Her name is Anne Lauvergeon, but because she’s spearheaded France’s nuclear revolution, commentators call her “Atomic Anne.” And the US desperately needs someone like her, writes the New York Times’ Roger Cohen. Thanks to Lauvergeon’s advocacy, France has thrown aside nuclear jitters, and now gets 80% of its electricity from nuclear plants—compared to 20% in the US.
Cohen knows that nuclear is still a dirty word in the US, evoking Chernobyl images and nuclear-waste worries, but with climate change escalating, we can’t keep getting 50% of our power from coal, Cohen says. Lauvergeon’s company is building newer, cheaper, lower-waste facilities, both in France and around the world, and the US should be a client. Vive les Nukes!