Another interesting find I have stumbled upon doing research for this blog is a webpage created by the World Nuclear Association titled ‘The Nuclear Debate‘.
The World Nuclear Association is an international corporation that is made up of individuals who are members, in some way, of the nuclear power industry. As such, it is not surprising that in addition to their goal of promoting intra-community discussion and sharing of industry specific developments, they also have the goal of promoting nuclear power to the public and ‘providing reliable information on nuclear power’.
The article that I am talking about seems to aim to be the definitive resource on the nuclear debate in the public sphere, by addressing all the concerns of anti-nuclear environmentalists.
The article starts with a summary, followed by a statement about how many previously anti-nuclear environmentalists are now- pro-nuclear because of the looming threat of climate change. It then goes on to list all these pro-nuclear environmentalists, with all their credentials. This part of the article seems to be an obviously ploy to establish their credibility (ethos) for their position (right or wrong their position may be, this method was pretty heavy handed).
Following a brief mention of the the Ecomodernist Manifesto, a publication many of these pro-nuclear advocates helped to create, the page talks even more briefly about how the following arguments only touch on the subject and how it
“does not do full justice to either pro or anti positions. In particular, some simple assertions require detailed rebuttal. However, facts are available which are relevant to the assertions and which are vital for responsible decision-making.”
The rest of the article is a table of the different arguments (there are quite a few) against using nuclear power. Next to each argument is a rebuttal by the article, followed by a ‘source’ document that aims to back up the rebutting statement.
The problem here is that all of these ‘supporting’ documents come from the World Nuclear Association, the same site that wrote the article. I understand from a certain point of view, that they are just providing their own evidence for the points they are making. However, in this sort of debate, where there is a lot of competing interests and aspersions cast on the campaigners of both sides, using your own research lacks a certain level of credibility. If they had managed to find ‘objective’ evidence to support their arguments, from an outside source, this article would probably carry a lot more weight than it does.
Finally, at the end of the article, there is a small section addressing some ‘nonsense’, ‘”green” assertions’. While the content of their rebuttal may be accurate, their tone will immediately put off many people who don’t wholeheartedly agree with them.
As much as people may want to ‘rise above’ the slanging match that comes with a controversial (and emotional) topic like this, they can’t just ignore the claims of conflicts of interest. The WNA needs to think of a different strategy if they have any hope of actually convincing people with anti-nuclear stances.
Say something controversial.