We need a rational assessment of nuclear energy
In this episode I want to address what I’ve come to realize is an asymmetry in society’s approach to energy technologies, and most specifically nuclear energy, after decades of mostly unopposed anti-nuclear lobbying.
Nuclear energy must struggle on an uneven playing field with other energy technologies. This asymmetry is one of the leading reasons that new nuclear reactors have struggled to be built in regions that have been dominated by anti-nuclear ideologies for the past several decades and it is this situation that has catalyzed the climate crisis.
Nuclear is the only energy source to which humanity applies the precautionary principle. Other power sources are allowed to operate with a certain level of known risk that in some cases translates into a rather significant body count. But since we are used to it, and the effects are typically distributed over large areas and not concentrated in one area, the asymmetry with nuclear policy is lost on the general public. Of all these energy sources, nuclear energy seems to be the only one that elicits a visceral fear reaction in a significant fraction of the populace.
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