A dozen Colorado School of Mines graduate students visited state legislators to advocate for nuclear energy as a continued option for the state.
Jarrod Gogolski, a PhD student in the nuclear science and engineering program and president of the American Nuclear Society chapter, organized the trip after learning that constituents can always visit with lawmakers, time permitting. “The main goal I envisioned was to increase awareness of nuclear energy and have nuclear energy remain a possibility for the future energy portfolio of Colorado,” he said.
Gogolski and 11 other nuclear engineering and radiochemistry students headed to the state Capitol on April 24 and met with state Reps. Monica Duran and Chris Hansen, state Sen. Jessie Danielson and an aide to state Sen. Tammy Story.
“Chris Hansen has a B.S. in nuclear engineering and was excited to talk to us,” Gogolski said. “He has been proposing some clean-energy bills and was very enthusiastic.” The other three lawmakers represent districts that include Mines and the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood, home to the USGS TRIGA reactor, which Mines researchers use for experiments.
“We discussed the nuclear engineering and radiochemistry programs at Mines, why nuclear energy is important, and that the reactor at the Denver Federal Center is important for some of the research projects,” Gogolski said. The legislators urged the students to contact them regarding any nuclear-related bills to help them make informed decisions.
Also on the trip were Brian Arko, Erin Bertelsen, Nathan Bessen, Ryan Collette, Madeleine Eddy, Sydney Holdampf, Jonathan Karpesky, Vanessa Linero, Adam Parler, Tessa Rider and Ian Wilkinson. Joining the graduate students were Jessica Bachini, assistant research professor of chemistry, and Kendra Gogolski.
While the legislators had limited time to chat during a busy time at the Capitol, the students were able to share a fact sheet that touted the benefits of nuclear energy and provided an overview of the nuclear engineering and radiochemistry programs at Mines. The students also gave lawmakers a simulated uranium fuel pellet.
“All of us enjoyed the opportunity to go to the state Capitol and we plan to go again next year,” Gogolski said.
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