Building people power for
climate & energy justice

Technical Experts

Below are bios of some of the experts we have worked with and continue to rely on in our work.


Arnie Gundersen

Arnie is an energy advisor with 39-years of nuclear power engineering experience. A former nuclear industry senior vice president, he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in nuclear engineering, holds a nuclear safety patent, and was a licensed reactor operator. He now works with Fairewinds Associates, Inc. performing technical research and publishing reports on pressing nuclear power issues.

Dr. Arjun Makhijani

A longtime ally of NC WARN… Arjun Makhijani is President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Takoma Park, MD. A recognized authority on energy issues, Dr. Makhijani is the author and co-author of numerous reports and books on energy and environment related issues. He has testified before Congress, and has appeared on ABC World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News, CBS 60 Minutes, NPR, CNN, and BBC, among others. He has served as a consultant on energy issues to utilities, including TVA, the LawrenceBerkeley Laboratory, and several agencies of the United Nations. His 2008 book, Carbon Free, Nuclear Free (downloaded for free  at maps a U.S. course correction to curb climate change and achieve energy independence. He provided stellar testimony in our federal lawsuit to stop the US nuclear “renaissance.”

Dr. James Hansen

Over 20 years ago, Dr. James Hansen was one of the first scientists to speak out about climate change, warning Congress that greenhouse gas emissions are putting the planet on a dangerous course. Dr. Hansen retired in 2013 as head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and is now an adjunct professor at Columbia University. He remains one of the world’s leading researchers on global warming.

He’s also one of the most courageous scientists in calling for urgent changes to deal with this “planetary emergency,” particularly calling for a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants. That’s why he’s helping NC WARN and a statewide coalition fight construction of Duke Energy’s Cliffside plant (shown here with June Blotnick and Jim Warren).

Mike Nicklas

Mike Nicklas is co-founder of Innovative Design, Inc. Since its beginning in 1977, the Raleigh-based firm has completed over 700 projects incorporating renewable energy technologies, and is a national leader in providing natural daylighting design solutions. The firm has pioneered the integration of photovoltaics into building skin design, and the development of thermal solar systems for industrial and commercial roof assemblies. Mike has served as chair of both the NC Solar Energy Association and the American Solar Energy Society, and president of the International Solar Energy Society.

Amory Lovins

Amory LovinsRocky Mountain Institute Co-founder, Chairman, and Chief Scientist, is a consultant experimental physicist. He has lately led the redesign of over $30 billion worth of facilities in 29 sectors for radical energy and resource efficiency.The Wall Street Journal named Mr. Lovins one of thirty-nine people worldwide “most likely to change the course of business in the ’90s”; Newsweek has praised him as “one of the Western world’s most influential energy thinkers”; Amory’s 2005 forum with NC WARN at UNC-CH-s Friday Center was widely attended and appreciated.

Dr. William H. Schlesinger

William H. Schlesinger is James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Biogeochemistry and Former Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University. Now at the Cary Institute, Schlesinger focuses his research on global change ecology. He is the co-principal investigator for the Free Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FACE) Experiment in the Duke Forest—a project that aims to understand how an entire forest ecosystem (vegetation and soils) will respond to growth in elevated CO2. He has also worked extensively in desert ecosystems and their response to global change—often leading to the degradation of soils andregional desertification. He has served as a witness for NC WARN before the NC Utilities Commission.

Dave Lochbaum

Dave LochbaumDirector, Nuclear Safety Project, is one of the nation’s top independent experts on nuclear power. At the Union of Concerned Scientists, he monitors safety issues at the nation’s nuclear power plants, raises concerns with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and responds to breaking events, such as current concerns over aging power plants and plant fire safety. Mr. Lochbaum is a nuclear engineer by training and worked in nuclear power plants for 17 years. Concerned about nuclear safety and frustrated with the NRC’s complacency, Mr. Lochbaum joined UCS in 1996. Since 1998, Dave has been a close advisor as NC WARN has helped reduce risks at Shearon Harris and other nuclear plants.

Lois Gibbs

Lois Gibbs is a leading defender of the public from the dangers of toxic pollution. In 1978, she discovered that her neighborhood of Love Canal in Niagara Falls, New York, was built on top of 21,000 tons of hazardous chemical waste. Her work through the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) helps grassrootsorganizations nationwide demand accountability from industrial polluters and the U.S. government. During the 1990s, Lois led the national charge as NC WARN and others blocked toxic waste incinerators, thus reducing the public exposure to dioxin. Lois and NC WARN also were among the core organizers of three national public-scientist conferences on dioxin.

Edwin Lyman

Edwin Lyman, senior scientist in the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, DC. Dr. Lyman’s research focuses on the prevention of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism. Dr. Lyman is an active member of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management. In the spring of 2001, he served on a Nuclear Regulatory Commission expert panel on the role and direction of the NRC Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research and briefed the Commission on his findings. Ed has helped NC WARN on issues of nuclear waste and reactor safety.

Robert Alvarez

Robert Alvarez, a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., currently focused on nuclear disarmament, environmental and energy policies. Bob worked to help establish the environmental cleanup program in the DOE, strengthened the Clean Air Act, uncovered several serious nuclear safety and health problems, improved medical radiation regulations, and created a transition program for communities and workers affected by the closure of nuclear weapons facilities. In 1975 Bob helped found and direct the Environmental Policy Institute (EPI), a respected national public interest organization. He co-authored the pivotal 2003 Princeton study on the vulnerability of spent fuel pools, which led to the National Academy of Sciences’ 2005 call for risk reduction measures at US nuclear plants.

Paul Gunter

Paul Gunter with Beyond Nuclear, an organization who’s aim is to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. Paul covers all aspects of the nuclear fuel chain with a special focus on reactor operations. He previously served for 16 years as the Director of the Reactor Watchdog Project for Nuclear Information and Resource Service. He is a lead spokesperson on nuclear reactor hazards and security issues and acts as the regulatory watchdog over the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the nuclear power industry. He was a co-founder of the Clamshell Alliance in 1976 to oppose the construction of the Seabrook (NH) nuclear power plant through non-violent direct action. An activist and energy policy analyst, he has been an ardent critic of atomic power development for more than 30 years. He is a longtime and trusted ally for NC WARN.

John Blackburn, Ph.D.

John Blackburn, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Economics, Duke University. The late Dr. John Blackburn contributed greatly to NC WARN’s energy economics research. For a list of his reports for NC WARN, click here.

ECR2 VideoClick the image above to watch our new 30-second video. Then visit our Emergency Climate Response page to see how you can help make sure our leaders stand up to Duke Energy.

JohnsonsAt our annual meeting in December, we presented the John O. Blackburn Award to Joyce and Rev. Nelson Johnson in recognition of their lifelong dedication to social justice.

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