Let's Talk Nuclear
We believe that if there is any chance that humans are contributing to global warming and other symptoms of a changing climate through greenhouse gas emissions, then serious and responsible efforts must be made to transition to a low-carbon global energy economy.
We also believe that, all things considered, nuclear energy has provided plentiful, reliable, and safe low-carbon energy for many decades, and that it and other technological innovations such as hydrogen-powered transportation are key to freeing the world from dependence on unhealthy, polluting, and unreliable sources of energy. For these reasons, we believe that nuclear energy should be an essential component of the global energy mix well into the future.
However, we recognize the challenges in achieving social acceptance for nuclear and other technologically advanced energy production. To the uninitiated, nuclear energy is complicated, the benefits nebulous, and the required investments daunting. Any incidents related to nuclear energy production, no matter the actual impact on health and safety, can be fear-inducing. We take for granted readily available, ‘always on’ electricity - just an outlet away- without consideration for its source. The prospect of spending billions of dollars on a new nuclear power plant, or public investments in next generation nuclear technology, can be difficult to justify.
At the same time, the promise of ‘renewable’ energy’s capacity to provide the planet with an abundance of cheap, zero-carbon energy is alluring. But we know that there are technological and practical limitations to the extent to which renewable energy can provide plentiful and reliable energy with which to power the global economy. Most concerningly, mainstream and social media are increasingly being used as vehicles to propagate misunderstanding and misinformation about nuclear energy – both unwittingly, and intentionally.
The challenges, and outright impediments to social acceptance of nuclear energy, are many.
Fortunately, the nuclear industry – both public and private sector – and governments and regulators have in recent years made progress through greater and more sophisticated public engagement. But by and large, innovation in communication of the advantages of nuclear energy has not kept pace with its technological innovations. Opportunities to communicate actual risks and benefits are still being squandered. Best practices and lessons learned are not being shared–industry-wide, or globally–as much as they could be. In the absence of communications tools, methodologies and strategies informed by rigorous research, best practices and lessons-learned, social acceptance of nuclear energy (or lack thereof) will continue to be based on perceptions of risk and/or trust in the communicator, rather than knowledge, and the confidence it engenders.
Let’s Talk Nuclear was created to promote a deeper understanding of the obstacles to, and best practices for, effective communication of the benefits of nuclear energy, and to address misinformation and misunderstanding about nuclear energy in a timely and forthright manner. Explore the website, access its resources, and subscribe to our newsletter.
Neil Alexander Ross Holden
Executive Director Director of Operations