there were a number of trade unions that were invited who are not nuclear, and also tend to be, quote, anti nuclear, which is, you know, horrible. But they learned so much. And it was, it was really amazing. Seeing, seeing eyes really open and, and jaws hit the floor, as people sort of really could identify their values. And, you know, I made that, that, that sort of that line about the best, you know, the best climate solutions, or the best Clean Air Solutions, or the best just transition solutions belong in every party. But I really, I think that is something really unique about nuclear, I'm writing an op ed right now, on that theme. And, you know, we have the Conservative Party in Canada, and I'm making the pitch that, you know, nuclear is the ultimate economic stimulus, especially in Canada 96% of our supply chain is here, we have independent economic analysis that demonstrates that every dollar you spend on CANDU, you get a buck, 40, back and GDP. Like there's nothing, there's nothing like that. And particularly when you start looking at the alternatives of buying polysilicon solar panels from China or wind turbines. Looks like it looks like you can't avoid turbines economically. So


Bret Kugelmass  48:12  

this is like the strongest argument then, like I didn't even realize that that there was this like, this, like pot positive, you know, economic feedback loop when it came to nuclear, plus, you get the clean air benefits. Plus you get like the long term job security benefits, not just even like the short term economic, like, okay, come on. Now. It's almost now it's almost too good to be true. I mean, I always knew this to be true, but I always knew it wasn't too good to be true. It's just too good. But now it's like, like doubly Tripoli too good. I hadn't even thought about that with your with your localized supply chain. That is ridiculous.


Chris Keefer  48:45  

I mean, it's very, I mean, it was no, Noah Rettberg Who brought this to my attention, right? Just like how special Canada is, as a pretty small country that developed a viable reactor design, there's, you know, we've had dozens and dozens and dozens of, you know, attempts and, you know, at building these things, and we've ended up with what four or five major you know, pressurized water, boiling water reactors, etc. And like, they can do the pressures heavy water reactor, we invented that we have it, we still run it, we're refurbishing it. You know, and yes, and because we are tier one up nation with the richest uranium ores in the world. We own the whole supply chain. We don't need to enrich it, but it's incredible.


Bret Kugelmass  49:25  

Yeah, that is so is. So that's so wild. So it's like okay, so I remember back. You know, I've recently found out that back in American politics, you know, their politicians who ran with their primary campaign was run on this, like, let's go 100% nuclear, I think like JFK, maybe like maybe even a few others. They're like, Let's build 1000 nuclear plants in America. Like that was the leading campaign slogan. So I mean, do you see a future where like a head of state in Canada could run on that platform?


Chris Keefer  49:55  

You know, it's interesting at COP 26 in Glasgow, our our prime minister from Mr. Trudeau was asked about nuclear energy. And he gave a very typical answer, which was doing wind, it wasn't asked about when we're doing solar, he wasn't asked about solar, you know, climate change is a big deal. That's a big challenge, we got to have a lot of options, we got to keep them on the table. And, you know, nuclear is on the table, probably maybe could sort of should, maybe I hate that, you know, hey, that was the answer. And that was the answer. And I mean, just when I was talking to like his colleagues, and again, you know, I don't come at this from a partisan angle. I mean, Robert Bryce, I think says it really well, or he says, you know, I'm not a member of any of these parties. I'm a member of the disgusted party. You know, talking aside, I mean, you know, I do I do, I'm able to, again, commend friendship, to all I've differences with, with all of these parties, you know, I'm a very particular person, I've never been happy in any sort of religion in any sort of ideological formation, never been able to label myself politically. I find it interesting. I think each of them have an distinct sort of moral set of tastebuds that guide them. But it's interesting people to make that pitch, like I was saying, the conservatives, it's around economy, the liberals, I'd say it's, you know, really around climate change and showing them you know, they are a party that's putting in place a price on pollution, carbon tax, you know, they talk a big game, and they're there. I think we're talking with the the local MPs, they're genuinely interested. But there's not that kind of energy literacy. And I can't say, I blame them, because we're just so energy literate as a society, okay. But But, but if you are, like me, this is the kind of thing like if you if you do get interested in climate and policy, then you've got to spend a few years understanding energy and digging into it. And but that's not been the culture. And we're not we're not a political class of engineers, and scientists, because I think those folks just can't stand the kind of inertia of politics. So it ends up being a different sort of group of professions that, that that enters into western politics anyway. But they're thirsty for it. They're genuinely hungry for it genuinely interested. And I was expecting a lot of hostility because I had confronted their team member right there, Minister of Environment and Climate Change. And it was a pretty edgy, little, you know, media hit with him in Glasgow, I think I embarrassed him. And he would never have agreed to sit down for that kind of an interview, but just managed to catch him on the fly. But, you know, again, I don't I don't come trying to destroy their political party, I come bringing ideas to try and help them develop the best political policy, the best policies possible, and it's more being warmly received. And especially, it's like folks who have not thought about it so deeply. Like, if you try and make these arguments on like energy, Twitter, or with within the nuclear sector, there's a real Stark sense of what's possible and what's not. Right. But because these politicians have not thought so deeply about these issues, they're really open. It was for me, I was like, this is this is really beautiful.


Bret Kugelmass  52:44  

Well, that's awesome. Yeah, I mean, that's pretty amazing to hear that there's that opportunity. But you also dodged my question a little bit, just like you accused the politicians, and I wanted to hear from you. Do you think that head of state can run on a platform of 100%? Nuclear? And why not? Yeah,


Chris Keefer  53:00  

but yeah, of course, not yet. But I mean, eventually, not.


Bret Kugelmass  53:03  

Why not? Don't you think so? Okay, because like you went, you went to this whole, like, energy literacy thing. But I'll take a different stance, because like, I don't think that like, someone needs to needs to be like a rocket scientist to say, Hey, let's go to the moon. Like, I think I like I think, I think it is literally just the being bold part. Having a grand vision part that resonates with people, I actually don't even think it matters what that like vision actually is. But if someone is willing to like, like, like, like, throw their reputation behind something with such like passionate conviction, I think that would sway voters. And it has been done before on nuclear heads of state have run on 100% Nuclear platform before and man wouldn't if education of energy literacy, like was something that, obviously is something needs to be done. Wouldn't that be the greatest opportunity? Like remember how like, cycling gang in America ran on this universal basic income, he came out strong for it. Nobody knew what universal basic income was. But he was able to not only educate everybody, everyone's like that, where's my 1000 bucks? Where's my 1000 bucks Yang, like, so he was able to not only educate, but he was able to even you shift the political dynamics be more in favor of it? Like I believe, I think I'll put my opinion out there. I think someone could run a presidential or prime minister campaign on 100% nuclear and use that as the opportunity to re educate everyone on like, what nuclear actually is, and I think they benefit from it politically.


Chris Keefer  54:32  

Right. Right. I mean, I have to agree with you, the politicians that really craft their their campaign carefully to you know, we're going to win this election. We're going to meet people where they're at. We're going to develop a completely unimaginative policy around what people think is safe and one. No, it's folks like Andrew Yang that bring these big, bold ideas and bring people along with them. You know, that's that's what speaks to me personally. That's what I find interesting. And that's what's necessary because we need we need change. And there's a great Mark Twain quote that says this is more about needing to shift politicians changing them every few years. On the side, it's not really relevant. It just came into my mind. But politicians, like diapers need to be changed regularly. For the same reason, anyway. But but in terms of, you know, that question of like, you know, we're going to go to the moon. I mean, that resonated because of the space race, right, because of that anxiety that there were being over over, over overtaken by the Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union


Bret Kugelmass  55:33  

is doing with energy right now. Sounds like a great opportunity to say, let's go 100% nuclear.


Chris Keefer  55:41  

Yeah, yeah, it's I mean, it's a great opportunity for Canada, certainly to try and step into the vacuum of the decimation of Rosa Tom and the decimation of, you know, their, their fuel fabrication. You know, we're we're a moratorium on nuclear nation. We don't we don't want enriched uranium, but we could, and we should, and you guys


Bret Kugelmass  55:58  

think about exporting the candies? Is that on the table? I mean, I mean, it's been done.


Chris Keefer  56:02  

It's been done. I mean, China, Korea, Romania, Argentina, I think also Argentina. Yeah, yeah. I mean, can do can do, needs to be resuscitated. It's I mean, we are keeping our fleet alive with the exception of Pickering, and Gentilly and Quebec, with these refurbishments, which, you know, I like to shit on the west a lot in terms of nuclear, but I'm really coming to understand that Canada is actually decently positioned, you know, are the largest the largest infrastructure project in our country. $26 billion, is refurbishing a good chunk of our candy fleet? And so we're building you know, we have heavy forging, we're building new steam generators, apparently, we're bringing out eight steam generators a year from one factory in Cambridge, Ontario.


Unknown Speaker  56:45  

Where did they go to?


Chris Keefer  56:47  

Those are going to Bruce, I believe a Walters in Darlington, I think all those ones are going to Bruce Yeah, there's a lot of steam generators for in pickerings, even more, like 12 steam generators per even better. But But I mean, I didn't know that. I mean, I remember when I was learning about the preconditions of the Mesmer buildup in France. And I think it's the Soluz plant that was bringing out, you know, reactor pressure vessels, and I forget the numbers they were doing per year, but it wasn't that far off from what we're doing here. And that's always been, you know, from again, this outsider, and I want to really bring in this beginner's mind, and this humility, which I think is very much I owe to the world given, you know, that I'm not an expert in these areas. But, you know, my sort of common sense vibes here is, you know, why can't do is so important for Canada is that the West in its, you know, it's a boarded renaissance of the early 2000s got obsessed with this idea that we were going to innovate and come up with a new fancy design, which is going to solve all our problems. When we had a completely atrophied nuclear construction workforce. We're going to go out on a limb and try some we've never done before, right? Whereas in Canada, because of these refurbishments, we're swapping out all the internals of our reactors, we may not be that good at pouring nuclear concrete and rebar, we'll find out about that, that stuff, you know, bring some expertise to make that happen. I mean, from what I hear, if you make a fuckup, it's a pretty big fuckup. And you got to tear stuff back up. But you know, all about all that aside, all that aside, Canada is very well situated to be a little bit conservative here, to build a reactor that we're intimately familiar with both operations and in refurbishment, which is, I think, a good chunk of construction. And so to me, it's the lowest risk investment to make, you know, for Canada, that being said, you know, I just spent 24 hour intensive with, with our friend Kalev Kallemets, affair me energy, and, you know, he's very sold on the the SMR model and more of this sort of, like, private sector model. And, you know, it's, it is interesting, Canada does have a huge opportunity, being a first mover on, you know, there's BW RX 300. There's interest in Europe and around the world to build more of these units, and we may be able to capture some of that supply chain because we were a first mover. So what I'm trying to convey to Canadian politicians is that there's there's a huge amount of opportunity here, but we need to bet big and be bold, we need to you know, we need to signal with things like our green bond framework that we're serious about nuclear that it's a safe place for private capital to come and stimulate the sector, our ultimate economic stimulus to you know, our share of of, you know, world uranium to, to build candles here to build SMRs here to export them. We're actually in a in a decent position, but it is going to take serious bold leadership and when Trudeau is asked about nuclear at next year's cop, he needs to come out swinging and say absolutely Canada's a tier one nuclear nation. We achieve the greatest decarbonisation in North American history with our interior coal phase out, you know, we offset a third of our missions with uranium that we mined, we're doing more because we're helping Europe become energy independent, as they've committed to eliminating Russian energy imports. You know, Canada's a small nation, but we're punching above our weight, you know, and we're going to we're going to help out our allies in Europe in this way. Like, I that's what I'm, that's that's the kind of wind I'm trying to blow into the sails of these Politicians and I think I think they're excited about it, who and


Bret Kugelmass  1:00:02  

who's carrying out those refurbishments right now? Can you?


Chris Keefer  1:00:07  

Yeah, I mean, so there's there's four, all the units at Darlington are being refurbished. So that's OPG,


Bret Kugelmass  1:00:12  

which is the engineering firm that's actually doing the work.


Chris Keefer  1:00:15  

I'm sketching this would be WX. T is doing steam generators in Cambridge. Okay, they're doing okay. But yeah, when they're when there's a huge you know, there's a huge number of contractors that are involved.


Bret Kugelmass  1:00:25  

Okay. Yeah, cuz I'm wondering, it's like, because if you can refurbish that means you know, every part inside and out of that candy reactor, right. Which means the engineering know how, like how to put these things together is out there sitting in the hands of like a private engineering firm or many private engineering firms in Canada. Yeah, it's just like, come on, like we're active. Yeah. And like, don't you want more business like Okay, so like, now say that you can build a bunch, you've done the refurbishment, you've gathered the expertise you're clearly trusted with, with nuclear regulators with utilities. So now you brag about that expertise, you know, and just start selling these things everywhere.


Chris Keefer  1:01:01  

And why stop and why stop refurbishing Logis Darlington and Bruce, you know, and we're we have we have a really exciting. We have a very exciting report. We're about to drop on on Pickering. Yeah.


Bret Kugelmass  1:01:12  

Because this is infuriating.


Chris Keefer  1:01:16  

It should be I'm glad you feel that way. I mean, so Pickering is one of our crown jewels. We have three of them in Ontario, we have the Bruce site, the Darlington site and the Pickering site. And these were built at a time when we really knew how to build nuclear well. And we had we had this idea down that you pick a design, you standardize it, and you build a whole bunch of units on one site. So Pickering is eight reactors versus eight reactors. Darlington is four, we were supposed to build another four. And yeah, basically, Pickering ate 550 megawatt CANDU reactors. And the plan is to shut it all down. 2024 2025 It's been extended it were supposed to be shut down in 2018. But do you think the electricity operator, you know, and the new government that came in put their heads together and say, Okay, this, this doesn't make any sense, there was a great Ontario Chamber of Commerce report that looked at this. And you know, there's 7600 jobs 3000, direct, 4600, indirect full time equivalent jobs on the line, you know, huge tax base. And obviously, it's what gives us our climate leadership. With this one plant closing, Canada will lose all of its emissions reductions progress, it's made since 2005. Right, eight megatons, we haven't made much progress again, because the oil sands, and we haven't done a very good job as a country, but we're gonna lose it all with the closure of one nuclear plant. You know, it's it closing it will add 1% will increase our annual emissions by 1%, as a whole country, just closing one piece of infrastructure, one plant, right. And, you know, to make it intelligible to the politicians, I tell them, you know, this plant, when it closes, the independent systems operator confirms it will be replaced almost entirely by natural gas, you know, not wind or solar. Because, you know, you've swapping out stable generation for something that's stable, reliable, it'd be gas, that's the equivalent of 8 million transatlantic flights per year. And that seems to get through to politicians, because they fly a lot right to go back and forth to Parliament and whatnot.


Bret Kugelmass  1:03:15  

Wow. Yeah, it's Yeah. I mean, it's, there's no excuse for closing it down. That's just too crazy. Especially excuse excuses.


Chris Keefer  1:03:23  

And it's and it's interesting, because I want to, I want to, like understand the decision makers, and there's a lot of inertia to making these decisions. And, and the variables change. And, you know, it was around 2010, when they decided not they had a plan. It was, you know, it's been approved. So we know, it's technically possible, there's an EAA that's been approved for it. The regulators signed off on it, it takes away no way to refurbish it, but OPG decided not to, and they did in an environment where climate concern wasn't as intense, where natural gas was seen as a, you know, a pretty squeaky clean transition fuel. I mean, certainly all the environmental groups were funded by natural gas at that point and singing its virtues and arone, Ontario, clean air Alliance, was lobbying not for nuclear, but for gas to replace coal in Ontario. And the fracking revolution started. So gas economics looks really good. There was a plan to build another nuclear bill, that Darlington site, so maybe you could say, well, this is an older reactor and close it down open another spot. These are some of the decisions that were at play, then, of course, facts on the ground have changed dramatically. You know, gas has tripled in the states and like, where's it going to go once the US is really focused on helping out its European allies scattered? Yeah, of Russian fuel, right. We weren't thinking so much about electrification back then. And the idea that we're going to need to double or triple their grid, so knocking 3200 megawatts of reliable 90 plus percent capacity factor generation off your grid. You know, as we talk about electrification, it's a huge step backwards. And, you know, as great as the SMR program is, it's we say it's one step forward for 10 steps backwards, you're adding 300 megawatts, and you're retiring. 3000 megawatts.


Bret Kugelmass  1:04:59  

It's like I can Second prize. I mean, listen, I love the SMR stuff. I mean, we're involved in it. But it is a it is a it is like a kind of a concession. If you know, if that's like the whole nuclear policy of a country, it's like, oh, we're gonna we're gonna forget about the big ones. And but Oh, but you knew what we'll do just enough for you nuclear advocates to be happy will give you will give you some grants, we'll give you a million dollars here and there. Just just just to keep the loudest voices, loudest nuclear scientists, you know, just to keep them paid off? Well, we'll let you work on some research projects. It's cute, like, because that's really what it feels like.


Chris Keefer  1:05:36  

Interest? Yeah, especially when you when you, you know, if you're serious, right, and I always talk about it's like, We're speeding towards a, you know, a brick wall of our climate commitments in a car with with no brakes. You know, because the accelerator yourself are completely unrealistic. And, you know, we have this emissions reduction plan that the government put out, there has been 10 governments that have put out emission reduction plans. Nine have done so, so far all have failed. This is the 10th. And reading through it, it was it was astounding. I mean, a It's not not a lot of money that's been promised. And B there just seems to be this fundamental confusion of energy sources with energy carriers. And it's like, well, we're gonna have a hydrogen economy. And so how are you gonna make that hydrogen, you do realize that, you know, it's very energy intensive to make hydrogen or we're going to use lots of carbon capture and storage? Well, you do realize that, that it takes a lot of energy to run the carbon capture machinery. And currently, we run that by just burning more coal or more gas, right? Like, this is fundamentally about switching out replacing fossil fuel services, services, right? heat, electricity, but also reliability, abundance, you know, dispatch ability, etc. And we need to replace it with a better source of energy and more thermodynamically viable source of energy, right? We need to do that on at least a one to one basis, if not more, because, you know, things like carbon capture things like, you know, hydrogen generation. These take more energy


Bret Kugelmass  1:06:59  

and allows the renewable people who hate nuclear to just totally you know, anytime somebody says, Well, what about these flaws of renewables? Are those flaws of renewables? They don't? Well, hydrogen? Oh, well, that will recapture Oh, well, yeah, natural, natural gas, okay, just capture Oh, hydrogen, and they get to shut down the conversation immediately. And totally, instead of, you know, facing a harder conversation.


Chris Keefer  1:07:25  

You know, I think there's also this element where you get to sound a lot more sophisticated and solve a lot more problems and do a lot more modeling, when you're when you model something that's, you know, a Rube Goldberg machine, right, then just saying, you know, what, yes, actually, I mean, this isn't simple. I don't, you know, you talked about building 25 buildings. I mean, let's be clear, there were preconditions for the extraordinary build out, say in France of those 45 reactors, or 54 reactors and 15 years, or the way that the Chinese are looking like to being able to build the hall on one so quickly. I mean, that does take certain preconditions that takes IV industry, etc. Right. But I mean, certainly let's let's get going on that. Let's get building that. One of the current government slogans is hard things are hard. And it's like, well, the hard energy path is hard. But you know, we got to get back on it. Yeah. Because, you know, I had a great conversation again, with this wonderful Edgardo Sepulveda, the my column, my senior economics adviser, I listen to all this. I mean, also all your episodes, it's great. Well, we have a great one dropping tonight. And it's just a beautiful exploration of, you know, the, what we call sort of like the last Amory Lovins decades, right, where, you know, there was organic growth within our grids, you know, 5% per year, and there was demand demand, and then you start, you start bumping up against, you know, things that are that are harder to electrify. Right, and things that are not as viable to electrify right, like, you know, a fossil fueled car and ice engine is pretty incredible thing, incredible range, etc. In our heating, you know, from from a strict perspective, especially with resistance heating, electricity is not a great use for it. We can do it in places where we haven't seen abundance like France or Quebec with all of their hydro. But because we followed the Amory Levin's doctrine, and we just stopped building your generation are actually stagnated or decreased. We've become incredibly ill equipped for the electrification challenges that we face now where it's more of a inorganic growth, where it's a policy based growth of we're doing this for the climate imperative. And we, you know, these politicians, they've grown up in that in those last Amory Lovins decades, I guess we're going on like, shit, five decades, four or five decades now of that, you know, of these entire policymakers lives. They're not equipped with the the tools and the policy capacities to even be imagining what's required for the building that we're talking about. Wow. Yeah, that's and that's, that's staggering. And so I'm trying to I'm trying to bring that through and without intimidating as well, because, you know, I'm talking to real fiscal conservatives, and I'm trying to make the play for you know, if you believe that the government has a very limited role to play sort Only most people, even on the extreme sort of fiscal conservative right, still think that the government should be running the military national defense. But the way I'm trying to pitch it is that energy is an energy security. Yeah, I mean, it is national defense. And


Bret Kugelmass  1:10:13  

I think your dollar in dollar 40 out argument is just amazing for the fiscal conservatives also. Right.


Chris Keefer  1:10:18  

But what they're what they're allergic to, is the idea that, that it's going to be bond spending that you know, even though it is private capital, right, but the government is borrowing that and spending it. So you know, it's not tax and spend, but it's borrow and spend, I mean, but what's the return it gives you in the end, the problem with our current green bond is it just it's a bag of sort of feel good things, what's what can be funded. They're not things that necessarily give you a great return. And, you know, one of the one of the concepts that again, a girdle helped me understand was this carbon abatement costs. And it's this idea of, you know, how to get the most bang for Decarbonization, Decarbonization, Buck, and I think it was Reiner Kurtz he appeared on on Robert Bryce, his power hungry podcast, but he was looking at what's the carbon abatement cost for keeping New England's electric nuclear fleet online? Was $25 a tonne? What's the cost of putting up the utility solar firm is about $300 a tonne? What's the cost of rooftop solar $800 a ton. So we need to optimize that dollar, right, particularly coming out of you know, inflationary spending on COVID responses and things like that. If we if we're going to rein things in fiscally, government still needs to spend but they need to do it incredibly wisely. And we should be running those numbers. Those are numbers, you can actually plug into a basic calculation, I


Bret Kugelmass  1:11:29  

see the carbon abatement cost, if I can paraphrase is you're simply trying to find the metric by which to to level eyes, like you're trying to find a common a common a, there's a lot of crazy inputs, but this common metric that you can compare a variety of different


Chris Keefer  1:11:44  

energy sources, you can find the variables, plug them at. Yeah, that's, that's, that's very, so if I if I was designing that, that, you know, in what we call, I guess, what is it like a technologically neutral is better word for agnostic kind of frame? It's like, well, let's just plug in those numbers and see, you know, and obviously, there's tons of ways to manipulate numbers. And there's also we and things like that, but carbon abatement cost is is I think, a pretty, I mean, again, there's assumptions that will go into how those numbers play out, you know, there's lies, damned lies and statistics, and then there's modeling and other things as well. But yeah, I mean, I think the core message to for these more fiscally conservative politicians is, you know, this is an area of vital national interest as Isaac or says energy is a secret ingredient, everything, you know, we're going to be we're going to be eating a lot of pain here with food prices that are already higher than the 2008 economic crash. Yeah, well, stable as much as the Middle East. I mean, that's what I'm worried about four times in high prices. And that's what


Bret Kugelmass  1:12:39  

I'm worried. I'm worried I'm worried that with all these horses that you just mentioned that. That at some point, people just say, Oh, well, climate change is in our isn't our problem. Now. Because we've got we've got food prices to deal with, we've got inflation to do a we got inflation people, you know, oh, we're heading into a recession, oh, people, and you want me to worry about climate change like that, you know, people were thinking that the, you know, with this whole, like, oh, we have 12 years or the whole, like, we have 12 years to like really write the ship. Like I don't, I think they think that, Oh, if that number keeps counting down, people are just gonna get more and more urgent. And then finally, it'll kick things into gear. But I think it's going to happen, as that number clicks down. Other World forces are just going to become more of an issue and the people just because out this climate change thing, find another way to rationalize around it, oh, it wasn't that bad. Or Oh, it's too difficult, or Oh, the next generation will be living inside of virtual reality. So they don't need the environment anyway. But I can't I can't predict it. I can't predict. Anyone can predict it. But in five years, or in 10 years, it'll seem inevitable that people oh, here are the reasons why they just gave up on climate change. You know, I'm saying?


Chris Keefer  1:13:48  

Yeah, I mean, here's some thoughts I have, I think that we've been living a very easy decade, and it's not been easy for everybody. But, you know, capital has been very cheap energy has been extraordinarily cheap. And we've had the luxury to be climate concerned, and unfortunately, had the luxury to really fuck up our climate response and not do things in a very effective manner. That's that's going to change dramatically, as you're saying is other imperatives that come into play. And we see that, you know, in less developed countries, climate is not their organizing principle around which they're steering government policy or economic activity for very real, very real and understandable reasons. But, you know, as someone who's a real climate Hawk, it's been interesting coming to terms with the fact that really getting energy wrong on the within a very short term, we're talking years to a decade. It's proximate effects, you know, the human suffering, the deaths, and we're going to be seeing some of that, I think, because of the food stresses of a badly managed approach to energy are greater than climate change in the short term, right? Like we're not talking 2200 year we're talking 2030. If we really I mean, if we were really to follow the prescriptions of these very simplistic thinkers, who basically equate fossil fuels to cigarettes without understanding that we truly live in a fossil fueled civilization. I mean, look at fossil Abyssinia look at fertilizer, steel and cement, you know, those are all critically dependent on fossil fuels. If you don't have those ingredients, you don't have a civilization, you have mass starvation. And we're literally we're flirting with that we're seeing that with the way that fertilizer fertilizer prices are going. I mean, geopolitics aren't helping us at all, but just the energy crisis alone. You had Doomberg. On two episodes ago, he wrote, they wrote a great piece, you know, farmers on the brink, which goes into this perfect storm of factors, most of them are related to Bosch energy policy and a really simplistic way of thinking about fossil fuels. And for me, the takeaway is just like, it is a crime to be burning natural gas as baseload electricity. You're burning food. Right? Yeah. I mean, I think Alex Epstein says that right? I mean, yeah, or


Unknown Speaker  1:15:47  

oil? I mean, natural gas is


Chris Keefer  1:15:48  

the food is the food of food. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. So. Yeah, yeah. So I mean, I share that concern. And I think there's also the potential for real sort of populist backlash against these measures. And, you know, I mentioned our government really prides itself on sort of putting a price on pollution on carbon taxes. And I have to think through this more, and I know James Hansen, you know, as a sort of carbon fee and dividend guy as well. To me, it feels. And again, I say this with humility. It's not someone who's extraordinarily well versed in this, but my my kind of gut reaction, my common sense reaction here is that it feels very sort of consumer politics. You know, like, well, there's the see the price is a bit high at the gas station, and they're going to do these calculations and think, hey, maybe next year, I should get a Tesla. And it's very slow moving, it's very sort of granular, every person making their own, it's very market based, obviously. Right. But when you when you're faced with the kind of challenges that we are in the response that's required, it's going to take a much higher level of organization than just individual consumer choices. So, you know, I don't know, I'm inspired by I think, what what is possible? You know, it's particularly with a nuclear at this at this moment in time, like, it's extraordinary seeing the UK with starting this. I'm not sure if it's a Crown Corporation, but a government entity, a vehicle to facilitate nuclear builds great British nuclear?


Bret Kugelmass  1:17:06  

Oh, yeah. No, sorry. I was just with the British government a couple days ago, discussing this very thing and members.


Chris Keefer  1:17:12  

Well, you, you you tell you tell that to because I just read a few stories on it. And I've been, I've been very excited about it. But what do you what do you understand about it?


Bret Kugelmass  1:17:19  

Um, it's still being developed? Yeah. I can tell you right now, that they're still working on the exact specifics. But the urgency is high. Like, I know what I heard. And they're like, they're very serious, like, this is, like, right now, I feel like it's just a name. But it's a name with a lot of political capital and a lot of political momentum behind it. Even if it doesn't have the details of what the exact like, you know, like government or corporate structure is going to be they are deadly serious about this. You know, what is it called? It's like the Great British Bake Off, but it gets great, great, great British


Chris Keefer  1:17:59  

nuclear, nuclear. Yeah. Yeah, that would be coming from. It's coming from a conservative government. Right. But I think it shows you that when the rubber meets the road, and when, you know, energy security, when energy when there's an energy crisis, that we will find a way, right. And there's so many excuses made for why we're not taking, you know, bolder action on climate and more bolder action with nuclear. And once there's a real rationale there. You see things happen quickly, I think we're at the verge of seeing that happening across the world. Yeah,


Bret Kugelmass  1:18:29  

it's so funny, let me just continue on this on this great British nuclear plan for a second because I was going to critique or at least offer a bridge be between what you were saying and how I feel about things when it comes to you what's going to allow for, like, the greatest scale up of nuclear possible. And I think the great Persian nuclear actually might be the perfect compromise, because I actually think that market forces can be used more effectively, to, like create huge, scalable global change. And I think your point, if I understand it correctly, was no, you need some, like, you know, the, like, the power of a big government in the direction and like, the the tools and the force and the money and the infrastructure behind that to make that change. And I actually think that's what this great British nuclear thing might be. It might be like, the lovechild of those two things. Yeah, I think it's going to be the power the vision tools of the government, but it's going to be enabling a private market actors to, to actually implement.


Chris Keefer  1:19:28  

Yeah, I mean, as I as you know, it's this whole thing of, you know, as you learn more, you're scaling the mountain and the mountain just gets higher and higher, the more you more complexity read into it. And, you know, hopefully the path you take is one of just greater and greater humility, despite gathering expertise right. And so I find myself you know, looking back at positions that held six months or a year ago and being thinking just how incredibly naive I was, and and how naive I still am now, right? And so, I mean, I have my biases that I bring into this, but I find myself more and more open to again shedding shedding tribal affiliation isn't just trying to figure out what the hell works? And what is pragmatic and what is possible as well. Yes, certainly within my within my sort of political origins, a lot of it is, you know, make believe, and fantasy play, to be honest in terms of the left the political left. Yeah, yeah, it's, it's, I call it live action. roleplay. A lot of the time, right. Oh, yeah.


Bret Kugelmass  1:20:19  

Yeah. Okay, I also want to hear about your moves as I mean, what do you have a name for your like, what do you call yourself are now an activist and advocate, a thought leader, let's call you for I'm just gonna pick I'm gonna say nuclear thought leader. As a nuclear thought leader, obviously, Canada is your home. And and you're gaining, you know, a huge amount of traction, politically there. Howard, do you have ambitions to do it? Maybe you have ambitions? But do you have like a game plan to leverage your success in Canada at the Global at a global scale? Like, are you? Are you going to almost like create like a like a, like a Chris Keefer playbook of what worked in Canada and start chopping that around to where? And then what are you going to are going to create a bunch of like, a little mini kreski? First around the world? Are you going to go around the world?


Chris Keefer  1:21:19  

What? I've got one, one mini kreski for my boy, you know, but he'll he'll be quite different than me, I'm sure. But yeah, you know, something that I think is really, really vital. Is is a tool to really, you know, speed up the education process for advocates for politicians as well. Right. And, and, and it's this, this idea of having a set of set of talking points, essentially, right, meticulously crafted, you know, probably tweetable, or Twitter length. And I'm drawing on some of the work of Alex Epstein here. But taking it in an obviously a very different direction. But again, I borrow I think Robert Bryce says this amateurs, amateurs borrow professional steal, so I'll steal steal that and, you know, with my own my own imperatives to make the differences that I have from from Mr. Epstein. But this idea of of having these carefully crafted talking points, which are hyperlinked to, you know, a background memo that really helps you understand that talking point in a lot of detail, so that when you deliver that talking point, you you have the streamlined way of of having some degree of expertise basis for it. I love that. That's in background, that's an O for a talking point. That's awesome. Yeah, yeah. And then maybe you hyperlink that memo, even to some primary literature. But like, that's an enormous amount of work. And it takes really skilled people to pull it off. I've got some really, really skilled people. Shadows to Dylan moon in particular, my I shouldn't say my the Decouple producer. And, and really real jack of all trades, but you know, we've been working on these talking points for for the podcast. And, you know, I put Dylan on to so many different tasks and does an excellent job. But it's, you know, it's pretty ADHD in terms of, I've got this great idea, we should do this forget that, you know, it's limited human resources being a pretty small little media enterprise. But we got to really put that to work. That concept with the briefings and memos that we made for politicians. And so that's, that's something I'm really excited about. And there's, I remember hearing about this some time ago, there's a group called the Albert Einstein Institute, and I think they're kind of CIA affiliated. They've been involved a lot in the colored revolutions, like the cedar revolution in Lebanon. And I think I think maybe my don't even. But it they have a kind of playbook of civil disobedience playbook that they distributed to activists in countries with really, you know, repressive, political scenarios. And it's a kind of playbook as you were sort of discussing there, right. And that would include safe air in a country where certain songs or music are banned, right. Some of the earlier iterations I think were written in like the 80s or 90s, when you still had those big, not Walkmans. We call those things like that boxes, right? So yeah, you got a record, put it on, like it's a cassette player, right? You put the prohibited song on that, and you'd, you'd throw it in a garbage can on the street with a song on it, and it would play, it's just the act of playing a band song in a repressive country hasn't has a huge impact, right, or, I believe it was in Syria at the beginning of the Arab Spring there. There was a huge fountain outside of the outside of the like, internal internal security internal police building, and some activists through red dye into it. So it was a fountain of blood. Right. And so it's this it's this, what I'm what I'm getting at is this concept here. Right, a playbook. You know, they took sort of best practices in terms of in terms of civil disobedience, in particular, with particular focus on what works well within authoritarian countries. And they were able to arm activists to essentially overthrow those countries. And that happened to align quite nicely with the American Pearl interest and it was you know, obviously, done in a in a in a pretty prescribed way. But all that aside, these are the things that sort of percolate through to me. So this idea of of these kind of talking points, and this is not this is not propaganda, right? This is not, this is stuff that's drawing on very, very high quality evidence. So it's a big project, it's gonna take a lot of work, if anyone's listening that wants to help fund that. Get in touch. But these are the kinds of tools when you when you talk about sort of what what do I feel like I have to offer more broadly. I mean, I come with a lot of humility, because there's already a ton of people doing great work internationally. And we have a lot to learn from each other. There's, of course, the facto standard for nuclear network, which I think ties together almost all of those advocates in a great big happy family. We're all constantly learning and interchanging Yeah, what


Bret Kugelmass  1:25:39  

impressive group that is. I'm never like, you know, just like I sit back and I'm, like, huge admiration of what you're doing. As I see, like the news trickle in from the whole stand up for nuclear crowd. I just sit back and just like all I mean, it's like the favorite part of my night when I see some of those texts flying and see how much everyone's accomplished. I'm just like, nice people. Like someone that I can't wait till. I mean, yes, people, I guarantee people are gonna start reading books, you know, now, but when someone writes the, like, the like, the encyclopedia what happened? You know, I think it's gonna just be awesome to read the stories.


Chris Keefer  1:26:16  

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Ya know, it's, you know, we're like all these little grains of sand on a beach that are that are piling up into something. But I talked about it you know, in terms of looking at the you don't you're in like an old school like karate, martial arts Dojo or something. And there's like the scrolls of the various you know, they're not called gurus whatever. The sensei is down through time. And you're like, it's interesting.


Bret Kugelmass  1:26:40  

Yeah, like Star Wars. Books at the Jedi. Yeah, so


Chris Keefer  1:26:44  

like, I don't know like the the nuclear sensei is like, I think I am sure there's there's figures that predate this. I'm thinking about William Siri at the you know, the Sierra Club president who basically made Diablo Canyon happen, right, had the rational discussions to preserve another area of scenic beauty and to make a pragmatic decision about building Diablo Canyon which ended up to be a great environmental choice for California. And William Siri, folks like James Lovelock, the independent scientist and inventor who very early on saw the case for nuclear influence folks like Stuart Brand, who in turn influenced Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus attorney fluid sauce. Right, right. And then but it's interesting, because it started, I think, as you know, some very lone voices, and intellectuals and theorists and philosophers. And then they had a lot of courage to come out and sacrifice reputation and really pay a heavy price like thinking folks like Mark Lynas as well. Yep. And but then they sort of created a space for others to sort of flourish and bloom and for movement to come together. And and I think we're really seeing that transition from thought leaders and think tanks to an actual grassroots movement chapters, organizations forming. You know, again, it's a David and Goliath battle, and we are the David's displaying all of the perceptions of you guys, because of the passion people see and how effective we are. And they're like, You must be, you know, just getting bankrolled by the nuclear industry. And it's just such a funny irony. But their greatest story is, is, I think, standard for nuclear folks, they save, they saved the Illinois plants and basically got nothing but trouble for doing it from the nuclear industry. Yeah,


Bret Kugelmass  1:28:23  

if people actually know I mean, it is like, yeah, it's very frustrating because even sometimes in like political discourse, like on very popular podcasts, I'll hear like even on Joe Rogan, or something, you know, which I'm a huge fan of that podcast, I heard someone say something about, you know, how, oh, the nuclear advocates, you know, how it's just oh, so equal, you've got like your nuclear bros against your environmental people, and like, oh, the nuclear people have so much money, and they're like, it'd be living this life and seeing like, my friends, like, like struggle financially put, like, not had any money, like sacrificing like making a lot of money working for some big company, all their personal money into this nuclear advocacy being turned away by the nuclear companies had seen the nuclear companies invest money that's almost anti nuclear. And then this year, that criticism in the public discourse, like I don't know, I don't want to say it frustrates me. I mean, it definitely frustrates me It saddens me but it also makes me think that like, there's almost no point in having a conversation. Like there's almost no point in trying to articulate that to like the public audience because clearly, they they're just swayed by the other argument like too easily. And this brings me back to like, my like, my take on on like, what we need to do, like, we just to me, it's like okay, well, we just need to make nuclear cheap and accessible. And you know, in the building a shit ton of it and actually not care. Like, I don't remind you tell me if you think I'm off on this, but like my and maybe I'm just a little disenchanted, but my philosophy is, we only need enough public support to get Whatever that quote unquote social license is such that early efforts to build more nuclear don't get shut down. And if you can get those early efforts to build more nuclear working in a cost effective time effective way, then you create this flywheel of market forces to take over the rest and like, never even have to win everyone over. You can let people lie about you, but just build, you know, build 10,000 gigawatts. Just do it. You know.


Chris Keefer  1:30:29  

I mean, it's interesting that when I was in Glasgow at COP 26, you know, we participated in some of the climate marches. And I remember like, people coming in, I was preparing you and I was, I was, you know, in my doctor garb, and I pull up my medical ID and I'd be like, Medicare, paid by the Ontario health insurance.


Bret Kugelmass  1:30:46  

Well, you actually, everyone have the most gotta hate to say credible, but like the eat most easily to understand. Because you have this full time job as a doctor in Canada. It's like, you are unimpeachable in terms of your credentials more so than


Chris Keefer  1:31:03  

on I mean, I yeah, I mean, I am full time, but I give up shifts every once in a while like this, this trip to Ottawa. I mean, it costs me to do this, right. Yes.


Bret Kugelmass  1:31:11  

I didn't mean, right. Yeah. I was just ranting about all of my friends who have sacrificed so much. I mean, you're one of those people to like, no doubt.


Chris Keefer  1:31:20  

Yeah. I mean, luckily, it doesn't, it doesn't feel like a sacrifice, because I just I find it so interesting, and stimuli. But God yes, I would love for, you know, Team David to be much better resource. Because ultimately, like we have, we have a world to win, right? We have a climate to win, we have, you know, human prosperity to win. But there was something else. I've been thinking a lot about this idea of kind of a, like this virtuous cycle, like as I've been interacting with politicians in the media. And again, it's based on this sort of influencer model and this kind of paleo psychology. But, you know, as these these bold talking points in memo, memo, start to, you know, infiltrate through the back benches and work their way up through the political parties, and politicians start feeling a little more confident in what we're saying, as, as the media, you know, our, it's been amazing. I've been on probably 15 or 20 Talk radio shows in the last few months, you know, we're starting to see really, really good print media coverage from newspapers, which are traditionally Anti-nuclear And we're starting to see the shift, like you remember, you know, in the early 2000s, when they had a discussion about climate change, you know, journalism is all about being fair balanced. So they bring on, you know, the climate change denier and the climate scientist and, you know, be balanced, right. And there's been, I think that, that sense of needing to do that in the media up until very recently of like, okay, we brought on Dr. Kiefer's, we've got to bring on someone who's anti nuclear, but I think the Anti-nuclear folks like their their credibility is sort of coming to be seen as similar to that of the climate denialists they're just they're so out of sync with with the science. Yeah. So that's, that's, that's really exciting to see. But there's this virtuous cycle is interplay. Right, that I see, you know, the momentum that's building where politicians are speaking more boldly the public starting to listen up, the media is starting to speak more intelligently about nuclear these messages are, I think, then then, curling of Hardcore History, he talks about, like intellectual contagion. And these ideas are, I mean, that's terrible phrase to use. I'm kicking myself as a doctor and a COVID pandemic, talking about it that way, but but there is a certain sort of, like, let's stick to virtuous cycle. Take foot out of mouth. Yeah, yeah. But yeah, yeah. Wow. Okay, that's exciting times, Brett, it's exciting times, I would not have imagined being in this position personally, or, you know, just globally in terms of all of the exciting things that are happening. It gives one optimism and what are otherwise pretty dark times. And, yeah, we just got to all work on being the best humans we can, because they have a cognitive bias to sometimes towards Doom towards, you know, thinking that code is going to be a lot worse than it ended up being or, you know, a variety of other issues. And so I'm always trying to check that, you know, do a little, a little cognitive checks. I gotta say, I'm a natural pessimist, you think? Yeah, I would say so. Yeah.


Bret Kugelmass  1:34:07  

Natural optimist. Yeah. No, yeah. It's fun. It's fun. You're too okay. So you are training yourself to think the other right sometimes I have to train myself like when a business perspective, I have to like walk right on cognitive biases, right? To make sure I Sackers desk


Chris Keefer  1:34:23  

Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I'm on the other side, I need to do that. But I'm focused, like, you know, in that last podcast I did with Doomberg on this the perfect The Perfect Storm affecting world agriculture. I mean, it's, it's concerning and things don't get more serious than food shortages right now. They really don't.


Bret Kugelmass  1:34:39  

I know. That's all that's always been my biggest. I mean, I started giving talks about this three years ago when I first got invited to like, get on the climate change talking circuit. My you know, my biggest concern like I don't buy into the whole like, you know, we're all gonna like be underwater type thing, I guess. I mean, maybe that Yeah, I mean, like, eventually Sure, but like, why biggest concern has always been a disruption to precipitation patterns, like and that can actually happen in the short term. Because it's more because that it already happens. It's just a matter about the frequency which had happened. So and you see that affecting billions of people. But then, like, you know, I had some liquidation optimism when I have some friends that are in the like, robotic agricultural space, and they're like, bread. I get that you're a little concerned about food shortages. But let me just tell you like what we're doing from like a productivity per acre perspective, it's like wild like just the one who asked we can feed the whole world, you know, that. Like, they told me this stuff, but then you know, things start shifting again. And, and like we have what's going on with Ukraine and Russia week crisis, and and I listened to your episode with Doomberg. Is it Doomberg? Or Doomberg?


Chris Keefer  1:35:51  

Doom Doom deal? Yes.


Bret Kugelmass  1:35:53  

And I was also like, a little snack, gotta get back from agriculture, friends and scraping. But yeah, it's like,


Chris Keefer  1:36:00  

yes, it's great, great, having smart friends to kind of bounce this off of and, you know, again, for someone who's a non expert in that area, like me to be able to take in a variety of different perspectives. Yeah, definitely, definitely. Hungry people become angry people pretty quickly in Russia. And I think that, again, those those proximate impacts of climate change are so much more the social political ones. And,


Bret Kugelmass  1:36:23  

and not only younger people, it's also just, it's just horrifying that we can let people starve given the amount of abundance that's available to us as modern society. I think that's really disgusting that we can even like as a society that we can even allow for anyone across the planet to starve ever, like this hat. Like, I don't understand why this isn't the I mean, we've done a pretty good job. I think, overall, when you see how much calories we're able to deliver on the world, but we can do even better. And that should just be like, okay, kind of riff with you for a second. So we got this like un that's like totally defunct, why don't we have like a huge like United Nations for and I know that the UN has like a sustainable the 17 target goals, whatever. But like, I don't understand why we don't have like an individual, worldwide agency, you know, 180 countries get together form this agency, and it's just all about, like, distributing calories across the world, okay, like, we're gonna make like mission number one, make sure nobody starves and everyone has clean drinking water, and then like, okay, but like, let's, let's seriously focus on this, and let's make sure it happens. And then after that, Okay, now let's move on to like, Okay, everyone has like basic medicine. And like, to me, it seems like that should be like a shared mission that we can bring together the world's countries for.


Chris Keefer  1:37:38  

I mean, those are easy valleys to get behind. But I am seeing that optimistic bias and you shining through quite bright, they're bred for me. For me, I think the stakes are, you know, I've talked about this before as well. But this this idea of kind of innovate or die, right. And the climate catastrophists are very capable of, of making their worst predictions come true. If we follow their their policy proposals, which are anti innovation, which are, you know, this romantic idea that we can go back to a simpler, better time, you know, burn that biomass farm using only methods, you know, that are 200 years old, and just watch what's going to happen. And we're seeing that I mean, look what happened with Sri Lanka, when they, you know, on a whim, shut off all synthetic inputs to their agricultural system. Oh, why didn't? Oh, it's wild. We're doing it. We're doing a show on it any day now. But, yeah, no, check into that. But, you know, like, ultimately, yes, you know, we are going to need to innovate, there's always going to be new problems that will arise, we're going to create new problems with the technologies that we develop, we're going to have to solve them with new technologies, a wheel that is forever rotating forward. And we really did the inertia behind that the billions of people that depend on on that innovation, in that process. Are there. So So that's this this ideological battle of ideas again, which which we really need to win. And it's just such a shame, spending such a large amount of my time in a rearguard action fighting, you know, the Anti-nuclear people or the anti biotech people, and really using credibly well resourced environmental NGOs, you know, with, you know, with global annual operating budgets in the billions and all they do is campaign all they do is engaged in this battle of ideas and what's what's team David doing, we're doing what we can, but you know, on very, very limited resources, and the strength of our arguments is what carries us but I'm certainly looking forward to more organizations coming forward better resources flowing in, you know, because there's incredible human capacity. There's really really smart people you know, making these these arguments and I'm just really hoping to see more of them being able to move into this as a career because there's there's a world to win.


Bret Kugelmass  1:39:42  

Yeah, pretty amazing. Well, okay, we're approaching two hours this is gonna be my last podcast ever. Anything else that we should cover before?


Chris Keefer  1:39:50  

No, I think I think that's that's a record for me as well Brent, but


Bret Kugelmass  1:39:56  

okay, well, Chris, as always, just amazing. In amazing, amazing amazing to watch what you've done. And yeah, let's let's keep collaborating let's, let's, you know, let's keep seeing what happens over the next few months over the next year. This is this is a wild journey and I'm just, I'm just so glad that people like you on board for it.


Chris Keefer  1:40:18  

Yeah, well, thanks. Thanks, Matt. It's it's, like I say you've been an inspiration from day one, and it's awesome collaborating with you and learning from you and, and getting that optimistic heterodoxy. What you're saying is actually just the most like vanilla stuff ever. Right? It's just build the ship to build. Yeah. Okay, that's all right.



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