nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

– Marketing nuclear power

The unfolding Fukushima nuclear disaster has spurred the nuclear lobby on to greater efforts. And, to an urgent and desperate focus.

RADIATION DENIAL The new focus of the nuclear lobby is to deny that “low
level”  ionising radiation is harmful, and to assert that it is in fact, beneficial.  All this in spite of evidence of radiation’s harmfulness, collected by scientists over more than 60 years.

The marketing of nuclear power is an expensive business. It involves not only lobbying politicans and feeding the media, but careful research into effective wording, and navigating legal issues.

Nuclear marketing: TARGETS Nuclear marketing must be aimed widely, with attacks on many fronts. The nuclear lobby must court the media, politicians, academics, researchers, utilities and other service providers, educators, health agencies, and especially, various demographic groups.  The nuclear hype must separately target women, blacks, indigenous peoples, rural people,  children, and people in various trades and professions.

Nuclear marketing THEMES. The marketing hype is currently run on various themes -  nuclear is pitched as “clean” – a solution to climate change, as essential for growing energy needs  and “energy security”, as a “jobs provider”.  It is pitched as “economic” and “a good investment”, a “boom export industry” . Nuclear reprocessing is even pitched as the “solution to the nuclear waste problem”.  It doesn’t matter that all these claims are false.

Nuclear marketing FRONTMEN The nuclear lobby has become very sophisticated. Its spokesmen now come from organisations with names like The Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, and Think Climate.  A very good sales technique is to combine nuclear energy with renewable energy – saying that both are needed, (while quietly discrediting renewables)

Alongside the pro nuclear hype go other themes -  such as the supposed “inefficiency” of renewable energy. Also there’s the various ways of discrediting opponents as anti nuclear zealots. And a favourite tactic now -to use the very respectable spruiker who pronounces that he used to be anti-nuclear but has now seen the nuclear light (and the money, I would assume)

Nuclear marketing LANGUAGE Well , today – “low carbon” is the favourite word. “Low carbon technology” is often code for nuclear.  The language angle goes far beyond the obvious “clean” “renewable” “cheap” “efficient” “safe” , “environmentally friendly” – all of which can be too easily challenged.

Nuclear marketing uses a few technical terms, to help bamboozle the public – e.g. “base load power” gets a big airing. There is repeated mention of new, safer, more efficient, cheaper models – “Generation 4″,  “small modular reactors”, “thorium reactors”, “fusion” – to imply that all problems are being solved.

But, on the whole, nuclear marketing carefully avoids technical words that might worry people – words like “plutonium”, “fast breeder reactor” .  The word “nuclear” itself is often avoided, in favour of “fission” , and of course, the ubiquitous “low carbon”

“Uranium” is seen by some communities as a suspect word, so promotion of mining often focuses on copper – without  mentioning the uranium.  But this is a bit tricky, as the nuclear industry is also trying promote its uranium section as a boom investment.

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