Friday, September 14, 2007

Nuclear Fun

This is the new television advertisement from Areva, the French maker of nuclear power plants. This is great pro-capitalist, pro-business, pro-technology, and pro-cheap energy propaganda. It quickly and effectively makes the connection between production and enjoyment. You start with the uranium mine, process the uranium, and produce electricity from it in a nuclear reactor which, in turn, powers the dancing floor and the cool music the couple is dancing to.

Most (ignorant) people think electricity comes from a wall outlet, and know nothing more about what makes it possible. This ad, in a few seconds, connects the electricity in the wall outlet all the way back to the nuclear reactor and the uranium mines that make it possible. It also reminds us that electricity powers the good life that we all enjoy.

Truthful, clever propaganda that validates a complicated technology feared by many. Every time I see this ad on TV I want to dance.


Rational Jenn said...

That's really cool! I hadn't seen that before. I'm going to send this link to my dad, who is a nuclear engineer. He'll be pleasantly surprised to see something this positive about nuclear energy. I was pleasantly surprised, too!

Galileo Blogs said...

I hope it emboldens him. I have met a number of nuclear engineers over the years, and like every one of them. It is high time that their work is publicly validated as this Areva ad does in such a clever way.

Rational Jenn said...

He hadn't seen the ad and was pretty impressed, remarking, "...wonder if anyone else knew what was being depicted?"

I can think of many examples from my childhood of him working to correct misapprehensions about nuclear power. He came to a science class once after my hippy teacher had shared her views of nuclear power. The teacher wasn't happy to have him, but the principal made her let my dad speak.

We moved to Three Mile Island after the accident because he was a contractor working on the clean up. I was about 10. Kids in my class were told by their parents not to play with me because of my dad's profession and where he worked. He talked to me about this and basically told me that sometimes people are just wrong and that it's important not to let people with wrongheaded notions make me unhappy.

And how many protesters' picket lines did he have to endure on his way into a power plant?

Funny--never thought about it this way before, but he was (is) a kind of an engineering hero!

Galileo Blogs said...

Your father is a hero. Despite the howling unthinking anti-nuclear mobs, he crossed the picket line and also taught you the virtue of independence. Reality always, ultimately triumphs, even if it takes some time. The incipient resurgence of nuclear energy in this country is proof of that.

On a separate note, one of my nuclear heroes is Petr Beckmann. He published for many years a newsletter called "Access to Energy" (he died a while ago; the newsletter is now published by someone else) that defended technology against the regulatory, anti-technology hysteria of the day. He especially defended nuclear energy, but also DDT, chemical food additives, etc.

Nuclear energy was his focus. He published an entertaining book called, "The Health Hazards of Not Going Nuclear." In it, he quantified the number of deaths per megawatt-hour of energy produced by all the various forms of energy production, including coal, natural gas, hydroelectric, nuclear, etc. With the exception of hydroelectric, nuclear was far safer than every other form of energy production. No one ever died in a nuclear accident (outside of the Soviet Union). The only deaths were from mining, but uranium mining was far safer than coal mining because so much less uranium was necessary to produce a given quantity of electricity.

When you add in the extra cancer deaths from inhaling emission particles from coal combustion, nuclear is far, far safer. The bottom line is that all of the anti-nuclear hysteria killed many thousands of Americans over the years through mining accidents, cancers, etc. That is the legacy of the anti-nuclear crazies.

Of course, they are not motivated by a desire to help man. If they were, they would have to lay down their protest signs and become advocates for nuclear energy.