Nuclear energy professionals are credible sources of information about a powerful technology that can help address climate change and contribute to humanity’s development.
Voices of Nuclear is an international non-profit group that seeks to empower nuclear supporters, both professionals in the industry and allies outside of the industry, with tools, organization and effective messages.
Myrto Tripathi, the founder and chair of Voices of Nuclear, visited the Atomic Show to tell us more about her group and its efforts to tell the nuclear energy story.
She describes the current situation in Europe, where there are a handful of new reactors under construction, there are numerous reactors being closed and there is a solid front of opposition from several prominent EU member states – particularly Austria and Germany.
She explains how the European reaction to the Fukushima event – now almost ten years ago – helped to convince her to leave a successful career in the nuclear industry to play a bigger part in the civil society discussion about its role, especially in light of the growing threat of climate change.
She talks about the role of young people, primarily under the age of 35, in bringing their vibrant, optimistic energy to the Voices and she discusses the challenges that her group faces in obtaining necessary and useful financial support from the established industry.
She also mentioned the importance of retired people in sharing their stories about pride in their life’s work in developing and operating clean nuclear generation facilities.
We spoke at length about the successful, well-funded and carefully planned efforts by nuclear energy opponents to spread misinformation and fake news about nuclear and how those efforts have helped to silence nuclear energy supporters.
We spoke about the disappointing state of public misunderstanding as illustrated by a recent poll taken in France in which 86% of the respondents between 18-34 years old said they believed that nuclear energy contributed to the problem of climate change.
With their diligent efforts over a number of decades, nuclear opponents effectively created a “taboo” around nuclear. They made it politically and economically costly for ambitious leaders in both government and in commercial enterprises outside of nuclear to publicly take a supportive position.
One reason I invited Myrto to be a guest on the Atomic Show was that I sense there are many in the US who believe that the nuclear grass is greener on the other side of the Atlantic. At the moment, the situation in Europe is tenuous and could use a strong public engagement effort.
Voices of Nuclear is working hard to be a positive part of that effort. They have a base of talented volunteers, but they could use all the additional support anyone wants to offer. It would be especially useful, if your time is more constrained than your resources, to support their efforts financially.
Myrto did not ask me to say that and might even be a little mad at me for making the statement, but changing people’s minds isn’t easy or cheap.
Please join in the conversation.