Posted by David Martin

Welcome! As of today, the Weinberg Foundation passes the baton to the newly-formed Alvin Weinberg Foundation. Though our name may have changed, our ethos, activities and objectives remain the same.

From lethal smogs in Asia to climate change to the billions who still lack access to energy, it is clear that there has never been a more urgent need for safer, cleaner and cheaper nuclear power. Urgent development of next-generation nuclear power is essential if we are to close the world’s dangerous clean energy gap.

We are proud to continue the legacy of our namesake, Dr Alvin Weinberg. Dr Weinberg dedicated his whole career to creating an energy system that would allow humanity to flourish in a crowded world replete with aspiration. He understood that many of our environmental problems are technological problems that can be fixed through human ingenuity. Thirty years ahead of his time (as ever), he recognised nuclear power would have a crucial role to play in combating climate change. He also recognised that dialogue and public understanding are essential if we are ever to develop a clean energy system fit for the 21st Century. Above all, Dr Weinberg was optimistic about the future. We will try our best to live up to his legacy in everything we do.

We are delighted to be the UK’s first charity dedicated to advancing next-generation nuclear energy. Though we have always been a non-profit organisation operating in the public interest, there is something special about being a UK-registered charity: for the first time, the UK Charity Commission has judged the promotion of advanced nuclear power’s role in tackling climate change to be of clear public benefit.

Five years ago, anyone imagining a pro-nuclear charity would have been thought mad. Yet now, a charity dedicated to advanced nuclear seems to be an idea whose time has come. A great cultural shift is under way. Growing numbers of leading environmentalists and scientists publicly support advanced nuclear power. Science-based NGOs like Friends of the Earth openly support research into advanced reactors. Pro-nuclear documentary Pandora’s Promise won the “Green” prize at last year’s Sheffield DocFest.  Awareness of the need for, and benefits of, advanced nuclear energy is growing. We aim to strengthen this positive trend by taking our evidence-based message to NGOs, policy-makers, the general public — and to the scientists and the engineers whose expertise we badly need.

But we can’t rest here. Much remains to be done. Will OECD countries reverse the drastic cuts to their fission R&D budgets? Will COP21 in Paris support advanced nuclear power? Which other NGOs will come out in support of nuclear R&D? Throughout, we will ensure that next-generation nuclear power is high up the agenda.

We hope that our new website and blog — much expanded — will help to stimulate the debate we so urgently need. Please take a look around the new website and let us know your thoughts. As ever, if you’ve any comments at all, don’t hesitate to contact our team.

We will always work for a world where our policies are freed and our hopes liberated, no longer held prisoner by the limits of 20th Century energy technology. We are at the start of a long journey and hope you’ll join us on the ride. It’s going to be fun.

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I am delighted to support the Alvin Weinberg Foundation’s crucial mission of researching the potential of new nuclear technology and raising awareness amongst the public and civil society.

— Professor Jim al-Khalili OBE


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