Pop Culture and Nuclear’s PR Problem

The Climate Challengers

Sep 26 2022 • 25 mins

Nuclear power has been around for more than half a century, reliably producing affordable, clean energy to power our homes and businesses. But over that time, North American public sentiment towards nuclear has shifted from excitement towards suspicion—even as the threat posed by climate change demands a shift towards more cleaner energy sources, like nuclear. Are pop culture and Hollywood depictions of nuclear technology to blame for changing public attitudes?

On this episode, Osama Baig welcomes Kapil Aggarwal, an OPG expert in the handling of nuclear by-products, Daniel Simpson, a film and curatorial studies PhD candidate from Queen’s University, and Kathy Nosich, an OPG communications specialist. Together with his three guests, Osama investigates the ways in which nuclear power’s image has been shaped by our culture—and explores the urgent need to recast nuclear as the hero of the energy transition story.

Osama Baig's YouTube Channel


Show notes:

[2:09] Find out just how misleading the depictions of nuclear power are on TV’s The Simpsons
[4:10] The ways in which radioactive materials are safely handled by OPG employees
[9:05] Whether you can eat donuts at a nuclear reactor
[10:50] The depiction of nuclear technology in 1950s era science fiction and horror films
[11:40] the use of nuclear technology as a plot device in Hollywood
[12:50] The conflation of nuclear power and nuclear weaponry in film, TV and the public imagination
[21:00] OPG’s plan to correct the record and recast nuclear as the hero of the story in the climate change era