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Thinking slow about Nuclear power

"69% of French people and 86% of 18-34 year olds think that nuclear power contributes to climate change. Complete nonsense of course... but not that surprising. And not necessarily a problem of ignorance.


One of the main characteristics of "System 1" (see "Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman), our "fast" way of thinking, is to proceed by association. In particular, it uses the affect heuristic, described by Paul Slovic: when an object has a negative affective charge, our perception of the risks and disadvantages it presents is increased. Nuclear = bad, "therefore" nuclear guilty of all evils.


How can this perception be corrected? Either by making the affect positive or, above all, by getting back on track. Because the heuristic of affect is amplified by the pressure of time... for example, that of the questions of a pollster! By activating their "System 2", that of logic, the respondents would not all come to the same conclusions. Reflecting does not make one less ignorant, but with equal knowledge, it still avoids saying stupid things..."

by Olivier Sibony (ex-McKinsey) in TTSO (Translated from French)


Fusion doesn't seem to have the nuclear affect against it, but it is still largely theoretical. Will Molten Salt and other new Gen IV nuclear fission tech change the nuclear affect ? At Transmutex we believe that dealing with nuclear waste is key to a reset of the nuclear affect.



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