Rod Adams is Managing Partner of Nucleation Capital, a venture fund that invests in advanced nuclear, which provides affordable access to this clean energy sector to pronuclear and impact investors. Rod, a former submarine Engineer Officer and founder of Adams Atomic Engines, Inc., which was one of the earliest advanced nuclear ventures, is an atomic energy expert with small nuclear plant operating and design experience. He has engaged in technical, strategic, political, historic and financial analysis of the nuclear industry, its technology, regulation, and policies for several decades through Atomic Insights, both as its primary blogger and as host of The Atomic Show Podcast. Please click here to subscribe to the Atomic Show RSS feed. To join Rod's pronuclear network and receive his occasional newsletter, click here.
I like the basics of this commercial, but maybe I’m just a fanatic, but I’d also liked them to take the 800 lb gorilla in the room by the horns — Fukushima and meltdowns — and just hinted something like “…and of all energy sources in over _60_ years of operations _worldwide_ — INCLUDING worst RARE accidents — nuclear energy has shown itself the safest by far.” Something like this. Can’t keep sweeping the hovering safety question under the carpet in nuclear advocacy PSAs. Doing that is ammo for antis (“why won’t they mention safety??”..) Take it down head on and get the issue outta the way then show the forests and bunnies.
I suspect that they don’t go on about those issues for the same reason natural gas commercial spots don’t go on about the major accidents that they have suffered.
One of the things that I have been trying to get through the heads of nuclear supporters is that we need not engage antinuclear forces directly in this debate, we are never going to convert them Direct debate with the other side is as sterile an exercise as members of the other political party to change sides rather than targeting the voters who will make the final choice. Our objective must be the opinions of the general public and that has to be by accentuating the positive.
Debates with hard-core anti’s are usually pointless in so far as changing the anti’s mind. For me personally, the debates I have are usually on message boards or comment sections in an online article. Engaging in these types of forums allows for a non-participating party to read the anti-nuclear’s side but also my pro-nuclear side. Through this I have realized that my goal is more about not letting an anti-nuclear’s comments go unchallenged even if it will not change their mind. Challenging FUD arguments by refuting the FUD with verifiable facts will hopefully be more of a legitimate argument to someone on the fence about nuclear power. Maybe my challenge to the FUD will help push them further to the pro-nuclear side? I can only hope.
I guess it is somewhat of a direct engagement with hardcore anti’s, however, the ultimate goal is of indirect engagement with people on the fence. Right now that is my only tool to combat lies spread by anti’s.
I agree with you, my forum of choice is the Huffington Post, I may be replying to the anti-nuke but my target audience is that third party. Unfortunatly I was banned from posting at Huffington, Post today for some reason (it may have been due to an abusive anti-nuke who said I should die) so I haven’t been able to comment lately. Keep up the good work, I have to believe we make a difference.
James – I disagree. Safety should be assumed and only addressed in response to questions. If industry “leads” with the safety message, it will lose every marketing battle.
Safety messages are fine ways of starting meetings with colleagues, they are terrible ways to lead off marketing messages, especially in time limited opportunities.
Re: DV82XL & George Carlin
Sorry I wasn’t clear enough that I was never out to convert antis, just compete with them (for hearts of minds of public).
Yet many car commercials, from the cheapest to luxury, lead off with their wares crashing into walls and smashing dummies — and it sways purchasers their way! You figure!
I wasn’t criticizing you, just commenting on what DV82XL said.
How many airline commercials lead off with their wares crashing into the ground?
Car accidents are fairly common and often are not fatal. Accidents at power plants — whether they be coal, gas, nuclear, hydro, solar, wind, etc. — are much more rare, like aviation accidents.
I’m not certain, because I cannot read the minds of other forum members and commentators, but I think the simple contrast of Germany vs. France is the most effective argument we can make. Especially because it shows that unreliables are not a viable answer to the hazards of coal and gas.
But forget the theory and the studies. Let’s look at the real world.
Germany has spent ~100 Euros on wind and solar. Their electricity is the second most expensive in Europe at Eu .26 and about to rise higher to support subsidies. Their per capita CO2 emissions are high. Their air is dirty. Industry is ready to flee because of grid reliability issues. They are building more dirty coal burning plants.
France converted 75 – 80% of their electricity generation to nuclear in two decades. They have the seventh lowest electricity cost in Europe at Eu .13. Their prices are stable. They have the lowest per GDP CO2 emissions in the world; the cleanest air in Europe. They’re the world’s largest exporter of electricity in the world.
The most expensive electricity in Europe? Denmark, which invested in wind even more heavily than Germany.
If CO2 is the real concern, then which example should we follow?
My statement may contain mild exaggerations, but I don’t see that as a problem in these persuasive writings, especially considering the techniques of those we’re usually arguing against.
We need to make this argument as much as we can, as quickly as we can, before France loses its mind and ruins its situation…. 🙁 They’re the best example we have right now. In a decade or two China will replace them, but that’s far off.
Then depending on the context, I might also point out that for those 100 billion Euros, Germany gets the equivalent of 5 – 6 nuclear reactors worth of electricity per year. In no cost overrun scenario do reactors cost 16 – 20 billion Euros each.
Texas wind power has a similar cost/benefit ratio when one factors in the $10 billion spent or to be spent on transmission lines, except, I think the generation capacity is about 2 nuclear reactors worth.
One may also suggest that it was commitment to wind and/or solar generation builds that contributed to or caused the collapse of Spain’s and Greece’s economies. I’ve seen this stated explicitly and more strongly, but I haven’t seen a good supporting argument/evidence. However, it does make sense that a society can only spend it’s surplus available for capital improvements on useless projects for so long, before the failure to create new value starts to ruin the economy.
Finally, I like to finish with something along the lines of:
The Greens have been pushing mostly doom and gloom for a long time. The fact is that we can have a bright prosperous future with plentiful affordable energy for everyone, not just those in the western world. Folks are looking for a miraculous source of energy, but it’s been here for sixty years and people either forgot about it or lied about for the last forty years. If we get cracking building nuclear reactors, we can reduce CO2 emissions and have clean, affordable electricity at a stable price for generations to come.
Oh, forgot to mention, that I was speaking to the topic of arguments with the antis in fora where undecided folks may be watching.
As far as the video goes, I think it was the best thing I’ve seen in a long time. It’s locally focused, so it’s not going to hit some of the broader points we’d like to see made in the larger policy discussion.
Rod, I often say the nuclear industry acts like a deer in the headlights. Instead, they should have a positive campaign. Look at this 60 second history of energy from Areva. Superb.
I, too, have often enjoyed Areva’s spunky funkytown ads. I just wish they were not marred by the illogic of placing ancient and unreliable power sources right next to a modern nuclear plant – implying a “back to the future” view of wind and solar power.
Those sources have been known to have usable energy since mankind has first starting thinking about altering his climate and enhancing his muscle power. They work, but not terribly well or reliably. They were beaten in the market by inefficient, cranky steam engines nearly 150 years ago.
The only reason they exist today as “commercial” alternatives is because they attract high subsidies, some of which are hidden as market quotas.
Areva and I have had a little bit of a Twitter exchange going about their participation in the offshore wind industry. I understand the demands of being a corporation, but I still cannot understand why any organization that understands the potential of nuclear energy would waste their time and their employees’s brain power by playing around with windmills or solar thermal energy collection systems.
Rod – Although I work for AREVA, I don’t have any inside information about their decision-making process at the upper levels, so this comment is merely my own observations.
I’ve noticed over the years that AREVA has always had a need (probably coming out of Paris) to be involved in something else other than just “nuclear.” Ten years ago, it was electronic connectors (no kidding). Then they sold of that part of the company and started buying up companies in the electricity transmission and distribution (T&D) sector. Several years ago, they sold off the all of the T&D parts and bought some companies in off-shore wind (in Germany) and thermal solar (in the US) to form AREVA Renewables. The pattern would be for this square peg to be sold off too eventually.
Here’s something to think about: AREVA Solar’s US engineering offices are located in Mountain View, California. That’s some prime real estate … just ask Google. Perhaps that gives you some insight into their business strategy.
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