Jonathan J. Halperin
Jonathan J. Halperin
Designing Research, Communications
and Strategies for Sustainability

The Future of Nuclear Power

The New York Times

Letter to the Editor
Jonathan J. Halperin
March 31, 2011

Permalink: www.nytimes.com/2011/04/01/opinion/l01nuclear.html?_r=1

 

To the Editor:

Re “Nuclear Rules in Japan Relied on Old Science” (front page, March 27):

The future of nuclear power will not be determined by technical, financial or political considerations. As your article makes clear, technological hubris and false confidence were major contributing factors to the Fukushima disaster.

From inadequate risk models and low tsunami walls before the disaster to reassurances afterward that seem designed to placate rather than protect people, operators and proponents of nuclear power have squandered the public trust.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, public apprehension about nuclear power is not driven by irrational fear or a poor understanding of science. The public simply does not believe the self-interested reassurances it is being given that nuclear power is safe.

Trust comes not from repeated and paternalistic proclamations of success, but rather from the humble admission of mistakes followed by demonstrable changes in behavior and attitude.

JONATHAN J. HALPERIN
Chevy Chase, Md., March 27, 2011

 

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