Counter-Frames in Action: Is Nuclear Power a Rip-Off or a Climate Solution?

Perhaps the most effective frame used by opponents of nuclear energy is that it is simply not "cost effective."  Not only is it wasteful, argue opponents, but government subsidies are a leading example of the big-money influence of industry lobbyists. As the Sierra Club's Carl Pope told Big Think in a 2008 video interview: "This is not an energy source, it's a way to hijack the treasury...This is a huge rip off." 


Building public support for re-investment in nuclear energy, I wrote earlier this week, turns on a re-framing of the issue. As I described in a paper published last year, opponents of expansion have a powerful and resonant framing arsenal that they draw upon. 

Yet several comments in response to my post I think point to the seeds of an effective counter frame. As does the view expressed by fmr. EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman, who places nuclear energy in the larger context of energy independence and climate change.

Watch Carl Pope discuss the issue in the video below.  Following that, I have posted a comment from earlier this week along with video of a 2008 Big Think interview with Christine Todd Whitman.  What do readers think?  How do we move beyond the heat on the issue and open a space for substantive discussion and informed decision-making?  Are statements like Pope's helpful or a hindrance to this goal? What do you think of the counter-arguments?

The 4 types of thinking talents: Analytic, procedural, relational and innovative

Understanding thinking talents in yourself and others can build strong teams and help avoid burnout.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to collaborate within a team and identify "thinking talent" surpluses – and shortages.
  • Angie McArthur teaches intelligent collaboration for Big Think Edge.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Do you have a self-actualized personality? Maslow revisited

Rediscovering the principles of self-actualisation might be just the tonic that the modern world is crying out for.

Personal Growth

Abraham Maslow was the 20th-century American psychologist best-known for explaining motivation through his hierarchy of needs, which he represented in a pyramid. At the base, our physiological needs include food, water, warmth and rest.

Keep reading Show less

Scientists reactivate cells from 28,000-year-old woolly mammoth

"I was so moved when I saw the cells stir," said 90-year-old study co-author Akira Iritani. "I'd been hoping for this for 20 years."

Yamagata et al.
Surprising Science
  • The team managed to stimulate nucleus-like structures to perform some biological processes, but not cell division.
  • Unless better technology and DNA samples emerge in the future, it's unlikely that scientists will be able to clone a woolly mammoth.
  • Still, studying the DNA of woolly mammoths provides valuable insights into the genetic adaptations that allowed them to survive in unique environments.
Keep reading Show less

Believe in soulmates? You're more likely to 'ghost' romantic partners.

Does believing in true love make people act like jerks?

Thought Catalog via Unsplash
Sex & Relationships
  • Ghosting, or cutting off all contact suddenly with a romantic partner, is not nice.
  • Growth-oriented people (who think relationships are made, not born) do not appreciate it.
  • Destiny-oriented people (who believe in soulmates) are more likely to be okay with ghosting.
Keep reading Show less