I am Kristin Zaitz, mom to Kate (6), Oliver (9), and Sasha (1), a lifelong environmentalist and employee of Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant for the last 17 years. I changed my mind on nuclear after I met the people who dedicate their lives to producing electricity from this amazing pollution-free source of energy. I grew up in the town of Auburn, California in the Sierra foothills. I started Mothers for Nuclear with Heather because I fear the consequences of moving away from nuclear to fossil fuels & renewables. I have held various roles in civil engineering, seismic analysis, retrofit and upgrade projects. I've been able to do cool things including scuba diving off the coast around the plant and rappelling off the top of the containment domes. In my free time I run marathons, and volunteer in trail-building, habitat restoration and state parks and beach clean-up. I graduated from Cal-Poly with a degree in civil engineering. You can read my full story by clicking here.
I am Iida Rushalme, and I grew up in Finland where I was never far from a forest. Nature and animals were my first love, and books the second. My thirst to understand lead me to fascination with the natural sciences. I studied Biology in Sweden, where I met my Swedish husband. After our studies we moved to Switzerland, where we started a family. We have two girls, now 7 and 5 years old. While I feel most at home in the Finnish countryside of northern forests and little lakes, I also adore the majestic landscapes of the alps in the Swiss countryside where we live, and we love hiking and snowboarding in the mountains.
But I feel a dread when I fly over Europe and realise how little wilderness there is left. I still think a forest is the best place for a person to be, and I’d like my children to grow up knowing that there are still tigers and rhinos and polar bears in their natural habitats somewhere on this earth. As fascinating an aspect as humans are of nature, I’m hoping we won’t eat up all the other flora and fauna on our way.
This is why it is important to me to make thoughtful choices in the way I live. This includes energy production. I personally went from a fear of nuclear to understanding how many of my assumptions about it were astonishingly far from the truth. The more I read, the more I realized that we direly need more nuclear power to help solve some of the greatest threats to the environment and humanity, including mitigation of climate change, protection of natural resources, reductions in air pollution, and lifting people from poverty. I joined Mothers for Nuclear because I want to help leave a better world for our children. You can read my full story here.
I am Emma Redfoot, environmentalist and graduate student. I received my undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies from Lewis and Clark College in Oregon. During college I worked in South America - on an organic permaculture farm in Ecuador and then researched volunteer tourism in Peru. My experiences in South America made me impatient with the general environmentalist narrative. I was searching for a bigger answer to address the lack of opportunity I had seen in Peru that characterizes many developing and urbanizing countries, while also addressing the environmental issues that had been the focus of my undergraduate work. During this time, I came to the conclusion that energy is the soil from which everything from clean water to literacy to women’s rights can grow. Energy accessibility, especially in urban areas, plays an important role in economic development. It also provides the means for people to empower themselves. I decided I wanted to be part of the solution. I am now studying nuclear engineering at the University of Idaho, and am a proud member of Mothers for Nuclear. You can read my full story by clicking here.
I am Sarah Woolf, I am a lifelong environmentalist and an engineer in the nuclear industry at both R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant and James A FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant for the last four years. In my current role, as a Site Risk Management Engineer, I assist my plant in managing and mitigating risk in day-to-day operations to ensure error-free operation. I grew up on the Kansas plains just outside of Wichita, Kansas. I studied Mechanical Engineering and Journalism at Rochester Institute of Technology—with emphasis on Thermodynamics, Renewable Energies and Political Science—and graduated with honors in 2013. In my free-time, I am an international landscape photographer. After working in the wind energy industry as a collegiate researcher and realizing the shockingly low power densities yielded by renewable energy sources, I decided it was time to give nuclear power a chance. I realize now, as a nuclear worker, that my fears based on media misnomer and preconception were unfounded. I joined Mother’s for Nuclear when I realized just how paralyzing this fear is to the general public. I fear that the premature closure of operating power plants is a costly mistake both financially and environmentally and I want to help others understand the benefits of this zero-emission, reliable, base-load source. You can read my full story by clicking here.
I am Lynn Walter, a mother and a grandmother, professional engineer, community volunteer and clean energy advocate. I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area appreciating the open space in the East Bay hills and becoming an avid hiker, backpacker and camper. Some of the most memorable hikes in my youth included Mt. Whitney, Mt. Lassen, Half Dome, Devil’s Post Piles and the many ridges around the bay. Our family spent many weeks each year camping and skin-diving along the beautiful California coast from Monterey to Ft. Bragg. Over the years, I grew to appreciate the importance of California’s resources, the beauty of its landscapes, and the delicate balance between nature and civilization. Growth is inevitable and brings with it many challenges incuding having enough clean energy to support sustainable growth and prosperity. I see a future where California power supply is reliable, low cost and entirely carbon free. I see a future where every Californian can breathe in clean air, swim in untainted seas and live a prosperous life.
I like the idea of using all available technologies to produce clean energy. I got my degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California at Davis. My major had an emphasis on thermal energy systems and we studied solar, wind as well as fossil and nuclear power production. I learned all about the physics of generating power but not about the impact on climate change as this topic was not yet reaching public awareness at that time. After college I entered into the nuclear industry; construction and then operation of the current fleet of nuclear plants. I also held Senior Operator License Certificate from the Diablo Canyon Power Plant. I learned all about the benefits and the safe operation of a nuclear plant – and became a fan of its reliable, carbon free power production.
I joined Mothers for Nuclear because I believe that nuclear power has a place in our future, and that women in particular can help ensure that future for our children and our children’s children.
I am Heather Matteson, mother to Zoe (10), a lifelong environmentalist, reactor operator and procedure writer at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant for the last 14 years. I gradually changed my mind on nuclear power, and only now feel that I can speak out after continually questioning every aspect of the technology over my entire career. I grew up exploring the arid deserts around my family’s trailer in Miami, Arizona. I moved to San Luis Obispo in college and have been here ever since. I live a low-impact lifestyle consistent with the values passed on to me of my parents. I started Mothers for Nuclear with Kristin not just because I fear air pollution and climate change but also because I love the desert and don’t want to see so much of California’s Mojave covered in solar farms, which require 150 times more land than nuclear. I spend my free time running, hiking and volunteering in the community. I have a materials engineering degree from Cal Poly. You can read my full story by clicking here.